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Aviation

Automatic rebooking system recognised as a reasonable precaution

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Legal news
calendar 16 February 2024
globus Denmark

A group of passengers refused to accept the automatic rebooking by the air carrier’s automated computer system. The Danish Eastern High Court found that the search system had concluded that there were no other and better rebooking options. The air carrier had taken the reasonable precautions required by Regulation 261/2004 through its rebooking system.

Effective rebooking of passengers

The passengers were supposed to fly from Bucharest via Amsterdam to Copenhagen. The flight from Bucharest was delayed, and the passengers missed their connecting flight to Copenhagen. The passengers were rebooked and arrived in Copenhagen with a total delay of over three hours. As a starting point, they were entitled to compensation under Regulation 261/2004.

The air carrier’s automatic rebooking system did the rebooking. The system was designed to find the rebooking that would create the least possible delay for each passenger under the given circumstances. The search system considered, among other things, which flights were available to the specific destination on the same day, whether there were open seats, the possibility of rebooking to surrounding airports, and the customer's preferences. The system took the air carrier’s flights into account, as well as flights with other air carriers.

The Danish Eastern High Court disagreed with the City Court of Copenhagen

The case was initially brought before the City Court of Copenhagen, which did not find that it would have been unreasonably burdensome for the air carrier to take further precautions beyond those actually taken. It was not enough that the air carrier used an automatic system to find the fastest possible rebooking for the passenger in question.

However, the case was appealed to the Eastern High Court. The tone had changed significantly here, as this court found that the air carrier had taken reasonable precautions through its automatic search system.

IUNO's opinion

The decision confirms that air carriers can advantageously use automatic rebooking systems in connection with rebooking. The courts recognise that this type of system can be considered in assessing whether an air carrier has taken the reasonable precautions required by Regulation 261/2004. The judgment aligns with the widespread use of artificial intelligence in the business world.

IUNO recommends that air carriers consider the use of rebooking systems in connection with compensation claims under Regulation 261/2004. Provided that the rebooking system works as intended, its use may be sufficient for the air carrier to meet its burden of proof for having taken reasonable precautions.

[Eastern High Court judgment of 21 November 2023 in case BS-6150/2023-OLR]

Effective rebooking of passengers

The passengers were supposed to fly from Bucharest via Amsterdam to Copenhagen. The flight from Bucharest was delayed, and the passengers missed their connecting flight to Copenhagen. The passengers were rebooked and arrived in Copenhagen with a total delay of over three hours. As a starting point, they were entitled to compensation under Regulation 261/2004.

The air carrier’s automatic rebooking system did the rebooking. The system was designed to find the rebooking that would create the least possible delay for each passenger under the given circumstances. The search system considered, among other things, which flights were available to the specific destination on the same day, whether there were open seats, the possibility of rebooking to surrounding airports, and the customer's preferences. The system took the air carrier’s flights into account, as well as flights with other air carriers.

The Danish Eastern High Court disagreed with the City Court of Copenhagen

The case was initially brought before the City Court of Copenhagen, which did not find that it would have been unreasonably burdensome for the air carrier to take further precautions beyond those actually taken. It was not enough that the air carrier used an automatic system to find the fastest possible rebooking for the passenger in question.

However, the case was appealed to the Eastern High Court. The tone had changed significantly here, as this court found that the air carrier had taken reasonable precautions through its automatic search system.

IUNO's opinion

The decision confirms that air carriers can advantageously use automatic rebooking systems in connection with rebooking. The courts recognise that this type of system can be considered in assessing whether an air carrier has taken the reasonable precautions required by Regulation 261/2004. The judgment aligns with the widespread use of artificial intelligence in the business world.

IUNO recommends that air carriers consider the use of rebooking systems in connection with compensation claims under Regulation 261/2004. Provided that the rebooking system works as intended, its use may be sufficient for the air carrier to meet its burden of proof for having taken reasonable precautions.

[Eastern High Court judgment of 21 November 2023 in case BS-6150/2023-OLR]

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