In the air transport area, the general obligation of the airline to pay compensation to the passenger for damage caused by delay is known, as long as the delay is of a certain extent, provided by international conventions and European regulations.

Less known is certainly the principle recently expressed by the European Court of Justice with the judgment of 12 March 2020, relating to Case C-832/18, according to which the airline has the obligation to compensate the passenger for the delay of the replacement flight of the first cancelled flight , when traveling always with the same airline.

 It often happens that, in case of cancellation of a flight, the airline offers the passenger the possibility of using a subsequent flight instead of the first flight to reach the scheduled destination.

The problem of compensation for delay damage to passengers has also been raised in relation to these "alternative" flights, given the opposition of airlines to compensate for this type of damage.

Well, with the recent judgment mentioned above, the European Court of Justice offered an extensive interpretation of Article 7 paragraph 1 of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 (establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or long delay of flights) stating that "it must be interpreted as meaning that an air passenger who has been compensated for the cancellation of a flight and has accepted the alternative flight offered to him, may require him to be compensated for the delay in the alternative flight,  where such delay has lasted for a sufficient number of hours to give the right to compensation, as long as the air carrier of the alternative flight is the same as that of the cancelled flight".

This decision is in line with the recent rulings of the European judge, in which it increasingly intends in favour of the passenger in case of inconvenience in the air transport area.

Obviously, each case must be carefully assessed by verifying the presence of the legal requirements and the timing of the facts (in case of air delay, the delay must be correctly quantified from a temporal point of view).


Milano, 1 July 2020 



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