Flight Compensation Leading Cases2021-02-19T18:53:36+00:00

EC261 Case Law database to 31/12/2020

EC No 261/2004 (EC261) as amended by  The Air Passengers Rights and Air Travel Organisers Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (APR)

In the UK we have a Common Law system sometimes called Case law. A Precedent or an Authority establishes a principle or rule to be followed when deciding later cases. When a case is decided by a higher court this establishes a Binding Precedent on the lower courts and must be followed by that court.  When a matter is decided by a higher court that establishes important legal principle or forms new law this is called a Landmark Decision. Below we have gathered Landmark Decisions to assist an litigator put together their Case listing the name of the case and the decision followed by a link to the full Court ruling.

To help you find your Precedent we now list the case number which start at 1 for the oldest case. Then in the next column we have shown a few key words which serve as a short reference as to the finding on a particular case.

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How to use this guide:

See the summary below.  The cases are listed in chronological order. If you want more information on for example Case 1 skip to the table below and find Case 1 listed under the name of the Case.  If you want to dig further in most cases there is a link to the full reported case.  We hope you find this register useful.  If you would like our help. Please email info@flightdelaypay.com.

Year: 2008

Name of the case: Shenkel -v- Emirates (C-173/07) – 10 July 2008

Findings:

“The concept of “flight” within the meaning of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as consisting essentially in an air transport operation, being as it were a “unit” of such transport, performed by an air carrier which fixes its itinerary”

The Court stated that a return flight is a separate flight from the outbound flight. In case the return flight does not originate in the EU and is not operated by an EU carrier, it is not subject to the Regulation.

Source:

[Link]

Year: 2008

Name of the case:

Wallentin Hermann -v- Alitalia (C-549/07) – 22 December 2008

Findings:

Technical faults not extraordinary circumstances unless…
“problem stems from events which, by their nature or origin, are not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier concerned and are beyond its control.”

The Court has clarified further that a technical problem which comes to light during aircraft maintenance or is caused by failure to maintain an aircraft cannot be regarded as ‘extraordinary circumstances’. The CJEU clarified that even a technical problem which has occurred unexpectedly, is not attributable to poor maintenance and is not detected during routine maintenance checks, does not fall within the definition of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ when it is inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier. For instance, a breakdown which was caused by the premature malfunction of certain components of an aircraft may constitute an unexpected event. Nevertheless, such a breakdown remains intrinsically linked to the very complex operating system of the aircraft, which is operated by the air carrier in conditions, particularly meteorological conditions, which are often difficult or even extreme, it being understood moreover that no component of an aircraft lasts forever. Therefore, it must be held that unexpected event is inherent in the normal exercise of the air carrier’s activity. However, a hidden manufacturing defect revealed by the manufacturer of the aircraft or by a competent authority, or damage to the aircraft caused by acts of sabotage or terrorism may constitute extraordinary circumstances.

Source: [Link]

Year: 2009

Name of the case:

Rehder -v- Air Baltic Corporation (Case C-204/08) [2009] I.L.Pr. 44 – 9 July 2009

Findings:

The Court held that a passenger claiming compensation could do so in Member State of departure or arrival of the aircraft.

Source: [Link]

Year: 2009

Name of the case:

Sturgeon -v- Condor Flugdienst GmbH (C402/07) and Bock and Lepuschitz -v- Air France (C-432/07) – 19 November 2009

Findings:

A long delay entitles passengers to the same compensation as in the case of a flight cancellation: the passenger is entitled to compensation if he reaches his/her final destination with a delay of three hours or more. Such a delay does not, however, entitle passengers to compensation if the air carrier can prove that the long delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of the air carrier.

Source: [Link]

Year: 2011

Name of the case:

Sanghvi -v-Cathay Pacific Airways [2012] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 46 – 10 May 2011

Findings:

“Para [37] of Schenkel makes it tolerably clear,  that article 3 connects the liability of an air carrier to either (a) a flight departing from the territory of a member state where denial of boarding will have taken place on the soil of that territorial basis for the application of the regulation to the denial of boarding by a carrier.”

Regulation only applicable to component parts so a denial of boarding claim cannot be allowed since the claim arose outside the EU Claim made up of multiple flights.

Year: 2011

Name of the case:

Eglitis -v- Latvijas Republikas Ekonomikas Ministrija/Air Baltic (Intervener) (C-294/10) – 12 May 2011

Findings:

“In view of the foregoing, the answer to the questions is that Article 5(3) of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that an air carrier, since it is obliged to implement all reasonable measures to avoid extraordinary circumstances, must reasonably, at the stage of organising the flight, take account of
the risk of delay connected to the possible occurrence of such circumstances. It must, consequently, provide for a certain reserve time to allow it, if possible, to operate the flight in its entirety once the extraordinary circumstances have come to an end. However, that provision cannot be interpreted as requiring, as a “reasonable measure”, provision to be made, generally and without distinction, for a minimum reserve time applicable in the same way to all air carriers in all situations when extraordinary circumstances arise. The assessment of the ability of the air carrier to operate the programmed flight in its entirety in the new conditions resulting from the occurrence of those circumstances must be carried out in such a way as to ensure that the length of the required reserve time does not result in the air carrier being led to make intolerable sacrifices in the light of the capacities of its undertaking at the relevant time. Article 6(1) of that regulation is not applicable in the context of such an assessment.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2011

Name of the case:

Rodriguez and Others -v- Air France SA (Case C-83/10) – 13 October 2011

Findings:

“cancellation , as defined in Article 2(1) of Regulation No 261/2004 , must be interpreted as meaning that, in a situation such as that at issue in the main proceedings, it does not refer only to the situation in which the aeroplane in question fails to take off at all, but also covers the case in which that aeroplane took off but, for whatever reason, was subsequently forced to return to the airport of departure where the passengers of that aeroplane were transferred onto other flights.”

“the meaning of” further compensation” used in Article 12 of Regulation No 261/2004, allows the national court to award compensation, under the conditions provided for by the Montreal Convention or national law, for damage, including nonmaterial damage, arising from breach of a contract of carriage by air. On the other hand, that meaning of “further compensation” may not be the legal basis for the national court to order an air carrier to reimburse to passengers whose flight has been delayed or cancelled the expenses the latter have had to incur because of the failure of that carrier to fulfil its obligations to assist and provide care under Article 8 and Article 9 of Regulation No 261/2004.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2012

Name of the case:

Nelson -v- Lufthansa C-581/10 and Tui, BA, EasyJet and IATA -v- CAA (C-629/10) – 23 October 2012

Findings:

“Articles 5 to 7 of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that passengers whose flights are delayed are entitled to compensation under that regulation where they suffer, on account of such flights, a loss of time equal to or in excess of three hours, that is, where they reach their final destination three hours or more after the arrival time originally scheduled by the air carrier.”

Such a delay does not, however, entitle passengers to compensation if the air carrier can prove that the long delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of the air carrier.”
“The loss of time inherent in a flight delay, which constitutes an inconvenience within the meaning of Regulation No 261/2004 and cannot be categorised as “damage occasioned by delay” within the meaning of Article 19 of the Montreal Convention, cannot come within the scope of Article 29 of that convention Consequently, the obligation under Regulation No 261/2004 intended to compensate passengers whose flights are subject to a long delay is compatible with Article 29 of the Montreal Convention.”

In this judgment, the Court confirms the previous judgment (Sturgeon) with regard to delay compensation. In addition, the Court finds that the requirement to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed is compatible with the Montreal Convention. The Court finds that the loss of time inherent in a flight delay constitutes an inconvenience, rather than “damage”, is not governed by the Montreal Convention. Consequently, the obligation to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed falls outside the scope of that convention and remains additional to the system for damages laid down by it.

Source: [Link]

Year: 2012

Name of the case:

Finnair Oyj -v- Lazzooy (Case C-22/11) – 4 October 2012

Findings:

“the concept of “denied Boarding” within the meaning of Articles 29j) and 4 of Regulation No 261/2004, must be interpreted as relating not only to cases where boarding is denied because of overbooking but also to those where boarding is denied on other grounds, such as operational reasons.”

“Articles 2(j) and 4(3) of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning rescheduling flights after those circumstances arose cannot give grounds for denying boarding on those later flights or for exempting that carrier from its obligation, under Article 4(3) of that regulation, to compensate a passenger to whom it denies boarding on such a flight.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2012

Name of the case:

Rodriguez Cachafeiro -v- Iberia, Lineas Aereas de Espana SA (Case C-321/11) -4 October 2012

Findings:

“Article 2(j) of RegulationNo 261/2004, read in conjunction with Article 3(2) of that regulation, must be interpreted as meaning that concept of “denied boarding” includes a situation where, in the context of a single contract of carriage involving a number of reservations on immediately connecting flights and a single check-in, an air carrier denies boarding to some passengers on the ground that the first flight included in their reservation has been subject to a delay attributable to that carrier and the latter mistakenly expected those passengers not to arrive in time to board the second flight.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2012

Name of the case:

Cuadrench More -v- Koniinklijke Luchvaart Maatschappij N.V. (C-139/11) – 22 November 2012

Findings:

The time limit for bringing a claim under EC261/2004 is a matter for national law, because the provisions for compensation contained in EC261/2004 fall outside the terms of the Convention.

Source: [Link]

Year: 2013

Name of the case:

McDonagh -v- Ryanair Ltd (Case C-12/11) – 31 January 2013

Findings:

“Article 5 of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that circumstances such as the closure of part of European airspace as a result of the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano constitute “extraordinary circumstances” within the meaning of that regulation which do not release air carriers from their obligation laid down in Articles 5(1)(b) and 9 of the regulation to provide care.”

“Articles 5(1)(b) and 9 of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning duration such as that in the main proceedings, the obligation to provide care to air passengers laid down in those provisions must be complied with, and the validity of those provisions is not affected. However, an air passenger may only obtain, by way of compensation for the failure of the air carrier to comply with its obligation referred to in Articles 5(1)(b) and 9 of Regulation No 261/2004 to provide care, reimbursement of the amounts which, in the light of the specific circumstances of each case, proved necessary, appropriate and reasonable to make up for the shortcomings of the air carrier in the provision of care to that passenger, a matter which is for the national court to assess.”

In the event of cancellation of a flight, the air carrier is obliged to provide care to passengers as well as to provide compensation. As regards the obligation to provide care, the air carrier must provide free of charge, in light of the waiting time, refreshments, meals and, where appropriate, hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and place of accommodation, as well as means of communication with third parties. The air carrier is obliged to fulfil that obligation even when the cancellation of the flight is caused by extraordinary circumstances, that is to say circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. The air carrier is, however, exempt from its obligation to provide compensation if it is able to prove that the cancellation of the flight was caused by such circumstances.

Source: [Link]

Year: 2013

Name of the case:

Folkerts -v- Air France (C-11/11) – 23 February 2013

Findings:

“Article 7 of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that compensation is payable, on the basis of that article, to a passenger on directly connecting flights who has been delayed at departure for a period below the limits specified in Article 6 of that regulation, but has arrived at his final destination at least three hours later than the scheduled arrival time, given that the compensation in question is not conditional upon there having been a delay at departure and, thus, upon the conditions set out in Article 6 having been met.”

“The opposite approach would constitute an unjustified difference in treatment, inasmuch as it would effectively treat passengers of flights arriving at their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time differently depending on whether their flights were delayed beyond the scheduled departure time by more than the limits set out in Article 6 of Regulation No 261/2004, even though their inconvenience linked to an irreversible loss of time is identical.”

“The amount of compensation, fixed at EUR 250, 400 and 600 depending on the distance of the flights concerned, may still be reduced by 50% in accordance with Article 7(2)(c) of Regulation No 261/2004, where the delay is in the case of a flight not falling under subparagraphs (a) or (b) of Article 7(2) less than four hours.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2013

Name of the case:

Frederique Jager v easyjet Airline Limited 16 September 2013

Findings:

This is a case brought by Bott&co in the County Court of Macclesfield on 16th September 2013.  Deputy District Judge Benson that weather conditions affecting a previous flight does not fall under the airline’s defence of extraordinary circumstances.

Year: 2014

Name of the case:

Huzar -v- Jet2.com [2014] EWCA Civ 791 – 11 June 2014

Findings:

“Difficult technical problems arise as a matter of course in the ordinary operation of the carrier’s activity. Some may be foreseeable and some not but all are, in my view, properly described as inherent in the normal exercise of the carrier’s activity. They have their nature and origin in that activity; they are part of the wear and tear.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2014

Name of the case:

Dawson -v- Thomson Airways [2015] 1 WLR 883 – 19 June 2014

Findings:

Obligations under 261/04 fall outside the scope of the Montreal Convention 1999 and this has no application to the claim including the two year time limit for bringing a claim.

Source: [Link]

Year: 2014

Name of the case:

Germanwings GmbH -v- Ronny Henning (Case C-452/13) – 4 September 2014

Findings:

“The concept of “arrival time” which is used to determine the length of the delay to which passengers on a flight have been subject, corresponds to the time at which at least one of the doors of the aircraft is opened, the assumption being that, at that moment, the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2014

Name of the case:

Siewert and Other -v- Condor Fulgienst (Case C-394/14) – 14 November 2014

Findings:

“Article 5(3) of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that a situation where, as in the case before the referring court, an airport’s set of mobile boarding stairs collides with an aircraft cannot be categorised as “extraordinary circumstances “ exempting the air carrier from its obligation to pay the passengers compensation in the event of a long delay to a flight operated by that aircraft.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2015

Name of the case:

Van der Lans -v- Koniinklijke Luchvaart Maatschappij N.V. (C-257/14) – 17 September 2015

Findings:

“Even in the event of a flight cancellation on account of unforeseen technical problems, air carriers are required to compensate passengers. However, certain technical problems resulting, in particular, from hidden manufacturing defects affecting the safety of flights or acts of sabotage or terrorism may exempt air carriers from their obligation to pay compensation.”

Source: [Link]

Year: 2015

Name of the case:

Sandra Jean Dunbar v easyjet Airline Limited 30th October 2015 2015SCPA170

Findings:

“Everything reasonably possible” Here it was found that despite extraordinary circumstances caused a delay to the incoming flight because of the delay the claim flight was a valid claim and extraordinary circumstances no longer applied”

Source: [Link]