Is Emirates' offer of 90,000 miles adequate compensation?

Travel Q&A

Q. My wife and I were flying back from Brisbane to Dubai on Emirates. After a four-hour wait we were told that the flight was cancelled. Emirates arranged for a hotel, breakfast and transport. We finally left 18 hours late and missed our connection to Heathrow. Emirates offered us 45,000 air miles each as a gesture of goodwill. As this delay in my view was Emirates' fault, am I entitled to compensation or should I just accept the offer? Andrew Whitfield

A. Most claims for cancellations and long delays are made under the European passenger-rights legislation, but this is no use as you were neither flying from an EU airport, nor on a European airline. The rules apply to departures from European airports (regardless of the carrier), and to European airlines on any route (eg British Airways from Sydney to Heathrow). But a UAE-based airline flying from Australia certainly does not qualify.

The Montreal Convention – the global treaty on aviation – mentions in Article 19 that an airline is liable for "damage occasioned by delay", so in theory you could pursue a claim for the losses sustained. But looking at the impact on your plans, any compensation would be modest. You are probably best advised simply to accept the airline's offer – which, by the standards of such cases, looks generous.

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