There will be many British holiday makers whose holidays were spoiled by long flight delays. The silver lining is that they may be entitled to some compensation.

However, some airlines seem to regularly ignore flight delay compensation claims, perhaps in the hope that the claimant will simply give up, which is why we are increasingly being instructed to enforce the resulting judgments.

Compensation legislation

EU261/2004 was introduced in 2005, governing flight delay compensation. It applies to flights on an EU airline that depart from and/or arrive in an EU country where the flight is delayed by three hours or more, provided that the delay is not caused by an extraordinary circumstance.

The Supreme Court ruled on two cases in October 2014, both of which were good news for passengers. The first was that technical problems do not count as an extraordinary circumstance, while the second was that passengers have six years in which to make a claim.

The amount of compensation ranges between €250 and €600, depending on the length of the delay and the journey distance.


As claimants are turning to the courts, the court fees and judgment interest that can be added to the amount of the claim are making many of these judgments reach the £600 threshold for enforcement under a High Court writ of control.

Because the enforcement is against large organisations, we are finding that payment is almost always made in full when we attend, and sometimes when the notice of enforcement is sent. Previous non-payment tends to be “due to an administrative error”!

David Asker

David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance

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