In Luxembourg today, the European Court of Justice rejected two applications by airlines to avoid paying compensation for delayed flights, and said: “The Court of Justice has confirmed its previous ruling that passengers whose flights have been delayed for a long time may be compensated.”
The court, ruling in a case involving Lufthansa and another involving TUI Travel, British Airways, easyJet and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said that travellers deserved to be recompensed for delays of more than three hours, reaffirming a right established in 2009 in a case involving Air France. Passengers on flights starting or ending in the European Union are entitled to between €250 and €600 for delayed or cancelled flights under EU rules.
However, the court also said that travellers would not be entitled to compensation if the airline could prove that the delay was caused by circumstances beyond its control.
In the Lufthansa case, passengers sued the airline for compensation in a German court after a flight delay of more than 24 hours. Judges subsequently sought advice from the ECJ.
In the second case, IATA, British Airways, easyJet and TUI Travel challenged the UK Civil Aviation Authority after it rejected their request to be exempted from paying for flight delays. British judges then asked the Court of Justice in Luxembourg for guidance.
Earlier this month, the ECJ ordered airlines to compensate travellers whom they bumped off flights because of strikes, saying that was not a good enough excuse not to pay up.