Austria: tour organiser not liable for costs of extended stay caused by flight cancellation due to the ash cloud crisis

The plaintiff had booked a holiday package and spent her vacations in Gran Canaria in April 2010. Her return flight scheduled for April 17, 2010 had been cancelled because of the air space closures caused by the ‘ash cloud’. Thus she had to stay in Gran Canaria until April 23, 2010 and bear the extra costs of this extend stay (mainly: hotel and telephone costs). Back home she sued the tour organiser for compensation. The appelate court (LG Innsbruck), however, dismissed the claim against the tour organiser. Other than th first instance court, the appelate court followed the arguments of the tour orgnaiser and held that pursuant to Reg. 261/2004/EC it had been the operating carrier’s responsibility to provide free hotel accomodation and telephone calls. Any action for compensation with regard to a failure to comply with these obligations could therefore only be brought against the operating carrier while the tour organiser had had no obligation to provide these services and had not been at fault with regard to the cancellation.Case: LG Innsbruck 6.12.2011, 1 R 158/11h

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