CAA Abdication On 'Extrodinary Circumstances'

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flight Delay Compensation
2 replies 696 views
NeilCornwallNeilCornwall Forumite
1 Post
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flight Delay Compensation
My wife and I flew with Virgin from London to St Lucia on 02 Sep 12 (VS037) for a 9 day holiday. The Virgin flight to St Lucia is divided into 2 segments, Gatwick to Barbados then Barbados to St Lucia. Unfortunately the aircraft broke down in Barbados (on a Sunday). There were no spares locally to fix the aircraft and by the time a part was flown out from Miami the crew had run out of crew time. We were subsequently delayed 24 hours (Take a look on Flight Stats and funny old thing the airline is saying the aircraft arrived in St Lucia on 02 Sep 12 pretty much on time). No problem I thought, there can be no clearer case for compensation under EU 261/04. Wrote to Virgin who responded some weeks later refusing our request quoting 'exceptional circumstances'.
Then referred all correspondance to the CAA in Sep 13 when the rules regarding exceptional circumstances had been further defined. After 2 months with no response I phoned CAA and was put through to their 'agent" (who I'm convinced was working from home with no ability to call up my complaint - rather told me this could take many more months and I needed to be patient). One month on and I've just received the CAA case closure note repeated at the bottom of this post. Readers will undoubtedly make their own judgement on this. From my perspective it's a total abdication of the CAAs responsibilities. Clearly the challenge of playing any form of meaningful role in addressing flight delay compensation has proven too much for them and they've cleared their in-trays with this weak and wholly inappropriate response. Can Martin and the team investigate the actions of their Consumer Affairs Manager and advise the forum ??

Dear Passenger,
We are writing to update you on your claim for compensation for a disrupted flight. Please accept our apologies if you have received this email previously. A number of passengers may not have received our earlier update and this email reconfirms the current status of your claim. As you may be aware, compensation for disrupted flights is subject to whether the reason for the disruption was beyond the airline’s control, known as ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and whether the airline undertook reasonable measures to avoid the consequences of the disruption. The Civil Aviation Authority has been working with other National Enforcement Bodies across Europe to help understand what ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are in relation to flight disruptions, in light of Regulation EC 261/2004 and European case law. The results of that work have been published on the European Commission’s website:[link removed]
You can read more about the CAA’s role for resolving disputes about disrupted flights here: [link removed]
We have asked airlines to reassess complaints that have been received by the CAA in light of this new guidance. We have now sent your complaint back to the airline for their reassessment and they will respond to you directly within the next eight weeks. We have closed your complaint and are unable to enter into further correspondence on this issue as your complaint is with the airline for a reassessment.
Please note that at this stage, we have not made an assessment as to whether compensation may be due on your specific claim under the Regulation.
Yours faithfully,
Tina Dunkin
Consumer Affairs Manager
Regulatory Policy Group
Civil Aviation Authority
CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE
Telephone: 020 7453 6888


  • David_eDavid_e Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Can Martin and the team investigate the actions of their Consumer Affairs Manager and advise the forum ??

    This forum is full of postings regarding the inadequacies of the CAA. It's even featured on the BBC Watchdog programme more than once (from memory). If you expected anything better, you obviously hadn't seen any of this.

    If you have an issue with the CAA and its staff, you should take it up with the CAA chief executive and also with the relevant government ministers. I don't think it's the job of Martin Lewis or this site to undertake poster-requested work - certainly not on matters that have already been covered in depth.

    This forum has been saying for ages that if you want to claim compensation under the EU regulations you will have to go to court. That's not how it should be but that's how it is.
  • TyzapTyzap Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    Sixth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Unfortunately it's not new news to many on this forum that the CAA are as much use as a chocolate teapot. The question is who regulates the regulator, parliament? and the difficulty getting an official investigation into the unwillingness of the CAA to use the authority that it possesses.
    When it was set up the government wanted an 'arms length' regulator, effectively one that incurs no cost to the public purse. The result is, in my opinion a very cozy relationship with the airlines that they regulate, perhaps too cozy.
    You would be better off reading the FAQ's and doing it yourself or approaching a NWNF solicitor. All you need to know is on these pages.
    Please read Vaubans superb guide. To find it Google and then download 'vaubans guide'.
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