Ronald Huzar said he was entitled to compensation under European Union regulations after suffering “no little inconvenience” when the flight from Malaga, Spain, to Manchester left a day late in October 2011.
But Leeds-based Jet2.com bosses claimed an exemption. They said the problem which caused the delay – a technical fault on an airliner – was unforeseeable and amounted to an “extraordinary circumstance”.
The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled in Mr Huzar’s favour after a hearing in London. Three appeal judges said the case was “of some importance to the airline passenger industry”.
And a consumer rights campaigner described the ruling as a landmark. Judges said the onus of proof was on the airline to show that extraordinary circumstances existed and that delay could not have been avoided.
And, after analysing legal argument, they concluded that the “extraordinary circumstances defence” did not apply in Mr Huzar’s case.
One appeal judge listed terrorism, strikes, air traffic control problems and freak weather as events beyond the control of airline.
No personal details were given for Mr Huzar in the appeal court ruling handed down yesterday. The judges, who had heard evidence at a hearing in May, had been asked to analyse the case following a ruling by a judge in a county court in Manchester.
“The amount of people looking to claim against the airlines amounts to big business,” said campaigner James Walker, of complaints website www.resolver.co.uk.