Setting a precedent for delayed EU passengers on all airlines, Manchester County Court said Ryanair could not cut the time a passenger has in which to claim from six years to two by adding a clause to its small print.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that delayed passengers in England and Wales have six years to claim, but Ryanair says passengers who book with it accept their terms and conditions, and therefore the claim limit is two years.
Citing the six-year rule as “unnecessary and unreasonable” Ryanair said that it would appeal against the decision.
If Ryanair had won all airlines may have been able to impose a two-year time limit on all existing and future flight delay claims.
Passengers can claim between £180 ad £440 for a delay of at least three hours, depending on the length of the wait and the distance to be travelled.
Wilmslow, Cheshire based legal firm Bott & Company, represented the two passengers who brought the case against Ryanair. The firm say compensation could amount in up to £610m of past claims for Ryanair.
In a statement, Ryanair said, “”Since we believe a six-year time limit for submitting such claims is both unnecessary and unreasonable, we have instructed our lawyers to immediately appeal this ruling.”