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EU: Foreign Airlines Liable for Compensation for Flight Delays, Cancelations

The European Union’s highest court has ruled that passengers can claim compensation for delays or cancelations of flights operated by non-EU carriers if these are booked through an EU airline further strengthening passenger rights. 

With its recent decision, the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) enables passengers to request compensation for delayed or canceled flights from non-EU airlines operating flights on behalf of EU carriers.

The ruling comes in response to a case made by three passengers who booked a flight from Brussels to San Jose with Lufthansa via a travel agency. The flight was operated by United Airlines. However when the travelers arrived at their destination with a 223-minute delay they sued United in a Dutch court.

According to the ruling, the court specified that “the non-EU air carrier (United Airlines), which does not have a contract of carriage with the passengers but which operated the flight, may be liable to pay the passengers compensation”. 

Photo source: @eraaorg

In its decision regarding the case, the Court also said the operating carrier – which is obliged to compensate a passenger – also retains the right to itself seek compensation from any person or third parties.

“Passengers of a delayed flight may claim compensation from a non-EU air carrier where that carrier operates the entirety of the flight on behalf of an EU carrier,” the court said.

“The operating air carrier (United Airlines) which is obliged to compensate a passenger retains the right to seek compensation from any person, including third parties, in accordance with the applicable national law.”

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