Luxembourg (dpa) – Passengers can once again rely on the supreme court of the EU – they are usually entitled to compensation even if their connection has been canceled due to a strike by the cabin crew.
There are only exceptions in limited individual cases, according to a judgment of the European Court of Justice published on Wednesday. A consumer had sued who demanded 250 euros because his flight from Salzburg to Berlin was canceled due to a strike (Case C – 613 / 20).
The rights of passengers and, above all, how much compensation they are entitled to in the event of deviations, has been regulated quite clearly by the EU: In principle, travelers have the option to demand up to 250 euros for short flights if your connection is canceled or severely delayed and no reasonable alternative is offered. This applies to flights under 1500 kilometers, for longer distances the compensation amount increases to up to 600 euros.
There are, however some exceptions, for example if passengers are informed at least two weeks in advance, or – as Eurowings believes in this case – an “exceptional circumstance” is asserted. According to the relevant EU regulation, this is the case if the circumstances for the cancellation “could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken”.
The airline Eurowings had failed claim that the company took all these “reasonable measures” to limit the impact of the strike. The highest European court takes the view, however, that it is foreseeable that if a parent company calls for a strike, employees of other parts of the group will join this strike Working conditions strike, “not claiming that it has no influence on these measures”. He “basically has the means to prepare for it and, if necessary, to absorb its consequences so that the events remain manageable for him to a certain extent.”
Eurowings said that it was “regretfully accepted Knowledge that the European Court of Justice did not follow our view in its judgment today ». The reasons for the judgment will be analyzed in detail. The Bundesverband der Deutschen Luftverkehrswirtschaft (BDL) is of the opinion that the judgment does not make it clear that a strike cannot be an exceptional circumstance under any circumstances. The association demanded that the EU air passenger rights regulation should be changed so that strikes are considered exceptional circumstances.
Politicians from the Greens and Left welcomed the court decision. The European parliamentarian Rasmus Andresen (Greens) criticized, however, that the dispute had to be resolved in court at all. “We see it again and again that airlines avoid implementing the law.” Left-wing politician Jörg Cezanne also sees the ruling strengthening the rights of workers, who could now lend more weight to their demands in the event of a strike. At the time, it was said that an airline could not argue that a strike was an exceptional circumstance, especially if it complied with applicable law. If the industrial action was limited to enforcing, for example, salary increases or better working hours, this would be “part of the normal conduct of the business of this company” (Case C – 28 / 20).
The background was a dispute from Scandinavia at the time. In this case, too, a traveler wanted compensation in the amount of 250 euros because a flight from Malmö to Stockholm planned for April 2019 on the same day because of a Pilots’ strike in Norway, Sweden and Denmark was canceled. According to the ECJ, more than 4000 flights had been canceled due to the several days of work stoppage, of which just under 400 000 Guests were affected.