Passenger rights

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CJEU clarifies burden of proof for timely information on flight cancellation

In case of cancellation of a flight, according to Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 the carrier shall be exempt from the obligation to pay compensation if the passengers were informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure.

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CJEU: bird strikes qualify as "extraordinary circumstances"

In a highly anticipated judgement, the CJEU held  today that a collision between an aircraft and a bird, as well as any damage caused by that collision, are not intrinsically linked to the operating system of the aircraft, with the result that such a collision is not by  its nature or origin inherent in the  normal exercise of the activity  of the air carrier concerned and  is outside its actual control.  Accordingly,  a collision between an  aircraft and a bird is an extraordinary circumstance within the meaning of the regulation.

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CJEU: a flight during which an unscheduled stopover took place cannot be regarded as cancelled

On Oct. 5, 2016 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) provided another clarification regarding the interpretation of Reg. (EC) No. 261/2004. The case involved an Bulgarian Air Charter flight from Burgas (Bulgaria) to Dresden (Germany). The flight departed as scheduled but made an unscheduled stopover in Prague which caused a delay in arrvial at Dresden of  2 hours and 20 minutes.

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

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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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 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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Air carriers to stack passengers in aircrafts?

According to a report published on telegraph.co.uk, aircraft manufacturer Airbus has designed a mezzanine level for planes which would stack passengers above others. However, it is questionable, that the invention will ever make it past the design stage. To read the article which also contains sketches of the mezzanine level seating, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/11914067/Airbus-designs-mezzanine-to-seat-plane-passengers-on-top-of-each-other.html

 

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Germany: two new Supreme Court decisions on air passenger rights

On March 17, 2015 the German Supreme Court (BGH) has passed two judgements with regard to Regulation (EC) 216/2004.

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