A series of strikes by the cabin crew union of German airline Lufthansa, which lasted for three days from November 6 to November 9 in 2019, caused hundreds of thousands of passengers to lose their flights.
After two years, although these passengers are entitled to compensation in accordance with EU laws relating to air passenger rights, they have not yet received compensation, TheSchengen.com.
According to AirHelp, part of the Travelers’ Rights Advocates Association (APRA), whose mission is to promote and protect passenger rights, 1,650 flights have been canceled due to the strikes, forcing some 214,000 passengers to change or abandon their travel plans. .
“Despite clear EU laws that give passengers the right to claim up to $700 (€600) per person for this type of disruption, Lufthansa has so far refused to pay thousands of passengers, including as many as 4,500 who have contacted AirHelp For support,” AirHelp notes.
However, the airline refused to compensate these passengers, arguing that the strikes were classified as “exceptional circumstances”, for which EU law provides for an exception. This means that when passenger flights are canceled or delayed due to exceptional circumstances, airlines have the right not to compensate them.
The decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), in the case of Scandinavian airline SAS’s refusal to compensate its passengers who lost flights due to a strike by airline employees, however, does not classify the strikes as an unusual circumstance.
“We took the matter to court, and ended up referring the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU’s highest authority. On March 23, 2021, the court delivered its verdict: AirHelp was right, airline staff strikes are not an exceptional circumstance, and passengers are entitled to claim compensation,” says AirHelp, drawing a parallel line between the two issues.
He also argues that the ECJ ruling made it clear that employee strikes cannot be considered an exceptional circumstance.
According to TheSchengen.com, a passenger is entitled to a flight delay compensation, which ranges from €250 to €600 per passenger, depending on the distance of the next flight.
Passengers can also check if they are entitled to compensation and how much the airline owes them by checking AirHelp eligibility. The auditor only asks:
Final destination Point of departure Any connecting flights Flight date Flight number Airline delay time (if flight is only delayed) How long the airline announced in advance the reason for delay/cancellation for interruption
In a guide on how to claim compensation for flight delays or cancellations in Europe, TheSchengen.com indicates that the flight must either be within the EU, arrive in the EU, or depart from an EU country.
In order for travelers to be entitled to compensation, the same must meet some other criteria, according to EU laws. The passenger must also apply for compensation, as automatic compensation is not implemented.