It is not uncommon for air flights to suffer delays, causing significant adverse consequences for all the passengers.

The remedy provided for this type of drawback consist – firstly – in the possibility to apply for a compensatory refund, which, in most cases, is likely to repay the cost of the ticket.

The refund must be granted by the airline company itself, in the event that the delay of departure is extended for more than three hours, and the amount of the compensation depends on the number of miles travelled by the delayed flight to the country of landing, noting also whether it is a member of the European Union or not.

In this respect, the discipline is contained respectively in the Montreal Convention, with regard to international law, and in the EC Regulation 261/2004, with regard to European Law. The Court of Justice has specified that the two legislations do not exclude each other: the Court has thus stated that the Montreal Convention lays down the conditions for claiming damages brought before the Courts; this however, does not prevent the European Union in providing for a concurrent discipline in aviation law, even ameliorative.

In particular, the latter measure has created a real “Bill of Passengers’ Rights” (directly applicable in Member States) on flights departing from an EU airport – or from an airport located in a non-EU Country and destined to an EU airport when the airline company is European: the Regulation sets out the rights of passengers in cases of cancellation, denied boarding, long delays of flights and baggage loss assumptions, and provides the airlines’ requirements for assistance, information, compensation and re-routed to other flights.

Moreover, the above legislation does not preclude in any case the passenger’s right to claim for compensation for further damages suffered, before the competent judicial Authorities: in effect, it has been held that – in the event of cancellation of a flight and / or prolonged delay of more than three hours – passengers are entitled, cumulatively, to the safeguards provided by Regulation no. 261/2004, i.e. the assistance under Articles 8 and 9, the compensation under Article 7 and any additional compensation.

In this regard, in addition to the economic losses due to the flight delay, passenger are entitled to obtain a compensation for non-pecuniary damage – so-called “ruined holidays compensations”, protected by the Italian Tourism Code as mental and physical discomfort resulting from the failure to achieve all – or part of – the vacation planned by the travel agency.

For any further information or advice in order to get compensation for the damages suffered, please contact Kenton Miles Legal Network.