Germany

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Germany: two new Supreme Court decisions on air passenger rights

On March 17, 2015 the German Supreme Court (BGH) has passed two judgements with regard to Regulation (EC) 216/2004.

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German court: tour organizer not entitled to a general cancellation fee of 90 percent of the package price in case of no-show

According to the General Conditions of Contract of a German tour organizer, consumers had to pay a cancellation fee of 90 percent of the full package price if they didn't show up at departure. The cancellation fee applied regardless of the character of the package (air package, round trip, hotel and rental car) with the only exception of cruises to which a cancellation fee of even 100 percent applied.

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CJEU: computerised booking systems must, from the outset, indicate the final price of each flight ticket

The German Federal Union of Consumer Organisations and Associations was challenging before the German courts the way in which air fares were presented in Air Berlin’s computerised booking system, as configured in November 2008: Once the date and airports of departure and arrival had been selected, the booking system displayed a table of possible connections. The final price per person, however, was indicated only for the connection pre-selected by Air Berlin or clicked on by the customer, and not for every connection shown.

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German Supreme Court regards Lufthansa's frequent flyer terms and conditions lawful

The Plaintiff was a participant of Lufthansa's frequent flyer programme ("Miles & More") terms and conditions of which state that  air tickets aquired under the programme must not be transferred to any third persons unless this person had a tight personal relationship to the participant. Nevertheless, the plaintiff booked air tickets on behalf of a third person who he had no personal relation to using his bonus "miles". Lufthansa therefore terminated plaintiff's participation in the programme and cancelled his HON Circle Member status.

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German Supreme Court: general strike or breakdown of the radar system qualify as "extraordinary circumstances"

The German Supreme Court (BGH) recently decided two cases related to flight delays.

In the first case, the plaintiff's flight from Frankfurt/Main to Menorca was delayed more than 3 hrs because of a general strike in Greece which affected the previous circulation of the aircraft. The return flight to Frankfurt was also delayed more than 3 hrs because of a breakdown of the radar system in the Greek airspace which, again, delayed the arrival of the aircraft from a previous circulation.

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More references for CJEU prelimiary ruling on Air Passenger Rights Regulation lodged by German courts

With regard to Reg. EC No 261/2004 (" Air Passenger Rights Regulation") the follwowing issues have recently been referred to the CJEU by German courts:

1. Reference of Feb. 4, 2014 by Landgericht Hannover  (C-79/14 - TUIfly):

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German Court: air carrier liable for allergic reaction to hot towel

In a recent judgement the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main held that an air carrier was liable for a passenger's allergic reaction to the hot towels distributed during the flight. In October 2010, the plaintiff traveled on a fligth from India to Germany. She told one of the flight attendants that the hot towels could cause an allergic reaction of her body and asked not to distribute these towels during the flight. Despite this request, the towels were distributed and the plaintiff suffered from a respiatory distress which required immediate medical treatment after landing.

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German Supreme Court (BGH) asks CJEU for preliminary ruling in air ticket pricing case

According to Article 23(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community, air fares and air rates available to the general public shall include the applicable conditions when offered or published in any form, including on the Internet, for air services from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies.

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CJEU: a Member State must not require an air carrier licensed in another Member State to obtain permission to enter its airspace

International Jet Management, an airline company with its seat in Austria, operated private flights from Moscow and Ankara to Germany without having the authorisation, required by the German legislation, to enter German airspace. In criminal proceedings against International Jet Management, the German Apellate Court (Oberlandesgericht Braunschweig) filed a request for preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In its judgement of March 18, 2014, the Grand Chamber of the Court came to the following conclusion:

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German Supreme Court: tour organizer must not reserve alterations of the flying times

Upon law suit filed by a federal consumer association, the German Supreme Court has regarded contractual provisions unfair and illegal which allowed the tour organizer to alter the flying times. The "General Conditions of Contract" of the defendant had contained the following provision:

"Final flying times will be communicated by the organzier in the travel vouchers. Any information on flying times provided by a travel agent is not binding."

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