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There is a story in the news today about a woman being charged £85,000 after she caused a flight to be diverted due to her behaviour.

I believe this is section 23.3 in Jet2's Conditions of Carriage. A quick scan of other airlines revealed both British Airways and Easyjet have similar conditions while Air France, KLM and Lufthansa do not.

Is there a specific aspect of UK law that allows this in the UK and not in mainland Europe or is it up to the airline? What is the legal basis to impose this liability?

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    There's a general principle in most jurisdictions that if you do something which causes harm for another party, you're liable for their damages. There doesn't need to be any contract. Of course, if she doesn't agree with the amount, or that she is liable at all, she can refuse to pay. The airline can then decide to sue her, and a court will determine what if anything she owes them. – Nate Eldredge Jul 17 at 20:15
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Yes

The airline is entitled to recover what the passenger cost it - that’s how damages work. If it’s successful in its legal pursuit of the passenger it’s also entitled to legal costs (generally, legal costs are complicated).

This can either be the actual amount or a genuine pre-estimate of that amount in the contract, called a liquidated damages amount. Liquidated damages do not have to be accurate in the particular circumstances but they must be a reasonable expectation of what an average breach would cost the airline. Too large and they risk being a penalty and unenforceable - only governments can punish.

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