The German Federal Court (BGH) on the obligation of an air carrier to pay compensation in case of re-booking of a flight

BGH, Urteil vom 17.03.2015, X ZR 34/14

In the present case the German Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof) examined whether an air carrier is obliged to pay compensation due to denied boarding also in cases when the passenger, who already has a booked flight, is being denied boarding to his booked flight before he could check-in at the planned time. The passengers were informed that their flight was changed and re-booked which resulted in their arriving at the planned destination six hours later as with the original flight and they should have been informed about the change in accordance with Article 5 (1) (c) (I) of the Passenger Regulation at least two weeks before the planned departure time (in the present case planned for 28th of October at 09:00 hours).

The German Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof) decided that this precondition is not fulfilled. Since the email of the travel operators was first received by the passengers on 14th of October at 20:16 hours and outside the normal office hours it could be assumed that the passengers became aware of the change no sooner than the next day. At that time the time period until the departure of the originally planned flight was less than two weeks. The German Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof) considered that from the viewpoint of the passenger the situation of a premature denial (rebooking of a flight) is similar to the annulment of a flight since in both cases the passenger is not boarded on the flight which he originally booked. Due to the need for further establishment and determination of facts regarding the booking confirmation and the content of the rebooking message the case was referred back for further deliberation.

The full text is available on EuroCases

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