Germany: no free termination of package contract because of voided passports

The plaintiff had booked a holiday package to the U.S. organized by the defendant. She was supposed to travel to the U.S. together with her husband and her daughter on May 19, 2013. In January 2013 she applied for new passports for her daughter and herself which were issued and sent to her accordingly. However, as the authorties did not receive any confirmation of delivery, it was assumed that the passports had got lost and therefore they were declared void. However, no information was provided to the plaintiff. When the plaintiff and her family wnated to check in for the flight, they were refused because of the invalid travel documents.The defendant only paid back a part of the package price. The plaintiff’s claim for full reimbursement was dismissed in all court instances. The German Suprem Court (BGH) held that the event was part of the sphere of risk of the plaintiff and could not be regarded “force majeur”. It was the sole responsibilty of every traveler to produce vaild travel documents.Source: BGH press release No 76/2017 of May 16, 2017 relating to BGH judgement X ZR 142/15 of May 16, 2016

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