Air passengers will be able to claim compensation if airline staff stage sudden industrial action, a court has ruled.
The European Court of Justice has decided that flight delays and cancellations caused by sudden ‘wildcat’ strikes are claimable under EU 261 following a case involving Tui’s German airline and a German passenger.
The claim dated back to 2016, when a series of deliberate absences following a company restructuring caused many Tuifly flights to be cancelled or delayed more than three hours.
Judges in Hanover and Dusseldorf asked the European Court to determine whether such industrial action constituted ‘extraordinary circumstances’ – the get-out clause airlines can use to avoid paying compensation.
The ruling that sudden strikes by airline staff should not be classed as extraordinary circumstances will be legally binding throughout Europe and will hold precedent in UK cases. It may have ramifications for carriers like Lufthansa and British Airways, which have both suffered prolonged industrial action.
Coby Benson, solicitor at delay compensation law firm Bott and Co, said: “Airlines have argued for a long time that staff strikes are an extraordinary circumstance.
“This judgment from the European Court is the latest in a long line of cases that confirms airlines are often obliged to provide monetary compensation of up to £530 to passengers who find their travel plans severely disrupted at the last minute.”