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. A balancing of interests would not require to limit advance payments to a certain percentage of the air fare. The retention right or right to withold performance on part of the passenger until counter-perfomance has been recieved was irrelevant in air transport contracts before the flight takes place because the passengers had no insight in internal flight preparations of the air carrier. Other than in package travel, air passengers had a high level of rights pursuant to EU regulations which would prevent the air carriers from non-performance. National and EU level regulations on licencing and supervision applicable to air carriers would significantly reduce the risk of bankruptcy.Source: BGH press release 41/2016 of Feb. 16, 2016 regarding judgements X ZR 97/14, X ZR 98/14 and X ZR 5/15 of Feb. 16, 2016.

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