Thomas Cook Loses to Ash Family after Bird Strike was Ruled as not an 'Extraordinary Circumstance' for Flight Delays

In recent delayed flight news, Thomas Cook lost a landmark four year court case to the Ash family after a judge decided bird strikes were not to be considered ‘extraordinary circumstances’ as compared to extreme weather conditions and terrorism. Flight delay refunds claim news shows airlines previously would use such extraordinary circumstances to justify cancelled flights and delays so as to prevent any damage to their performance record. In most cases this is applicable. However the Ash family were not pacified with the travel agent’s stance.

The Ash family won a milestone legal court victory allowing other travellers affected by air traffic and air travel delays to benefit from. Timothy Ash’s family were rewarded with EUR 1688.23 post their flight from Antalya to Manchester getting delayed for more than five hours almost four years ago after a bird hit the plane.

A gruelling four year old court battle later, District Judge Suil Iyer passed the decision at the Manchester County Court ruling in favour of the Ash family.

Bird strikes have been considered a grey area with wide opinions on delays being caused by extraordinary circumstances such as terrorism or civil unrest. Judge Iyer was firm in his decision ruling bird strikes were not extraordinary. He inferred the case of two cars crashing on the highway may not be common but it can happen, while a car and horse crashing into each other being extraordinary. Judge Iyer says bird strikes happened on a regular basis and are barely worthy of comment in the manner in which the industry treats them and associates flight delays to them.

Bird strikes could not possibly fall in the same category as road collision between two moving vehicles and a car and horse for the basic idea that our skies are filled with birds while our roads are not filled with horses. According to the judge, bird strikes were so common at Manchester Airport that hawks were used to prevent birds from travelling into their airspace.

The law firm representing Mr. Ash, Bott and Co, said it will administer and represent future delayed flight cases, of which many can be found in the Manchester area. Tim is a 40 year old living in Scarborough in Yorks. He was travelling to Antalya in Turkey with his wife and disabled son with learning difficulties and their daughter. Despite checking the flight status on the website and seeing the flight hadn’t departed Manchester, they were brought to the Turkish airport and made to wait overnight.

According to Tim, the airlines handled the situation poorly and the air conditioning system affected their son very badly, thanks to his low immune system and him nearly catching pneumonia. The staff could’ve saved them the hassle of borrowing strangers’ coats by allowing the Ash family to wait at the hotel. Tim feels justified after winning the four year old case.

Despite the judge’s rule, Thomas Cook stated they will not pay bird-strike compensation.