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I've been denied boarding on 8 flights to the UK, due to most handling companies across Europe being misinformed about a specific detail of UK carrier regulations. easyJet and Jet2 have confirmed they know the relevant rules, so if denied boarding I send an urgent email to their respective internal operations teams who then swiftly get me to my destination and pay EU261 compensation.

It's gone so far as easyJet having had to pay EUR 2850 in compensation, PLUS expenses like food/accommodation. easyJet's customer operations manager (!) has even told me to phone/text him privately going forward if stopped at the gate so he can try to avert it, which is good as he's always been incredibly efficient and helpful.

Jet2 have so far had to pay EUR 250 in compensation.

I rarely feel sorry for big businesses with WAY more cash than me, but in this case I sort of do, since easyJet and Jet2 have explicitly confirmed we're on the same page about the relevant regulations, and yet their numpties for handling partners keep putting them in a position of liability toward me.

My question is: in clear-cut, unambiguous cases of being wrongfully denied boarding through the handler's fault, can the airline cash in what they pay me from the handling agent?

If anyone has knowledge of how this works, that'd be very helpful.

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    This sounds like a Law.SE question
    – JonathanReez
    Mar 3, 2023 at 17:35
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    Probably depends a lot on the specific wording of their contract. May also depend on how training is handled (I.e. if it’s solely done internally by the handling agent or if the airline does it or somehow participates), and possibly on how this is all described in Timatic or other tools they use. BTW, welcome back, I believe we hadn’t seen you in a while.
    – jcaron
    Mar 3, 2023 at 21:59
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    @jcaron TIMATIC's an absolute dog's breakfast on the relevant topic is all I can say. TIMATIC apparently had "long meetings" with the Home Office's Carriers Liaison Section in Hayes, and recently I phoned their head and constructively told him it's still nowhere near good enough. He didn't disagree with my explanations, but effectively revealed that they and TIMATIC struggle a lot to agree on acceptable wordings in general; in this case it caused the wording to be downright misleading. That said, my impression with most handlers is that they don't chiefly rely on Timatic for this
    – Crazydre
    Mar 3, 2023 at 22:13
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    Is your issue that you're trying to fly to the UK with just a Swedish ID card while being a UK resident?
    – JonathanReez
    Mar 4, 2023 at 18:59
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    @JonathanReez Yep, right you are! Settled/pre-settled status doesn't come with a physical document but pops up on the screen when my ID's scanned at the border. Therefore, the Home Office has written in three carrier communications "Carriers are not currently required to check an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen’s immigration status, or confirm that they are entitled to enter the UK on a national identity card, when deciding whether to bring them to the UK. They only need to check that they have a valid passport or valid national identity card." That detail is what most handlers are clueless about.
    – Crazydre
    Mar 4, 2023 at 20:40

1 Answer 1

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Handlers are legally agents of the airline, so the airlines still bear the responsibility for their actions, as they would for any contractor/employee.

EU261 only mentions the air carrier and has no notion of 3rd parties involved.

For the purposes of this Regulation:

(a) "air carrier" means an air transport undertaking with a valid operating licence;

(b) "operating air carrier" means an air carrier that performs or intends to perform a flight under a contract with a passenger or on behalf of another person, legal or natural, having a contract with that passenger;

(c) "Community carrier" means an air carrier with a valid operating licence granted by a Member State in accordance with the provisions of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2407/92 of 23 July 1992 on licensing of air carriers(5);

(d) "tour operator" means, with the exception of an air carrier, an organiser within the meaning of Article 2, point 2, of Council Directive 90/314/EEC of 13 June 1990 on package travel, package holidays and package tours(6);

The airline has to fork over, and then, this will, likely, be dealt internally between the airline and the handler, respecting contracts or other policies.

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    The OP is asking how exactly it will be "dealt internally between the airline and the handler" Mar 4, 2023 at 19:28
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    Well, this is private business between airline and handler @JohnPardon Mar 4, 2023 at 19:43
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    Yes . . . so what? Doesn't change the fact that you have not answered the question "can the airline cash in what they pay me from the handling agent?" Mar 4, 2023 at 20:11
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    @Crazydre If they can recover compensation from the handler, sure, as I said in my answer, the airline is responsible for any action done in her name. Then, nothing is legally preventing them from internally recovering it, but this is done through contracts and everything else. I don't know if that's the case in every jurisdiction, but that may warrant a Law.SE Mar 4, 2023 at 22:16
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    How a company internally deals with penalties is up to the company. Whether it is legal is an entirely different matter and is specific to local employment laws. You're worried that the handler will be penalized, but the likelihood of that happening is extremely low if the airline's finance and legal department are structured properly. Case-by-case penalties are a real nightmare to deal with, especially when you deduct pay, and I'm certain there are EU laws that cover this.
    – Nelson
    Mar 14, 2023 at 5:45

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