08 Jun Have a claim about a flight connecting outside of Europe? You’re still covered by EU regulations!
A recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling has provided the first practical example of flights, connecting in non-EEA airports and non-EEA carriers with their first leg departing in an EEA airport, also being covered by the EU regulation that protects the rights of air travellers making it possible for passengers with such itineraries to put forward flight claims.
The ruling by ECJ was the final word in a long legal battle between a German air passenger travelling from Berlin to Agadir (Morocco). He was denied boarding during his non-EEA transfer in Casablanca (Morocco), and as a consequence arrived in Agadir four hours later, which is a long enough delay over the specific travel distance for the right to compensation to be exercised. His claim was refused on the basis that the flight is not covered by EU regulations as the second leg is outside of the EEA.
The regional court dealing with the case then forwarded the matter to the ECJ, which interpreted the regulation to cover the flight concerned. Their argument was, that a single reservation with the departure airport being located in an EEA country and the destination in a non-EEA one must be within the scope of the regulation, with a stopover bearing no influence on the passengers eligibility for compensation. This is valid regardless of a change of aircraft at the place of the connection, in this case Casablanca.
By referencing this ruling, passengers suffering delay, denied boarding or cancellation will be compensated for their misadventures, even if they have to take their case to court, if the airline initially rejects the claim. It remains to be seen, whether a return flight booked as part of a return trip with the first leg departing from an EEA airport could be treated in the same way, as there have been no precedent so far of an ECJ ruling in such a case.
This also widens the scope of the claims handled by FlightClaimEU, as it will accept such claims from here going forward – this is a great opportunity for claimants, as such flights are typically longer than 1500 kilometres long which means that the compensation ranges from 400 to 600 Euros excluding the coverage for extra expenses.