The airline passenger’s consumer rights
with respect to flight delay are complex but not unfathomable.
Much depends upon the identity of your carrier and where in the
world your flight takes place.
The European Union for example has special laws that govern airlines
consumer’s rights with respect to delay.
Our national laws may also govern a particular air journey.
In most international journeys it is also possible that International
law (eg The Montreal Convention) could govern the situation
if a passenger were delayed during an international flight.
In contrast, for domestic flights within the United States there
is very little specialised consumer legislation dealing with
air passengers rights for delay.
There is a nascent movement to introduce Air Passenger Bill of
Rights. So far this is restricted to a very narrow area of a
passenger rights. This is in the event that the passenger is incarcerated
for an extended period on board on aircraft - so called “ramp
In contrast, the European Union legislation dealing with air passenger
delay is much more protective of the air passenger’s welfare.
In the absence of national or international law usually an air
passenger is left to the usual law of contract that might apply
to a particular flight. In common law countries such as the United
Kingdom or United States this with be the common law of contract
or in other countries similar generic laws dealing with private
contracts between parties.
Many airlines have conditions or contracts of carriage setting
out their contract with the air passenger. In their usual form
these conditions typically attempt to avoid the airline being
legally obligated legally to give compensation for a delayed
Individual airlines may in certain circumstances promise to provide
for compensation for delay in the departure or arrival of the
scheduled time of a flight. This appears to be the exception
rather than the rule.
As can be seen an air traveller’s legal rights and opportunities
for redress have the potential to be very complicated.
Flightmole.com users will need to review and research the geography
of their flight as well review the contractual conditions with
their carrier to begin to understand their rights as a consumer
in the area of flight delay. We suggest new users consider geography
first and then the individual airline.
Users can join the Flightmole forum dealing with the issue of
flight delay and post their comments or enquiries in respect of
delayed airline flights.