European court clarifies the right for reimbursement

An airline ticket can be purchased directly from an airline or through an intermediary, such as a travel agency or booking website. An intermediary usually charges an additional fee aside from the ticket price for their mediating role. Does a passenger have the right to reimbursement of this part of the ticket price if the flight is cancelled? The European Court made a statement to clarify this issue.

European court clarifies the right for reimbursement, ECC Netherlands

Ticket price

The Harms family bought six tickets using the booking website for a flight from Hamburg (Germany) to Faro (Portugal). The flight would have been operated by Vueling Airlines. The total amount the family paid Opodo was € 1,108.88. The amount that Opodo paid Vueling was € 1,031.88. € 77 mediation costs were charged to the family.

Refunds for cancelled flights

Vueling’s flight was cancelled and the family requested a refund for the total amount that was paid to Opodo. However, Vueling was only willing to reimburse the amount they had received from Opodo. The remaining € 77 was not part of the ticket price according to Vueling. Who has the right of it?

Statement of the European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice ruled that an airline, in the event of flight cancellation, has to either pay the passenger the amount that the ticket was bought for or offer an alternative flight. The amount of money to be reimbursed to the passenger includes the commission collected by the intermediary, unless this commission was set without the knowledge of the airline.

Read the complete statement C-601/17 on the website of the European Course of Justice.