Rebooking may not cost anything in case of flight cancellation


Source: pixabay/wal_172619

Rebooking may not cost anything in case of flight cancellation

After many Lufthansa flights were canceled in 2020 due to the Corona pandemic and Lufthansa charged its passengers a surcharge for rebooking, the consumer center from North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany sued the Lufthansa Group.
A customer who had booked flights from Munich to Toulouse and back at the end of March 2020 wanted to rebook for mid-July 2020. Another passenger had booked a flight from Stockholm via Frankfurt to Buenos Aires and back over Easter 2020 and wanted to change to December 2020 or even March 2021 after the cancellation of his flight. The airline had demanded a surcharge of 75 euros in the first case and 3000 euros in the second case. The lower courts at the regional court ruled in favor of Lufthansa, but now the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) has ruled that airlines are not allowed to charge their customers a surcharge for a rebooking, if it is because of a cancellation.
In Lufthansa's view, passengers had no right to specifically look for a particularly cheap flight that was no longer connected with the actual trip just because of the cancellation. The BGH judges did not follow this view and referred to the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation. According to this, in the event of a flight cancellation, travelers have the choice between reimbursement of the airfare and substitute transportation.
In the event that passengers opt for substitute transportation in the event of a cancellation, the airline must make rebooking possible without additional costs and under comparable travel conditions. Since Art. 8 I C of the Air Traffic Rights Regulation does not set any fixed limits with regard to the time for rerouting, the airline must also guarantee substitute transportation if this falls at an economically less favorable time. The only prerequisite is that there are still seats available on the new flight.

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