You might have seen the news that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) just made a landmark decision, confirming that passengers disrupted by airline staff strikes can claim compensation.
AirHelp brought the case before the ECJ because they believed the previous situation was unclear and unjust, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this victory for air passenger rights!
What does it mean for air passengers?
Although the ECJ was ruling on one specific strike by SAS pilots in 2019, as the highest court in the EU, the decision now applies to all EU courts. Effectively clearing the way for all passengers who had flights delayed or canceled in a strike to submit a claim for compensation — so long as they meet other eligibility criteria!
The latest ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg brings much-needed certainty – and compensation – to over 370,000 passengers who were left stranded at the airport when their flights were delayed or canceled in the 2019 SAS staff strike.
In a groundbreaking decision, the ECJ confirmed that airline strikes aren’t an extraordinary circumstance and that all passengers affected deserve financial compensation – a decision that is now binding for all courts across the EU.
Here’s what you need to know:
Airlines can deny a passenger’s compensation claim if they can prove the disruption was due to extraordinary circumstances, i.e., events outside of their control.
Previously, airlines have claimed strikes fall into that category, but today the ECJ has definitely ruled that an organized strike by staff “does not fall within the concept of an extraordinary circumstance”
The court added to their ruling that the airline “cannot claim that it does not have any control over that action.”
The ruling is retrospective, so passengers affected by previous strikes can claim compensation, so long as their flight is still eligible under EU rules
Strikes from airport staff, or air traffic control, remain ineligible for compensation.
When does an airline owe money?
In case of delayed or canceled flights, or in instances of denied boarding, passengers may be entitled to financial compensation of up to $ 700 per person. The condition for this stipulates that the departure airport is within the EU, or that the airline carrying the flight is based in the EU.
Furthermore, the reason for the delay in flight operations must be caused by the airline. The right to financial compensation flight delay must be claimed within 3 years of the delayed date of the flight.
On the other hand, extraordinary circumstances such as storms or medical emergencies mean that the operating airline is exempt from the obligation to compensate air passengers.
Flight delays happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You may be entitled to as much as $ 700 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, canceled, or overbooked within the last 3 years.