A diverted flight is no reason for compensation, says EU Court

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Airlines are not obliged to compensate passengers if a flight is diverted and lands at a different airport than initially planned, the EU’s top court ruled on Thursday, after a customer sued Austrian Airlines over such an incident.

However, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said the carrier must offer to cover the cost of a transfer either to the original destination airport or to another nearby destination agreed with the passenger.

“The diversion of a flight to an airport serving the same town, city or region does not grant the passenger a right to compensation for cancellation of a flight,” judges said.

The ruling came after a customer sued Austrian Airlines for 250 euros ($301) in 2019 after his flight landed in Schoenefeld airport outside Berlin with a delay of nearly an hour instead of the city’s central Tegel airport.

Austrian Airlines offered the passenger neither transport nor payment for the cost of travel between the two airports.

The flight was delayed due to bad weather.

The court said a passenger may be entitled to compensation when a flight is delayed by more than three hours, unless it is due to an “extraordinary circumstance,” according to EU law.

Photo: The sign of the Court of Justice of the European Union at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND