Spain: Court of Appeal of Barcelona regards Ryanair’s boarding pass printing policy lawful

On October 5, 2011 the Court of Appeal of Barcelona delivered a judgment in a case concerning Ryanair’s policy with regard to printing boarding passes: the claimant had been charged EUR 40 by Ryanair because he had appeared at the airport without a printed bording pass. He sued for reimbursement of this “fine” and requested that the related clause within the general conditions of contract was declared void because of being unfair. The court of first instance granted the claim.Upon Ryanair’s appeal, the Court of Appeal found that the boarding pass was available to the passenger two weeks before the flight takes place and there were specific instructions on Ryanair’s website for the user who thus could easily print out the boarding pass to present it at the airport. The Courtsaw no contradiction to article 3 of the Montreal Convention. The system would only speed up the embarking process, would save the airline costs and save the passenger time and therefore could not be considered as detrimental for the passenger.The Court also held that the obligation to print the boarding pass, which was sufficiently communicated in advance, would be an unfair term as it would not put a disproportionate burden on the passenger or cause a significant imbalance in benefits.Case details: Don Santos v. Ryanair Ltd, Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona, Sección 15a, Decision núm. 390/2011, 5th october AC 20111562

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