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mgh

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A victory for passengers.In the EU air passengers are entitled to claim compensation from airlines in the event of delayed boarding, and of cancellation or long delays of flights. Until now airlines have avoided paying out under an exception claiming that delays were caused by extraordinary cirumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable precautions had been undertaken.Alitalia cancelled a flight because of a turbine failure discovered the day before. It refused to pay compensation on the grounds that this was "extraordinary". Passengers toook Alitalia to court and won at the highest level in Europe. The European Court (Court of Justice of the European Communities) ruled that extraordinary only applies if the problem stemmed from events which, by their nature or origin, were not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier concerned and were beyond its actual control. Basically, if an airline can now no longer claim that faults discovered during maintenance are extraordinary. The Court said that's ordinary and part and parcel of normal operations. The Court also ruled that the frequency of technical problems was not a factor from which the presence or absence of extraordinary circumstances could be concluded. It also ruled that the fact that an airline had complied with the minimum rules on the maintenance of an aircraft cound not in itself suffice to establish that the carrier had taken all reasonable precautions.

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A victory for passengers.In the EU air passengers are entitled to claim compensation from airlines in the event of delayed boarding, and of cancellation or long delays of flights. Until now airlines have avoided paying out under an exception claiming that delays were caused by extraordinary cirumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable precautions had been undertaken.Alitalia cancelled a flight because of a turbine failure discovered the day before. It refused to pay compensation on the grounds that this was "extraordinary". Passengers toook Alitalia to court and won at the highest level in Europe. The European Court (Court of Justice of the European Communities) ruled that extraordinary only applies if the problem stemmed from events which, by their nature or origin, were not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier concerned and were beyond its actual control. Basically, if an airline can now no longer claim that faults discovered during maintenance are extraordinary. The Court said that's ordinary and part and parcel of normal operations. The Court also ruled that the frequency of technical problems was not a factor from which the presence or absence of extraordinary circumstances could be concluded. It also ruled that the fact that an airline had complied with the minimum rules on the maintenance of an aircraft cound not in itself suffice to establish that the carrier had taken all reasonable precautions.
Uh, this is great news (if you're a lawyer)! I bet those lawyers who took Alitalia to court are drinking some big-time cocktails right now! Alitalia's insurance company will pay the bills. Hey! Wait a minute! That's MY insurance company too! What? They're raising my insurance rates? And, when I'm flying Alitalia in the future, why are they charging me $10 more? And because I have to pay more I have to pay a larger VAT for the EU? Something wrong here. I thought we (the passengers) won this lawsuit! IMHO, Corporations, like Alitalia, usually don't suffer from claims like this. In the long run, it's you and I who suffer from these lawsuits and the lawyers make out like bandits. Here in the United States, the ACLU lawyers are really good at this art of making Corporations pay. It all looks good for the consumer but in the long run most will lose. That's usually what happens when governments try to control a corporations [bad] behavior. If an airline is not on time or has a history of long delays and cancellations, wouldn't it be more prudent to just avoid flying on that airline? I hope Alitalia isn't pressured to bring an aircraft into service with potential mechanical problems so that they can avoid possible claims from passengers. I suppose if the flight does end up crashing, the passengers can then sue the airline for flying an unsafe aircraft... Another "victory for passengers".Respectfully,Jim Young

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I would have thought Alitalia should have won such a case, they must have had a crappy lawyer if he couldn't argue that a turbine failure on an aircraft was unusual. If that wasn't the case we'd have planes dropping out of the skies left right and centre and there's no way ETOPS would ever have been approved if turbine failures were common.But, it's the same thing everywhere, people make a claim against a company, organisation or whatever, assuming they just have a big pot of money sat there waiting to be claimed, but sadly that aint so, and their claim ends up being passed on to the customer in the price at the check out.As they say: What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? - A good start.

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firehawk4Presumably you never have, nor ever will, claim compensation for anything, regardless of circumstances? Your reasoning applies to all forms of compensation.Nevertheless, air passengers in Europe are raising their glasses!ChockI don't think Alitalia's lawyers are as crappy as your understanding.The Court said that extraordinary only applies if the problem stemmed from events which were not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of an airline and were beyond its actual control. Therefore ordinary means events which were inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of an airline and were within its actual control.In other words, it is ordinary/usual for an airline to discover faults during inspections. This is, therefore, not extraordinary/unusual.Presumably, you also would never seek compensation?

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firehawk4Presumably you never have, nor ever will, claim compensation for anything, regardless of circumstances? Your reasoning applies to all forms of compensation.
That's correct. I try not to be part of the problem.Jim

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That's correct. I try not to be part of the problem.Jim
So you'd never claim compensation from insurance and thus presumably never take out any voluntary insurance?

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I think on the whole if I wanted some sort of travel insurance, I would want to use a third party insurer, rather than forcing the service provider to provide insurance thereby creating an economic incentive to fudge on safety.scott s..

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So you'd never claim compensation from insurance and thus presumably never take out any voluntary insurance?
That's correct. Never in my 64 plus years. I have a problem with governments telling commercial enterprises how to run their respective businesses (and this is obviously the EU trying to take further control of airlines. For example, take off in time or else, and don't delay landing on time and getting to the gate on time.... or else!). I have been taken off several flights for unknown reasons (presumably mechanical) but simply picked up my baggage and found another airline to get me to my destination. Once I was stuck on a taxiway in St Louis for 2 hours waiting for an available gate to open. It was the middle of winter and a major snowstorm had just hit the area. I missed a connecting flight but what else was I going to do? It doesn't happen all the time and NOT done on purpose by the airlines. Then, once again, the aircraft I boarded had overbooked and they asked for volunteers to take the next available flight (now that's done on purpose). I did that a couple of times. Got free airline tickets for future flights, free hotel accommodations and vouchers for food, and lots of thanks from the airline staff. But you and the EU are not alone in wanting to take control of the airlines by coming up with more laws. I'm fairly certain the US government has similar controls here in the United States. I know those passengers held outside the arrival gates for a certain length of time (4 hours??) must be compensated. I sort of agree with that because there are alternative methods of getting passengers back to the terminal even if a gate is not open. I have heard the pilots get quite aggravated with ground control for not getting them to a gate sooner. And, even though the US government has advocated that the airlines compensate passengers if held "hostage" for too long, I have seen airline companies voluntarily compensating passengers even before it became a law. I think they are just as upset they had to hold their passengers hostage. Maybe I'm wrong though and they do this on purpose.Best regards,Jim Young

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You'd never l claim compensation from an insurer - enen if, say, your car was damaged by another hrough no fault of yours?

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You'd never l claim compensation from an insurer - enen if, say, your car was damaged by another hrough no fault of yours?
As I said above, Never! Just because you have insurance, it doesn't mean you have to use it even if you accidently spill a cup of hot coffee in your lap while driving on the autobahn.Jim

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I think mgh is referring to if some bonehead ran a red light and crashed into you (or other such situation), thus rendering your car unusable. Would you claim compensation then?

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I think mgh is referring to if some bonehead ran a red light and crashed into you (or other such situation), thus rendering your car unusable. Would you claim compensation then?
I thought I'd asked that, but thanks for clarifying it.

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I think mgh is referring to if some bonehead ran a red light and crashed into you (or other such situation), thus rendering your car unusable. Would you claim compensation then?
Of course I would! But only for fixing the damages to my car and maybe fixing the bones in my body but NOT because this "bonehead" accidentally ran a red light or accidentally ran across the center lane and got me head on. If someone came to my house and intentionally burned it down I would seek compensation too. My property was damaged and the contents inside too. But this idiotic law just created in Europe doesn't even come close to that so stop making the comparison(s). Being delayed getting on an airline doesn't even compare. Should I seek compensation from New York City if I missed an important business meeting because I couldn't get across the street since the traffic lights were broken or the cities metro system was down? Of course not! I could have left earlier or found alternate transportation. Airlines are a good target because many have a lot of money (or use to) or lots of insurance to pay the claims. Why not give some of this wealth to the poor people who have been "damaged" because their flight was delayed or baggage was lost? It's called spreading the wealth and making sure a successful commercial enterprise doesn't become too wealthy. The shareholders are just making too much money as the shares increase in value. Same thing happened in the EU when they successfully sought compensation and received billions from Microsoft who had the ardasity of putting too many features in Windows. And they continue to look at Microsoft with a microscope to see if they can find something else that they can seek even more billions. They are disgusted with people making billions and they want some too. I find most of this extremely disgusting as it's costing me more everyday to do anything because of all the people and governments seeking compensation.Respectfully,Jim

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With regard to 'never seeking compensation', I wouldn't say I would never seek compensation, but I'm not a fan of the culture of seeking compensation for anything and everything. And I do practice what I preach.What I can tell you is that some years ago I had a motorcycle crash, in which I was very badly injured, the guy that caused it drove off and was never found by the police. Anyway, as a result I had to have quite a lot of surgery, and some of it was extremely specialist, including something called a 'bilateral suspension' which is where your jaw is wired on both the top and bottom when it has been shattered badly. In fact, the UK's top medical specialist in this kind of thing actually performed the operation on me, but when it came time to remove the wires some weeks later, he was on holiday and another surgeon did that removal procedure, however, not being the top specialist, he was not familiar with it completely and made a mistake. Basically he cut one of the escape wires that sticks out of your skin near your eyebrow, which is used to withdraw the wire that is threaded through your upper jaw, and so, with this escape wire having no bit sticking out, it could not be used to withdraw the rest of the wire without a further operation to get at things. When this was discovered, the hospital invited me in and were very apologetic and it was obvious from that meeting that they were expecting me to sue them, but I did not and simply accepted it as a genuine mistake which was not done on purpose, and I said that it would be a bit mean to sue the hospital that just months before had actually saved my life. Needless to say the hospital people were extremely relieved at me not taking any action and had firmly expected that I would, and it was apparent to me that I'm in a minority there, but I take the view that if I had done so, the money that they paid out would have been money that could not go to the care of others, and possibly me too, if ever I should need their services again.The people who sued the airline should look up pyrrhic victory in the dictionary, they might learn something.Al

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Wouldn't you love to be able to sue these wacky judges every time a court case gets delayed or canceled. Fat chance.

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Uh, this is great news (if you're a lawyer)! I bet those lawyers who took Alitalia to court are drinking some big-time cocktails right now! Alitalia's insurance company will pay the bills. Hey! Wait a minute! That's MY insurance company too! What? They're raising my insurance rates? And, when I'm flying Alitalia in the future, why are they charging me $10 more? And because I have to pay more I have to pay a larger VAT for the EU? Something wrong here. I thought we (the passengers) won this lawsuit! IMHO, Corporations, like Alitalia, usually don't suffer from claims like this. In the long run, it's you and I who suffer from these lawsuits and the lawyers make out like bandits. Here in the United States, the ACLU lawyers are really good at this art of making Corporations pay. It all looks good for the consumer but in the long run most will lose. That's usually what happens when governments try to control a corporations [bad] behavior. If an airline is not on time or has a history of long delays and cancellations, wouldn't it be more prudent to just avoid flying on that airline? I hope Alitalia isn't pressured to bring an aircraft into service with potential mechanical problems so that they can avoid possible claims from passengers. I suppose if the flight does end up crashing, the passengers can then sue the airline for flying an unsafe aircraft... Another "victory for passengers".Respectfully,Jim Young
Alitalia might reconsider how they treat passengers next time. They have no one to blame but themselves. They could've avoided any lawsuit by just treating their passengers a little better and compensating them to begin with. Having spare airplanes available is commonplace, but some airlines in an attempt to squeeze out every last drop of profit run things too leanly. That's a business decision, this lawsuit is the cost of that business decision. I love how in this day an age no one wants to hold corporations and their CEO's accountable for failing.I wonder how some of the airline ceo apologists would feel if they were on that flight and missed their mother's funeral because because some Alitalia exec managed to save a bunch of money for the company by not having backups in place and then just leaving their customers high and dry. I'll bet the exec gets a big bonus. The passengers on the other hand just end up getting it in the rear.

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I think firehawk ended the discussion with his first post. I don't think this is something to be happy about, atleast in my view.

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I think firehawk ended the discussion with his first post. I don't think this is something to be happy about, atleast in my view.
true - if you are willing to let airlines and any other suppliers walk all over you.

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Don't fly with the airline then.Nobody except the lawyers and one passenger has won here, all future passengers will be paying the bill -- you do understand basic economics right?Rob

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Don't fly with the airline then.Nobody except the lawyers and one passenger has won here, all future passengers will be paying the bill -- you do understand basic economics right?Rob
How do you identify "good" airlines in this context - thay all claimed that any disruption was extraordinary and beyond their control. Without information there can be no realistic customer choice. You do understand common sense right?Many future passengers whose flights are disrupted will also win. You do understand the facts right? Or do you object to all consumer protection legislation and are happy to allow corporations to set the rules and screw their customers?

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And this is why so many airlines are going under, their operating expenses are beyond their revenue. You obviously don't grasp the economics - nobody provides a service for free because people need to get paid. Even if you're a socialist or communist the concepts the same except money isn't involved. Government funded airlines will eventually say "enough is enough".You do understand what you're suggesting, right, cause I really think you don't, you seem to be only concerned about yourself and "disruption" (like it means the world is coming to an end). So every airline will need to have a "backup plane" ready to roll on every flight at every airport so that customers are NOT disrupted?? That's what you're suggesting. Good luck with that, cause I guarantee you it will NOT happen. If it does happen, then someone has to pay for those backup planes to sit at every airport -- guess who's gonna pay?? Either the Government (guess who pays the government via taxation) or other passengers via increase in ticket prices -- either way, guess who's paying? Not the "corporations" - you! So you either need to chill out and really decide if the "disruption" is worth it.Rob

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And this is why so many airlines are going under, their operating expenses are beyond their revenue. You obviously don't grasp the economics - nobody provides a service for free because people need to get paid. Even if you're a socialist or communist the concepts the same except money isn't involved. Government funded airlines will eventually say "enough is enough".You do understand what you're suggesting, right, cause I really think you don't, you seem to be only concerned about yourself and "disruption" (like it means the world is coming to an end). So every airline will need to have a "backup plane" ready to roll on every flight at every airport so that customers are NOT disrupted?? That's what you're suggesting. Good luck with that, cause I guarantee you it will NOT happen. If it does happen, then someone has to pay for those backup planes to sit at every airport -- guess who's gonna pay?? Either the Government (guess who pays the government via taxation) or other passengers via increase in ticket prices -- either way, guess who's paying? Not the "corporations" - you! So you either need to chill out and really decide if the "disruption" is worth it.Rob
I do understand the situation. It is that airlines have an obligation to deliver what their passengers have paid for and that if they fail then then they must pay compensation in accordance with the law.Your suggestion that airlines will need to have a "backup plane ready to roll on every flight at every airport" is obvious nonsense and shows that you don't understand the situation. All that airlines have to do is to pay compensation when they fail to deliver what they've agreed to provide. What is wrong with that, or don't you believe in customer rights at all? This case was about preventing airlines claiming that all delays were caused by extraordinary events to avoid paying compensation. The court ruled that that faults discovered during maintenance are not extraordinary, taking the commonsense view that discovering such faults is ordinary and part and parcel of normal day-to-day airline operations.

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I do understand the situation. It is that airlines have an obligation to deliver what their passengers have paid for and that if they fail then then they must pay compensation in accordance with the law.Your suggestion that airlines will need to have a "backup plane ready to roll on every flight at every airport" is obvious nonsense and shows that you don't understand the situation. All that airlines have to do is to pay compensation when they fail to deliver what they've agreed to provide. What is wrong with that, or don't you believe in customer rights at all? This case was about preventing airlines claiming that all delays were caused by extraordinary events to avoid paying compensation. The court ruled that that faults discovered during maintenance are not extraordinary, taking the commonsense view that discovering such faults is ordinary and part and parcel of normal day-to-day airline operations.
How did Alitalia fail to deliver what they agreed to provide? They put the lady on another carrier and she got to her final destination a few hours later than planned.http://ifttablog.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html

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How did Alitalia fail to deliver what they agreed to provide? They put the lady on another carrier and she got to her final destination a few hours later than planned.http://ifttablog.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html
Because in the EU under Regulation No 261/2004 if a flight is cancelled less than 7 days before the scheduled time of departure the passenger has the right to compensation unless offered an alternative flight that departs not more than 1 hour before the original scheduled time of departure and which arrives not more trhan 2 hours after the scheduled time of arrival in respect of all flights of 1500 kilometres or less, unless the airline can show it was due to extraordinary circumstances.In this case, the flight was cancelled 5 minutes before scheduled departure because of a technical fault discovered during an inspection. The passenger arrived 3 1/2 hours after the scheduled arrival time. The airline claimed these were extraordinary circumstance so no compensation was payable. (Airlines normally claim that all faults are extraordinary to avoid payment.) The court ruled that discovering a technical fault during an inspection is not extraordinary so compensation was payable.

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Because in the EU under Regulation No 261/2004 if a flight is cancelled less than 7 days before the scheduled time of departure the passenger has the right to compensation unless offered an alternative flight that departs not more than 1 hour before the original scheduled time of departure and which arrives not more trhan 2 hours after the scheduled time of arrival in respect of all flights of 1500 kilometres or less, unless the airline can show it was due to extraordinary circumstances.In this case, the flight was cancelled 5 minutes before scheduled departure because of a technical fault discovered during an inspection. The passenger arrived 3 1/2 hours after the scheduled arrival time. The airline claimed these were extraordinary circumstance so no compensation was payable. (Airlines normally claim that all faults are extraordinary to avoid payment.) The court ruled that discovering a technical fault during an inspection is not extraordinary so compensation was payable.
Hmmm. These kinds of laws tend to result in unintended consequences. Surely the passengers "win" here. And surely, the airline companies will try to minimize the impact of this. You can't get something for nothing. So something somewhere is going to have to give. Can you guess where? Your safety. Enjoy your flight with the uneasy question of whether your pilots brushed some issue under the rug to get the flight out on time. :(

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