Airlines must allow free rebooking of cancelled flights: German court

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An airline is not allowed to charge extra in Germany if customers want to rebook a cancelled flight at a later date, provided there are seats available, the country's top court said in a ruling published on Tuesday, reported dpa.

The case was brought forward to the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe by a consumer association after Lufthansa had cancelled numerous flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

A customer who had booked return flights from Munich to Toulouse at the end of March 2020 wanted to rebook for mid-July 2020. Another passenger had booked flights from Stockholm via Frankfurt to Buenos Aires and back over Easter 2020 and wanted to rebook for December 2020 or March 2021 after his flight had been cancelled.

The airline had demanded a surcharge of €75 in the first case and €3,000 in the second case.

The replacement flight requested by the affected passengers did not have to be in temporal connection with the originally booked flight, the court ruled, thus upholding the consumer association's argument.

Lufthansa, on the other hand, had argued that there should be no arbitrary and free right to rebook. It had been successful in the lower courts but has now failed before the top court.

  •  Airlines
  •  free rebooking
  •  German court


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