German Supreme Court (BGH): no price reduction for delayed flight

Plaintiff had booked a flight from Frankfurt/Main (FRA) to Phoenix (PHX) via Washington, D.C. (DCA). The flight from FRA to DCA was scheduled for departure on Oct. 7, 2006, 13:25 hrs. Departure was delayed to 17:00 hrs and plaintiff missed his conneting flight to PHX. He claimed for compensation under Reg. 261/2004 as well as price reduction.As in case Xa ZR 78/08, BGH held that missing a connecting flight due to a delay of the feeder would not constitute “denied boarding” under Reg. 261/2004.BGH furthermore held that a contract for flight carriage normally could not be regarded a contract whereas time is of absolute essence in a meaning that the whole contract would lapse if the scheduled time was missed. Neither could a flight delay be regarded as deficient service entitling passengers to a price reduction. Plaintiff therefore could only have sued for any damages caused by the delay.BGH 28.05.2009, Xa ZR 113/08; judgement avialable in German here>>.

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