German Supreme Court: tour organizer can be liable for delayed train to airport in “Rail & Fly” packages

Plaintiff had booked a package with “Meier’s Weltreisen”. The package included air transport from Düsseldorf to the Dominican Republic and vice versa, hotel accomodation and all inclusive board. With regard to getting to the airport, plaintiff chose to book a rail ticket offered by Meier’s Weltreisen in connection with the package, promoted “to avoid stress and traffic jams”. Meier’s Weltreisen recommended to choose a train connection which arrives at the airport at least 2 hrs before scheduled departure. Plaintiff’s flight was scheduled for departure at 11:15. She chose a train which was supposed to arrive at the airport at 09:08. However, due to a delay of the train she only reached the airport at 11:45 and missed her flight. After having consulted Meier’s Weltreisen she went to Munich and took a flight from there the next day. Back home from holidays she sued for compensation of the additional costs caused by missing the flight.In judgement Xa ZR 46/10 of Oct. 28, 2010, German Supreme Court (BGH) upheld the lower instances courts’ decisions to grant the claim: by promoting the train connection to the aiport and offering same as additional service of its own and as a part of the package, Meier’s Weltreisen had accepted liablity for accurate operation of the train even though the choice of a particular train had been up to plaintiff. There was no contributory negligence on behalf of plaintiff as she had planned her journey with due care and in line with Meier’s instrcutions.Source: BGH press release 205/2010 of Oct. 28, 2010. Full text available in German here>>.

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