Delayed flights entitles consumers to compensation

11/5/2012

The European Court of Justice has today delivered a verdict where it confirms the earlier established “Sturgeon”-case which entitles air passengers delayed by more three hours compensation in accordance with EU regulation no. 261/2004.

The court states that “passengers whose flights are delayed and those whose flights are cancelled ‘at the very last moment’ must be regarded as being in comparable situations as regards the application of their right to compensation, because those passengers suffer similar inconvenience, namely, a loss of time".

"The Court also finds that the requirement to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed is compatible with the Montreal Convention. In that connection, the Court finds that the loss of time inherent in a flight delay constitutes an inconvenience which is not governed by the Montreal Convention. Consequently, the obligation to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed falls outside the scope of that convention, but remains additional to the system for damages laid down by it.”

Furthermore, the court confirms the earlier established principal that so called “extraordinary circumstances” releases the airline from the obligation to compensate consumers in accordance with EU regulation no. 261/2004. The burden of proof regarding whether or not such circumstances were at hand in the situation is however on the airline.