Denmark: passengers of a cancelled flight entitled to rerouting at the earliest opportunity

The passengers had 4 return tickets for CPH – Accra/Ghana via AMS with KLM. The tickets were bought through a local travel agent. Original departure 19/12. On the 18/12 the flight was cancelled due to weather conditions in AMS. The passengers were rerouted to a departure 21/12. In the morning on the 21/12, that flight was also cancelled due to the ongoing weather situation. The passenger were rerouted once again with a scheduled departure on 25/12. KLM insisted, that there were no earlier flights available. The passenger contacted the travel agent, who managed to find some new tickets with a departure 22/12. The passenger were refunded the price of the original tickets (28.108 dkk).The costs the new tickets were 43.800 dkk. The passenger claimed, compensation according the regulation 261/2004 article 5 with reference to the two cancellations (4 x 600€ x 2). The claim was denied by the court with reference to article 5.3, as the situation was considered as extraordinary circumstances. The passenger also claimed the difference in the costs of the purchased tickets with reference to article 8 in the regulation, since KLM did not comply to the wording by providing the passenger rerouting at the earliest opportunity. The court judged that KLM did not manage to prove, that it had tried to provide the passenger with an even earlier schedule on other carriers, than the one offered by KLM on 25/12. The court also stressed, that KLM had not complied with the information obligation in the regulation and had not informed the passengers, that they were entitled to a rerouting at the earliest opportunity. Even though the passenger choose the refund, the court found that KLM were obliged to cover the difference between the original bought tickets and newly acquired tickets to the passenger. With reference to the decision of the passenger to choose the refund, the court also stressed the importance of the new itinerary taking into consideration that the offered rerouting on 25/12 would be 4 days later, and thereby 6 days later than the originally itinerary (19/12). Case: City Court of Copenhagen BS 43C-1085/2011

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