Airline SAS taken to court over passenger compensation delays

Several companies are to take SAS to court on behalf of passengers who say the airline owes them money.

Airline SAS taken to court over passenger compensation delays
SAS has been accused by customers of dragging its heels over compensation and refunds related to last year's pilots' strike. Photo by Miguel Ángel Sanz on Unsplash

SAS is likely to be taken to court over compensation claims from passengers related to last year’s pilot strikes, Danish national broadcaster DR reports.

One SAS passenger told DR that he was promised a processing time of four weeks on a compensation claim after a delay and diversion on a return flight from Corfu to Denmark resulted in his family arriving home 12 hours behind schedule.

“The first response from SAS said four weeks. I think that sounds very reasonable and if it ended up being a month more, that’s not so bad. But seven months is probably a bit much,” the passenger said.

The passenger in question has since received compensation after speaking to the broadcaster, DR notes. That came after DR contacted SAS with a comment request related to the individual case.

Generally, passengers who reach their EU destination more than three hours later than planned have the right to compensation.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Denmark?

But Flypenge, a company specialised in leading customer claims against airlines, said it was preparing around 600 cases to present to courts, all related to compensation arising from the pilot strikes.

The cases are being brought because SAS is yet to pay compensation or refunds to passengers who bought new tickets with other airlines so they could get home.

“This is about a lot of people who couldn’t go on holiday or couldn’t get home. Some also had extra expenses because they had to get home on time to go back to work or school,” the director of Flypenge, Dekan Salar, told DR.

The EU Court has previously ruled that airlines must pay compensation when the cause of a delay or cancellation is a legally notified strike, according to Salar. That EU ruling was also related to the SAS pilots’ strike, she said.

“I think this is unbelievable. I appreciate that SAS has been under huge pressure and we have therefore also chosen to give them a longer deadline to meet our demands,” she said to DR.

She said that a court case with SAS was not desired by her company but that it was on the table because the airline was yet to respond.

A second company, Flyhjælp, told DR it had around 30 ongoing cases against SAS on behalf of the airline’s passengers and expected more to come.

Flyhjælp legal director Benedikte Bolvig Lund said that SAS had paid compensation in some cases, but not in others where passengers had purchased new tickets with other companies.

“We think we have given them plenty of time to review the cases and as the responses come in, and we disagree with SAS’ decision, we will go further with them to court,” she said.

The senior consultant of consumer rights group Forbrugerrådet Tænk, Vagn Jelsøe, called it “incomprehensible” that SAS had taken “more than half a year to conclude some relatively simple refund cases” in reference to cases that involved passengers who still travelled with SAS but were delayed.

He also said that it should not be necessary for passengers to turn to legal companies to receive compensation of this type.

Companies such as Flypenge and Flyhjælp will typically receive part of the compensation fee as payment for taking on the claim for the individual passenger.

SAS did not agree to an interview with DR but said in a written statement that it regrets when “things end up in court” and that “it has taken a very long time” to process the claims.

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Denmark’s Great Belt Bridge to offer reduced tolls for commuters

A new discount system launched by the operators of Denmark’s Great Belt Bridge is designed to offer savings to people who live on one side of the bridge and work on the other.

Denmark’s Great Belt Bridge to offer reduced tolls for commuters

The Great Belt Bridge, a 7-kilometre, fixed-link bridge which connects the islands of Funen and Zealand, can cost up to 250 kroner for a single crossing in a normal passenger car.

Operator Sund & Bælt on Friday announced a new discount for commuters who cross the bridge 15 times or more in a month.

The deal could be particularly beneficial for people who live in Jutland or on Funen but travel regularly to Copenhagen for work.

The new discount system launches on May 1st, Sund & Bælt said in a press statement.

Specifically, private motorists who are registered to pay the toll fee via either the Bizz card or number plate recognition will automatically receive a discount if they cross the bridge more than 14 times within a calendar month.

This is because while the first 14 journeys across the bridge will cost the regular price, all subsequent journeys will cost 0 kroner until the 50th journey, when the price returns to normal. The number resets at the beginning of each month.

Provided payment is set up through one of the two methods mentioned above, bridge users do not need to register or pay anything in advance to benefit from the discount.

Customers who use the existing Storebælt Pendleraftale discount by planning their journeys to fit with the number of crossings provided by that deal could see a “small price increase” under the new system, Sund & Bælt said in the statement. Commuters unable to plan their journeys or who drive during weekends and evenings are likely to find the price drops slightly, it added.

Further information on the discount can be find on the Sund & Bælt website.

Earlier this week, the Øresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmø also announced a change to its pricing structure.