By John Ensor •
Published: 25 Jan 2024 • 14:33
Image of frustrated passenger.
Can passengers always expect compensation for delayed flights? A recent flight to Mallorca has brought the issue to light, leading to a new ruling from the EU.
On Thursday, January 25, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), headquartered in Luxembourg, delivered a significant ruling.
It pertained to the rights of airline passengers to claim compensation for delayed flights. This judgement specifically addressed the case of two passengers on a flight from Dusseldorf to Palma de Mallorca.
The ruling revolves around a delayed flight that was initially scheduled to be delayed by over three hours but eventually amounted to a delay of three hours and 32 minutes.
In anticipation of missing a professional commitment, one of the passengers decided against travelling to the airport.
The other passenger opted to buy an alternative ticket, which allowed arrival at the destination with less than a three-hour delay compared to the initial flight. Despite their circumstances, both passengers claimed a compensation of €250.
The judges of the court based in Luxembourg ensure that a passenger has the right to compensation when ‘it results in an irreversible loss of time, equal to or greater than three hours.’
The CJEU clarified that passengers not present in the boarding area at the scheduled time, or those who choose alternative travel arrangements, forfeit their right to compensation.
This decision sets a precedent across the EU, responding to a preliminary query from the German Federal Supreme Court.
The CJEU’s decision underscores a key point, a passenger affected by a flight delay must be in the original boarding area at the prescribed time to be eligible for compensation.
This ruling signifies that passengers who do not experience the delay first-hand, by either not going to the airport or by finding alternative routes, are not entitled to compensation.
The CJEU thus maintains that passengers unimpacted by the delay due to their own choices are not eligible for refunds.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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