Passengers returning to their home country on state-organized flights had to pay a contribution towards expenses. According to the ECJ, the money can be reclaimed under certain circumstances.
According to an opinion by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), travelers who were brought back to their home country on a state-organized flight at the beginning of the corona pandemic can, under certain circumstances, request money back.
Passengers could not get the money back for the state-organized flight, but for the actually planned return flight, said Advocate General Nicholas Emiliou in Luxembourg. Judges often, but not always, follow the opinions of Advocates General. A verdict is expected in a few months.
Couple had to pay 500 euros towards expenses
The background is the case of a married couple from Austria. The flew to Mauritius in March 2020 as part of a package tour, but the return flight was canceled by the airline due to the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The couple then returned on a flight organized by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, this flight was operated by the same airline and at the same time as the one the couple originally booked. All passengers had to pay a contribution towards expenses of 500 euros to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the flight. The couple now want their money back from the airline.
The Advocate General at the ECJ has now partially agreed with him. In such a case, the airline must compensate for the damage caused by the fact that the passengers were not informed in good time about the cancellation of the flight and their rights. In addition, the full price of the ticket must be reimbursed. If, as is the case here, it is a package tour, the Advocate General believes that the travelers could also request a price reduction because the package tour contract was not fulfilled here.
In Germany, the administrative court in Berlin ruled in two cases more than a year ago that travelers have to pay for some of the state corona return flights themselves.