Boeing 737 Max and Airline Compensation: Both Grounded.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has issued a Safety Directive resulting in the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max. This has and will result in delays and cancellations. However, even if passengers are traveling via European Union based airlines or departing with any carrier from the EU, they may not be entitled to compensation under EU Regulation (EC) 261/2004.

Click2Refund considers that this type of rare situation would most probably be considered as a manufacturing defect and therefore it will be labeled as an extraordinary circumstance which would eventually help airline companies to avoid paying compensation.

However, even if the passengers cannot claim compensation for flight cancellation, the airline companies still owe basic duties to the passengers under Regulation (EC) 261/2004:

1. Hotel cost: - In cases of last-minute cancellations or delays of 5 hours or more, the airline is liable to pay for reasonable cost of overnight accommodation until a replacement flight takes place. If the airlines refuse to pay then passengers are advised to save receipts proving incurred cost and subsequently file for reimbursement.

2. Refund of fares or provision of alternative travel: - If a passenger has booked a flight with an airline that has grounded the operation of Boeing 737 Max and faces disruptions, then it is the duty of the airline company to refund the fare to the passenger or provide alternative travel arrangements. The airline is only obliged to reimburse when the flight is cancelled or a delay is greater than 5 hours.

3. Meals and drinks: - In the event of any cancellation or delay of any flight, passengers are eligible for meals and drinks by the airline companies depending upon the duration of the delay either by the airline itself, in the form of cash or adequate vouchers.

4. Airlines are supposed to provide Passengers with services like two free calls, emails and fax to make arrangements necessary due to the disruption.

Important tips for passengers:

1. Do not cancel your ticket by yourself: You won't be eligible to claim compensation or reimbursement (if any) if you cancel your own tickets. This would be deemed to be your decision and not the airline’s. Airlines often argue accordingly later even if they promised to reimburse at the airport.

2. Keep receipts of expenses: Save all the receipts for reasonable expenses incurred due to the disruption of the flight.

3. Show up: Go to the airport at all times and register to the flight. You may be denied reimbursement if you fail to register for the flight.

4. Record any other evidence: Try to take other evidence, such as makingscreenshots of any messages that airline sent you or any audio or video conversation you had with airline companies regarding the said issue. You may also try to exchange contact details with other passengers so you can help by being one another’s witness.

5. The airline is obliged to inform you: Explicitly ask for written confirmation by the airline in respect to any delay/cancellation, any reimbursements promised etc. under article 14 (2) of the Regulation (EC) 261/2004.

Background

With more than 5000 orders worldwide and approx. 350 of them already delivered, Boeing 737 Max soon became of the fastest selling aircraft on the planet, but the last 2 airlines crash in only 6 months have broken the backbone of the company. Following the recent crash of Boeing 737 Max which resulted into the death of 157 souls on dated 10 March 2019, a large number of countries have shown great concern by grounding the said model of Boeing in question for faulty errors/manufacturing defects, until and unless the investigation in respect to reason of crash is not complete.

The grounding of Boeing 737 Max has eventually resulted in the worldwide cancellation of flights and caused distress among passengers. Below is the list of countries who had taken aggressive decisions by grounding Boeing 737 Max:

List of Countries List of European countries
1. Australia29. Austria
2. Bermuda30. Belgium
3. Brazil31. Bulgaria
4. Canada32. Crotia
5. China33. Cyprus
6. Colombia34. Czech Republic
7. Egypt35. Denmark
8. Ethiopia36. Estonia
9. Fiji37. Finland
10. Hong Kong38. France
11. India39. Germany
12. Indonesia40. Greece
13. Kazakhstan41. Hungary
14. Kuwait42. Iceland
15. Malaysia43. Ireland
16. Mexico44. Italy
17. Mongolia45. Latvia
18. New Zealand46. Liechtenstein
19. Oman47. Lithuania
20. Panama48. Luxembourg
21. Turkey49. Malta
22. The United States of America50. Netherlands
23. Singapore51. Norway
24. Serbia52. Poland
25. South Korea53. Portugal
26. United Arab Emirates54. Romania
27. United Kingdom55. Slovakia
28. Vietnam56. Slovenia
57. Spain
58. Sweden
59. Switzerland

Written by: Aporve Khanna