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Aviation

Six-hour delay in sight – no compensation

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Legal news
calendar 20 March 2024
globus Denmark

A passenger arranged his own rebooking when his flight was delayed. The EU Court of Justice ruled that the passenger was not entitled to compensation because the rebooking did not result in a delay of more than three hours compared to the original arrival time.

A passenger was supposed to fly from Düsseldorf to Palma de Mallorca. Before departure, the passenger was informed that the original flight would be delayed by six hours. The passenger took matters into his own hands and rebooked his journey. The passenger arrived with less than three hours delay thanks to the rebooking. However, the passenger still demanded compensation. He argued that he would have been delayed by more than three hours if he had not acted.

The EU Court of Justice's assessment

The EU Court of Justice emphasized that Regulation 261/2004 aims to alleviate passengers' difficulties and serious inconveniences. It may be inconvenient for the passenger to find an alternative flight –  but if the delay is less than three hours compared to the original arrival time, it is not a serious inconvenience.

IUNO's opinion

The case demonstrates that passengers are not entitled to compensation if they rebook their own flight and arrive with less than three hours of delay. This should be seen in light of Article 6 of the Regulation on delayed departure, which does not trigger an obligation for airlines to rebook passengers.

IUNO recommends that air carriers carefully assess whether passengers who arrange their own rebooking meet the necessary criteria to be entitled to compensation.

[Ruling of the EU Court of Justice of 25 January 2024 in Case C-54/23]

A passenger was supposed to fly from Düsseldorf to Palma de Mallorca. Before departure, the passenger was informed that the original flight would be delayed by six hours. The passenger took matters into his own hands and rebooked his journey. The passenger arrived with less than three hours delay thanks to the rebooking. However, the passenger still demanded compensation. He argued that he would have been delayed by more than three hours if he had not acted.

The EU Court of Justice's assessment

The EU Court of Justice emphasized that Regulation 261/2004 aims to alleviate passengers' difficulties and serious inconveniences. It may be inconvenient for the passenger to find an alternative flight –  but if the delay is less than three hours compared to the original arrival time, it is not a serious inconvenience.

IUNO's opinion

The case demonstrates that passengers are not entitled to compensation if they rebook their own flight and arrive with less than three hours of delay. This should be seen in light of Article 6 of the Regulation on delayed departure, which does not trigger an obligation for airlines to rebook passengers.

IUNO recommends that air carriers carefully assess whether passengers who arrange their own rebooking meet the necessary criteria to be entitled to compensation.

[Ruling of the EU Court of Justice of 25 January 2024 in Case C-54/23]

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