ECJ RULING: Up to 600 euros compensation for passengers in the event of a strike … but there are exceptions
Good news for passengers: if a flight is canceled due to a strike, compensation usually has to be paid! There are a few exceptions, however.
Up to 600 euros compensation for passengers
The supreme court of the EU has ruled that passengers are usually entitled to compensation even if their connection has been canceled due to striking crew members.
▶ ︎ There are only exceptions in limited individual cases, as can be seen from a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
he EU has clearly regulated the rights of passengers and how much compensation they are entitled to: Travelers can claim up to 250 euros on short flights (up to 1500 kilometers) if their connection is canceled or severely delayed and no alternative is offered. For longer journeys, the amount of compensation increases to up to 600 euros!
There are exceptions if …
▶ … if passengers are informed at least two weeks in advance.
▶ … if an “exceptional circumstance” is asserted.
According to the EU, this is the case when the circumstances for the deletion “could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken”.
In plain language: If the airline itself cannot help with the flight cancellation, it doesn’t have to pay either. For example, in the event of a natural disaster.
Who does the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation apply to?
- Passengers with a valid ticket and booking confirmation
- Passengers whose flight either starts in the EU or is operated by an airline based in the EU and lands in the EU .
It is irrelevant whether the travelers:
- have booked a package tour,
- have booked with a low-cost airline,
- are on a business trip,
- are minors (with their own ticket),
- or fly with free or discounted tickets from a customer loyalty or advertising program.
How did the verdict come about?
A consumer had sued the Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings because his flight from Salzburg to Berlin was canceled.
Eurowings had argued that the company had taken all “reasonable measures” to limit the impact of the strike.
The highest European court sees it differently: It is foreseeable that if a parent company calls for a strike, employees from other parts of the group will join the strike.
Like any employer, an airline whose employees go on strike for better working conditions “cannot claim that it has no influence whatsoever on these measures”. He “basically has the means to prepare for it and thus to intercept its consequences if necessary so that the events remain controllable for him to a certain extent.”
The EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation does not apply to:
- Passengers traveling for free or at a reduced rate that is not directly or indirectly available to the public.
- Passengers who did not show up for check-in on time. Normally, passengers should be at the check-in at least 45 minutes before departure time (exception: cancellation)
A flight is canceled – what compensation are you entitled to?
In the event of a flight cancellation, the amount of the compensation initially depends on the length of the flight route. It also depends on the country in which the plane starts or whether it is a European airline. Basically, you are entitled to EUR 250 for routes up to 1,500 kilometers, EUR 400 for routes within Europe from 1,500 kilometers and other routes from 1,500 kilometers to 3,500 kilometers and EUR 600 for routes from 3,500 kilometers. The compensation is reduced by half (125, 200 or 300 euros) if the airline offers an alternative transport with which you arrive a maximum of 2, 3 or 4 hours late.
The entitlement applies to every passenger with a valid ticket, including children. It is increasingly the case that airlines want to satisfy affected customers with vouchers. You shouldn’t get into that, because you have the right to a transfer or cash payment.
During the waiting period, care services are part of the compensation that you have to receive in addition to compensation in the event of a flight cancellation. These are particularly important for passengers if, for example, they have to wait a long time for a replacement flight or are stranded at an airport because the connecting flight has been canceled.
The statutory benefits are as follows:
|From 2 hours of waiting time||Flights up to 1,500 km||Free drinks, food, possibly phone calls or emails|
|From 3 hours of waiting time||Flights from 1,500 km to 3,500 km||Free drinks, food, possibly phone calls or emails|
|From 4 hours of waiting time||Flights from 3,500 km||Free drinks, food, possibly phone calls or emails|
|Departure the next day||On all flights||Overnight in the hotel and reimbursement of the transfer costs|