Passengers can claim compensation in their national currency if a flight is cancelled or delayed
The ECJ (judgment of 3 Sep. 2020, Delfly, Case C-356/19) has ruled, in the context of the interpretation of Art. 7(1) of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation (No. 261/2004), that compensation claims may be demanded in the national currency applicable at the claimant's place of residence.
In the present case, the applicant, Ms X, booked a flight from the city of A in a third country to the city of B in Poland with the air carrier S.P., settled in Warsaw (Poland). On the day of departure, the flight was delayed by three hours. The plaintiff assigned her claim for compensation under Article 7 I(b) of the ECMR to D, a company with its registered office in Warsaw. D then brought an action before the referring court seeking an order that S. P. pay PLN 1 698.64, which, at the time of the application for compensation, was equivalent to EUR 400. The defendant requested to reject the application for compensation because contrary to the provisions of national law it had been calculated in the wrong currency, namely in Polish zlotys (PLN) and not in euros.
In support of this, the ECJ states on the one hand, that the Air Passenger Rights Regulation is intended to ensure a high level of protection for passengers, so that Article 7 of the Regulation must be interpreted broadly. Otherwise, a compensation exclusively in euros would run counter to this objective.
Additionally, it is incompatible with the principle of equal treatment of injured passengers if payment of the compensation claim were refused solely because the plaintiff requested it in the national currency applicable at his place of residence. Finally, the Passenger Rights Regulation applies to all passengers without distinguishing between them based on nationality or place of residence. This is supported by Article 3(I)(a) and (b) of the regulation, which considers only the place where the airport, from which the passengers departed, is located to be decisive for the applicability of the regulation.
The ECJ's ruling is to be welcomed. Any other outcome would run counter to the main objective of a high level of passenger protection pursued by the regulation. Moreover, it is common knowledge that not all EU states have introduced the euro. It is not comprehensible why the compensation claim should then be settled exclusively in euros.
Read more: https://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=230610&pageIndex=0&doclang=de&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=18330547
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