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Aviation

Cancelled tickets resulted in denied boarding

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Legal news
calendar 26 February 2024
globus Denmark

Usually, an air carrier has to pay compensation if they refuse to let passengers board a flight. However, in a recent case, the court ruled that three refused passengers were not entitled to compensation because their flight tickets had been cancelled. The court reached this conclusion despite it being unclear who had cancelled the tickets and how.

Three passengers were supposed to fly from Athens to Copenhagen. The air carrier refused to let them board because their tickets had been cancelled.

The passengers maintained that they had not cancelled their tickets. However, the air carrier's system showed that the passengers - or someone with access to their booking - had cancelled the tickets.

Mystery unsolved

The court decided that there was insufficient evidence to support the existence of a boarding refusal within the meaning of Regulation 261/2004. There was no proof that the air carrier was responsible for cancelling the flight tickets. The case never resulted in a clear explanation for who had carried out the cancellation and how.

IUNO's opinion

This case demonstrates that the regulation does not cover a boarding refusal if the passenger's booking has been cancelled. It also shows that the burden of proof of a valid ticket lies with the passenger. The responsibility will generally lie with the passenger if a ticket is cancelled.

IUNO recommends that air carriers ensure they have clear evidence of the passenger's cancellation, including precise logging of entries in the air carrier's systems. This will reduce the risk of unreasonable claims for compensation in cases where a passenger is denied boarding due to a cancelled flight ticket.

[The court of Frederiksberg's judgment of 20 December 2023 in case BS-31425/2022-FRB]

Three passengers were supposed to fly from Athens to Copenhagen. The air carrier refused to let them board because their tickets had been cancelled.

The passengers maintained that they had not cancelled their tickets. However, the air carrier's system showed that the passengers - or someone with access to their booking - had cancelled the tickets.

Mystery unsolved

The court decided that there was insufficient evidence to support the existence of a boarding refusal within the meaning of Regulation 261/2004. There was no proof that the air carrier was responsible for cancelling the flight tickets. The case never resulted in a clear explanation for who had carried out the cancellation and how.

IUNO's opinion

This case demonstrates that the regulation does not cover a boarding refusal if the passenger's booking has been cancelled. It also shows that the burden of proof of a valid ticket lies with the passenger. The responsibility will generally lie with the passenger if a ticket is cancelled.

IUNO recommends that air carriers ensure they have clear evidence of the passenger's cancellation, including precise logging of entries in the air carrier's systems. This will reduce the risk of unreasonable claims for compensation in cases where a passenger is denied boarding due to a cancelled flight ticket.

[The court of Frederiksberg's judgment of 20 December 2023 in case BS-31425/2022-FRB]

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