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Airlines should pay for some strike delays

Court ruling boosts rights to compensation

Airport sign directing travellers to the terminal.

A European Court of Justice ruling has boosted consumers’ rights when they are hit by delays or cancellations caused by strikes.

The ruling against Finnair said that airlines should pay compensation to customers if they are denied boarding as a result of a strike the day after the strike takes place.

The court made its ruling after a passenger sued Finnair for bumping him off a flight from Barcelona to Helsinki two days after a strike took place at Barcelona airport. He was put on a later flight the same day. 

Compensation for strikes

Finnair argued it did not have to pay compensation because the passenger was bumped off his flight as a result of the strike, which was an ‘extraordinary circumstance’. 

Airlines are not obliged to pay compensation under European regulations for delays or cancellations caused by extraordinary circumstance out of their control.

But the court ruled that a strike was an extraordinary circumstance only on the day it took place. The delay caused to this passenger by Finnair was the result of the airline choosing to reallocate his seat, it said.

More on this…

  • Find out what you’re entitled to for flight delays and cancellations
  • Make sure you know all your travel rights
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