Ash cloud claim fails

Posted: 25th July 2012

An aspiring musician who missed a recording session at Bob Marley's studio when her flight to Jamaica was grounded by volcanic ash has had her breach of contract claim against an airline dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

planeNajite Graham said that she could still have made it to Jamaica on time if Thomas Cook Airlines UK Ltd. had offered to reschedule her flight following the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April 2010.

She had planned to launch her music career during the Caribbean trip, which included meetings, performances and a session at Bob Marley's famous Tuff Gong studios. Miss Graham said that missing out on the trip had stunted her career.

However, three judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that Miss Graham and her father, who paid for the flight, had no arguable breach of contract claim against the airline.

Miss Graham acknowledged that the volcanic eruption was an ‘act of God’ and the cancellation of her flight had been unavoidable.

But she argued that the airline had failed in its duty to inform her of her rights and had been obliged to give her a choice between a refund of her fare or transport to Jamaica on another flight, re-scheduled to a time convenient to her.

Rejecting the appeal, Lord Justice Toulson, sitting with Lord Justice Laws and Sir Robin Jacob, said: ‘There is no arguable basis on which Miss Graham could have a valid claim for the damages which she seeks, either under the terms of the contract of carriage or otherwise.’