Easyjet Edinburgh to Nice, Mon 12th June, Cancelled - Crew Out of Hours. Compensation Due?

Hi - this relates to an Easyjet flight EZY3245, Edinburgh to Nice on Monday 12th June 2023, 1800hrs (local time). The flight was initially delayed and subsequently cancelled. Easyjet then booked myself on a Edinburgh / Gatwick / Nice flight on Tuesday 13th June and provided overnight accommodation. So although not ideal, this was all OK.

I then tried to claim EU261 compensation directly with Easyjet. They rejected the claim, citing 'exceptional circumstances', with air traffic control delays and weather taking the blame. The information provided by Easyjet was vague and seemed like a generic response. I then raised a complaint with Aviation ADR. As part of the process Easyjet issued a 15 page defence statement, with considerable detail. I challenged the Easyjet defence via Aviation ADR, but ultimately the adjudicator rejected my complaint, siding with Easyjet, citing 'exceptional circumstances', with air traffic delays and weather taking the blame. They provided no detail to the points that I challenged - again it seemed like a very generic response.

So, my first question - has anyone successfully claimed EU261 compensation for this flight, either directly or via a third party?

I am now considering raising a small claims court action based on the following (info taken from Easyjet defence statement). All times are UTC;

1. Due departure time was 1700.
2. Aircraft was in Edinburgh, arriving 1705 (35min late).
3. Eurocontrol issued a communication at 1805 with a take off time of 1928 (this would be a 2hr 28min delay).
4. A 1928 takeoff would have the flight arriving Nice 2208.
5. Crew flight duty period (working hours) expired at 2340.
6. Easyjet cancelled the flight at 1844.

Therefore in my mind, even though there were air traffic control delays, these in themselves gave no reason to cancel the flight - the facts show that. So not 'extraordinary circumstances' - Easyjet had the option to fly to Nice or cancel the flight - a decision very much within their control. The flight was actually cancelled by Easyjet because the crew could not complete the return Nice to Edinburgh leg within their permitted working hours. Flying to Nice would have resulted in the aircraft being out of position for Tuesday morning with subsequent disruption. Although I understand the decision from a business point of view, I feel that they should compensate those passengers involved, on the basis that the flight could have gone ahead.

I should also mention that Easyjet made no attempt to have passengers board the aircraft, even though Easyjet staff and passengers were all assembled at the departure gate. Not sure why - maybe they had already decided to cancel the flight ahead of actually doing so.

So my second question, has anyone successfully claimed EU261 compensation for a situation similar to the above?

I think that I can also put forward the argument that Easyjet are using a high risk operational strategy, trying to operate four flights (aircraft and crew had already been to Jersey, so EDI / JER / EDI / NCE / EDI)  within the limits of crew operating hours. This schedule has very little float to accommodate delays - fine provided they have suitable contingencies in place, such as reserve aircraft and crews OR they accept that compensation will have to be paid in the event of cancellation.

Any thoughts or comments on the likely outcome of a court case would be very welcome.

Comments

  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,940
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    I think that I can also put forward the argument that Easyjet are using a high risk operational strategy, trying to operate four flights (aircraft and crew had already been to Jersey, so EDI / JER / EDI / NCE / EDI)  within the limits of crew operating hours. This schedule has very little float to accommodate delays - fine provided they have suitable contingencies in place, such as reserve aircraft and crews OR they accept that compensation will have to be paid in the event of cancellation.
    I'm in a very similar situation to you (different EasyJet flight) and did use pretty much that argument but without success at Aviation ADR, who made no attempt to show their workings when rejecting my claim.

    Situations such as ATC restrictions will usually be legitimately categorised as extraordinary circumstances, but it's the other part of that clause that needs the analysis, namely "cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken", i.e. you need to establish whether their response was reasonable.

    Did EasyJet comment on their (in)ability to deploy alternative aircraft and/or crew in their defence?  Were you able to suggest how you feel they should have reacted on the day with the resources they had in place, or are you making the more generic point that they should have enough to accommodate such situations?
  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,889
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    Aviation ADR have reviewed the facts presented and ruled in the airline's favour.  I would of thought a Court would take in mind the decision of that ruling that an independent adjudicator has already made.

    Apart from the desire for some Compo are you due any further out of pocket expenses?  EasyJet rerouted you and provided overnight accommodation I believe from your post. 
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,940
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    Westin said:
    Aviation ADR have reviewed the facts presented and ruled in the airline's favour.  I would of thought a Court would take in mind the decision of that ruling that an independent adjudicator has already made.
    Personally I'd have thought that a court might expect a claimant to show that they made a reasonable effort to resolve a dispute prior to legal action, but wouldn't have thought they'd be in any way bound or even influenced by the ADR findings?
  • Westin said:
    Apart from the desire for some Compo are you due any further out of pocket expenses?  EasyJet rerouted you and provided overnight accommodation I believe from your post. 
    Thanks for the response. Easyjet arranged and paid for the hotel, including breakfast. They were unwilling to provide transport from the airport to the hotel (city centre), but I am happy to cover cost of that. So they pretty much fulfilled their EU261 welfare obligations.

    Regards EU261 compensation, my original Monday flight had a duration of 2hrs 40min, getting into Nice late Monday evening. My replacement Tuesday flight had a duration of 6hrs 35min (via Gatwick), getting into Nice early evening Tuesday. So the cancellation cost me a full day of my 7day holiday.

    Hence I think some compo, if I am lawfully entitled to it, would be nice.

    Note that Easyjet initially wanted to rebook me for Wednesday travel. I requested that they book me on the next available flight, irrespective of carrier - it was stated by the ground staff that they did not have the authority to do this. Even the Easyjet rebooking for Tuesday was the second flight of the day and because of the extra leg, the booking required the input of a manager.
  • eskbanker said:
    I think that I can also put forward the argument that Easyjet are using a high risk operational strategy, trying to operate four flights (aircraft and crew had already been to Jersey, so EDI / JER / EDI / NCE / EDI)  within the limits of crew operating hours. This schedule has very little float to accommodate delays - fine provided they have suitable contingencies in place, such as reserve aircraft and crews OR they accept that compensation will have to be paid in the event of cancellation.
    I'm in a very similar situation to you (different EasyJet flight) and did use pretty much that argument but without success at Aviation ADR, who made no attempt to show their workings when rejecting my claim.

    Situations such as ATC restrictions will usually be legitimately categorised as extraordinary circumstances, but it's the other part of that clause that needs the analysis, namely "cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken", i.e. you need to establish whether their response was reasonable.

    Did EasyJet comment on their (in)ability to deploy alternative aircraft and/or crew in their defence?  Were you able to suggest how you feel they should have reacted on the day with the resources they had in place, or are you making the more generic point that they should have enough to accommodate such situations?
    Thanks for the response. I think my main argument revolves around the fact that all of the elements for the flight to go ahead were in place; the aircraft, the crew (with OK working hours) and ATC slot for take off. So the decision to cancel could not be attributed to ATC delays (as Easyjet and Aviation ADR are claiming) and therefore not 'extraordinary circumstances' - it was wholly within Easyjets control.

    Easyjet did include information regards reserve aircraft and crews, but stated that nothing was available, neither at EDI or NCE. I would suggest that their level of reserve / standby aircraft / crews quoted by Easyjet would probably be considered as acceptable and reasonable. The EDI / JER / EDI / NCE / EDI tour has a scheduled time duration of 9hrs 55min (a tough gig for a pilot). Maximum flight duty hours (so maximum working hours) for the crew is 10hrs 45min. These are figured taken from the Easyjet defence statement. In other words, this only allows for a maximum delay of 50min over 4 flights. That seems pretty tight. Hence the reason I refer to it as a high risk operational strategy which should have contingencies in place to prevent cancellation or accept that compensation should be paid in the event of cancellation. Alternatively, they could have a lower risk operational strategy - less flights or a different mix of flights. This again is something entirely within their control. I did put this to Aviation ADR - but they provided no response to this.
  • Westin said:
    Aviation ADR have reviewed the facts presented and ruled in the airline's favour.  I would of thought a Court would take in mind the decision of that ruling that an independent adjudicator has already made.
    Thanks for the response. You suggest that Aviation ADR is an independent adjudicator. Info on the internet (Which.co.uk) suggests that they are funded by the airline members. To my cynical mind that would suggest that they are not independent - dont bite the hand that feeds. The Which report also suggests that in 2021, only 24% of claimants were successful with their Aviation ADR claim (Sorry I am only a newbie so cant post the URL link, but you can search Which Flight Compensation Chaos 12th Oct 2022).
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