Passenger rights

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

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.

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

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

 

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

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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Canada: denied boarding claim dismissed by Ontario Superior Court of Justice

The plaintiff booked a seven-day trip to Jamaica with WestJet. On September 18, 2011he was given a boarding pass for the outward flight when he presented his Canadian citizenship card at the airport. After a week in Jamica, he presented himself for boarding for the return flight but was denied baording because  he did not have a passport but only presented his Canadian driver's licence, health card and social insurance card. The plaintiff  protested, arguing that the citizenship card had been sufficient for him to travel to Jamaica.

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CJEU provides another clarification of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) 216/2004

In its judgement of today, the Court of the European Union (CJEU) held that the ‘arrival time’, which is used to determine the length of the delay to which passengers on a flight have been subject, corresponds to the time at which at least one of the doors of the aircraft is opened, the assumption being that, at that moment, the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft.

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