The end of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the return to the previous flight schedule has brought upon significant challenges on the air carriers, which have reduced their capacity during the pandemic. Flight attendants have been laid off, planes have been grounded and air fleets have been downsized dramatically, and currently this shortage is creating a chaos at the air carriers which are trying to increase their capacity after the demand leap. This situation has led to the presumable question of what are the rights of passengers in cases of cancellations, flight postponement, lost luggage and in other cases that might arise?
The question of liability towards the client is complex enough when several air carriers are involved (for example, connection flights), and even more in the modern era of the internet, where clients order flight tickets via the web or in other means, from several companies in parallel instead of an operator conjoining the entire flight, and there is no electronic syncing between the orders. In addition, the confusion arises when split tickets are been issued, with no connecting flight tickets been purchased with one air carrier, or when one air carrier works with a different air carrier, leads to confusion in regards to which air carrier to approach in case of undermining conditions of the flight, lost luggage, amount of compensation, how to fill in the compensation forms and to which company the liability falls upon? This question has reached the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg , which during September 2022 has discussed the issue of whether air carriers are mandated to provide compensation to customers that have booked tickets from different air carriers, although they have been purchased separately? What happens in cases that only one leg of the journey is a connecting flight in the EU? Is there even a possibility for a refund?
In the specific case the client was a passenger travelling from the US to the EU that has bought two separate tickets for his connecting flight within the Union. The first flight departed as scheduled, while the second departed much later than expected. The customer demanded a compensation from the air carrier of the second leg of the journey, that replied that it does not fall under the scope of compensation. The Court ruled that each flight, whether departing or landing in the EU, and in cases of connecting flights outside the EU, the air-ticket falls under the scope of European regulations and in cases that clients are delayed in flights, the air-carrier cancels the flight, worsening of conditions, lost luggage and bouncing of flight classes (to the dismay of the client- not upgrading class), Union laws are valid and the client is entitled for compensation. Thus, every passenger that flies to the EU, whether it is with a direct or connecting flight, the passenger is entitled for compensation in cases of delay or worsening of conditions. Hence, in such cases, there is a need of filling in the compensation forms and it is recommended to consult with professionals. There is a deadline for the submission of the documentation, and in certain cases the amount of compensation is dependent on the flight distance and the class of travel. In these cases it is advised to attach an explanatory letter for the compensation demand and in cases of flights to and from the Union to quote the relevant EU laws to the customer service support.