Monarch pays compensation over cracked windscreen delay

Monarch has lost a flight delay case after a judge ruled that it had to pay compensation for a 24-hour delay caused by a cracked windscreen.

A family has won more than £3,200 from the airline after a court ruled that Monarch could not use the get-out clause of “extraordinary circumstances” to avoid paying up.

The airline had argued that a cracked windscreen amounted to extraordinary circumstances and that it was not liable. A judge at Winchester County Court disagreed and Monarch was ordered to pay £2,475 compensation, £435 costs and £368 in interest.

The delay occurred on a flight due to depart Sharm el Sheikh to Gatwick in April 2012. However, the aircraft did not leave Gatwick on the outbound journey because the crack was discovered.

The complainant, Martin Longden, his wife and three children were given just a double room for the entire family for an overnight stay. Longden then applied for compensation under EU law 261, which grants compensation for delays of more than three hours.

Monarch refused under the extraordinary circumstances clause, which airlines can use if there is extreme weather, rioting or industrial action.

However Mr Longden argued that cracked windscreens were an occasional, not extraordinary problem and that spares should have been kept at Gatwick, as the part had to be bought from Luton.

This and the fact that no replacement aircraft was sought, the court decided, meant that the carrier had not sought to minimise the delay, a requirement under the EU law.

Monarch was not in court to hear the verdict, saying that it had been “sufficiently confident of the robustness of its case”.

A spokeswoman said the carrier would not appeal but added: “We will not be paying out any more claims under 261. It was exceptional circumstances, windscreens do not just crack, we’ve never experienced this before.”

Sourced from TTG Digital

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