German Supreme Court: air passengers entitled to compensation for missed connecting flight

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

The passengers were booked on an Iberia flight from Berlin via Madrid to San José (Costa Rica). The flight from BER to MAD was about 90 minutes delayed and the passengers therefore missed their connecting flight to SJO. They were rebooked to a flight one day later. Upon return they claimed for compensation pursuant to Reg. 261/2004.

Applying the interpretation which the CJEU had taken in its judgments "Sturgeon" and "Folkerts", the German Supreme Court (BGH) held that the passnegres have a right to compensation when they have reached their final destination 3 hrs or more after the scheduled arrival time of the flight they had booked. A delayed departure beyond the limits set in Article 6 of the Regulation is no precondition for the compensation. Moreover, it is of no relevance whether the connecting flight itsself was delayed or whether the Regulation would apply to the connecting flight at all.

The BGH thus reversed the decicions of the lower instance courts which had dismissed the claims because the passengers had not been ready for boarding of the connecting flight in due time and therefore had not been denied boarding without justified reason.

Case details: BGH judgement of May 5, 2013 in case X ZR 127/11

Source: BGH press release 083/2013 of May 5, 2013

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