The airlines are this morning looking at a potential annual bill of around £10M following the decision by a judge that babies on board delayed flights should also be able to receive flight delay compensation as well as adults.
In a case at Liverpool County Court, the judge disagreed with a decision made by Ryanair to compensate an adult male passenger who had endured a nine hour flight delay, but refused to pay flight delay compensation of the same amount to his 6 month old daughter who had been travelling with him.
Ryanair flight delay compensation only available to those with reservations
Ryanair argued that it should not be liable to pay flight delay compensation to babies that did not have their own seat reservations. The man’s daughter had been sat on his lap and had only been required to pay a £20 infant fee rather than to have their own reservation.
Ryanair’s lawyers argued that because of the girl’s age, she could not have suffered any inconvenience during the flight delay. The judge however, did not agree with Ryanair’s opinion and ruled that in regards to the regulations, the baby should be classed as a passenger.
The Judge said…
“Many passengers in many situations (for example, on buses and trains) travel without having a seat,” said Judge Pearce when delivering his judgment. “They are nonetheless passengers for that, and I can see no justification for restricting the meaning of the word in this one situation to exclude those without their own seat.”
Ryanair has stated that it intends to appeal the decision and has also suggested that the ruling could pave the way an increase in infant fees.
In a statement Ryanair said...
“It is absurd that infants (under two years of age), who do not pay an air fare or occupy a seat, can now apply for up to €250 EU261 ‘compensation’ for a flight delay, when their accompanying adults will already have been compensated”
Many airlines have historically tried to resist claims for flight delay compensation made on behalf of very young children, but this ruling should now help clarify the situation.
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If you’ve suffered a flight delay whilst traveling with young children contact us now for advice regarding flight delay compensation or simply put your details into our claim calculator to quickly find out if you may have a claim.