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Travellers can now claim compensation from flight delays up to six years ago, after a landmark court ruling today.
In the case Dawson V Thomson Airways the court ruled in favour of traveller James Dawson, who was denied compensation for his delayed flight to Dominican Republic in 2006, because he failed to bring the claim within two years.
The Court of Appeal, dismissed Thomson Airways' appeal, which had argued that airlines are governed by the Montreal Convention that gives passengers only two years to make a claim.
Thomson has warned the decision could result in higher airfares for travellers.
Under EU law passengers delayed for more than three hours are entitled up to €600 compensation.
It's estimated passengers on almost 60,000 flights delayed flights over the 2009 – 2011 period are potentially entitled to compensation.
Package holiday firm Thomson has warned that today's judgment could lead to higher air fares.
In a statement, it said:
"As the UK's most on-time holiday airline, at Thomson Airways our focus continues to be ensuring that our customers reach their destination safely and promptly.
"We believe that it is reasonable to expect that those who perceive they have suffered a real loss as a result of an unfortunate delay should be able to make their claim within two years.
"We also continue to believe that the law stipulates this and we are therefore surprised by today's judgment.
"If unchallenged, this judgment could have a significant impact on the entire airline industry and specifically upon the price that all air travellers would need to pay for their flights. We therefore confirm that it is our intention to seek an appeal to the Supreme Court."
The announcement follows a decision last week in a case involving Jet2.com, in which the Court of Appeal ruled a technical fault which causes a delay could not be classed as an “extraordinary circumstance”, and carriers would still have to pay compensation.
This means that from now on, airlines can only cite technical faults as a reason for not paying compensation, if the fault was originally caused by an event that was “out of the ordinary”.