Cases

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CJEU Advocate General: bird strikes do not constitute 'extraordinary circumstances'

In an opinion delivered on July 28, 2016, CJEU Advocate General Bot has concluded that bird strikes do not fall within the extraordinary circumstances defence currently available to air carriers according to Article 5 para 3 of Reg. (EC) 261/2004. In the Advocate General's opinion, such incidents are inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of an air carrier and therefore not 'extraordinary'. Although an opinion of an Advocate Genrral is not binding to the Court but only advisory in nature, the judges in most cases follow the recommedations expressed therein.

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CJEU clarifies remdies for downgrading in air travel

In a recently published judgement, the European Court of Justice has clarfied the rules applying to downgrading of air passagners according to Reg. (EC) No 261/2004.

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U.S.A.: DOT fines airlines for not adequately responding to complaints of disabled passengers

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways for not adequately responding to complaints filed by passengers with disabilities.  Air France and Lufthansa were each fined USD 200,000 and British Airways was fined USD 150,000.  The airlines were also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations.

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EU: Commission refers Germany to Court over VAT rules for travel agents

The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice of the European Union for its failure to properly apply the special value added tax (VAT) scheme for travel agents, as provided for in the VAT Directive (Council Directive 2006/112/EC). The scheme aims to simplify and amend the VAT rules applicable to travel agencies selling travel packages within the EU. It is obligatory for all travel agents to apply the scheme, provided the conditions required in the Directive are met.

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CJEU decides on admissiblity of capping discounts in online travel bookings

Eturas is the holder of exclusive rights to, and administrator of, the E-TURAS system, a common online travel booking system in Lithuania. It allows travel agencies which have acquired by contract an operating licence from Eturas to offer travel bookings for sale on their websites, through a uniform presentation method determined by Eturas.

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Germany: air carriers allowed to demand immediate payment of the full fare upon booking

The German Civil Supreme Court (BGH) decided that it cannot be regarded an unfair term if an air carrier demands immediate payment of the full ticket fare upon booking. Even though air transport contracts were regarded as service contracts, the general rules on service contracts would only to a small extent characterize the model of an air transport contract. In particular, the rules on maturity of the remuneration in service contracts would not preclude advance payment clauses in air transport contracts.

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CJEU: employers can claim for damages under Montreal for their empolyees' flight delays

Upon request of the Lietuvos Aukščiausiasis Teismas (Supreme Court of Lithuania) in proceedings between Air Baltic Corporation AS (‘Air Baltic’) and Lietuvos Respublikos specialiųjų tyrimų tarnyba (Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania - ‘the Investigation Service’), the Court of Justice of the European Union has provided an interpretation of the Montreal Convention.

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German Supreme court decides on tour organiser liabilty for local excursion

The plaintiffs had booked a package holiday to Bulgaria with the defendant. Upon arrival, they recieved a weclome folder which contained a sheet titled "Your Excursions", carrying the defendant's logo and promoting varoius events and excursions. In the bottom line it said that the excursions were organised by a local agency and the defendant would only act as an intermediary. However, the excursions were to be booked through the defendant's local representative. The plaintiffs booked an excursion called "Jeep Safari". On this excursion they suffered a car accident and were injured.

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Austrian Supreme Court: railway company not liable for stolen luggage

The plaintiff traveled by train with the Austrian national railway company ÖBB. She carried a large travel bag which she put on the floor of the aisle. The conductor orderd her to place her bag to the baggage compartment of the wagon which could not be observed from her seat. When she reached her destination she realized that her bag was stolen.

The claim for compensation was dismissed: the Supreme Court (OGH) held that the conductor's instruction to store tha bag in the baggage compartment did not constitute any obligation of custody on the part of the railway company .

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CJEU Advocate General: National Enforcement Body must not take enforcement measures to pursue claims of individual air passengers

Upon reference for preliminary ruling lodged by the Dutch Raad van State (State Council), the Advocate General of the CJEU has delivered an opinion according to which Article 16 of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004 only entrusts the National Enforcement Bodies (NEBs) with the task to secure general compliance with the Regulation but not to pursue individual claims. Individual claims should rather be pursued before the courts. A concurrent competence of courts and national Enforcment Bodies could lead to different interpretations of the Regulation and cause legal uncertainty.

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