No compensation for flight delays due to riot

The ECJ has ruled: It is also extraordinary circumstances when a rioting passenger causes an unscheduled intermediate charge and thus delays the following flights. The airline doesn’t have to pay for it.

A woman stands in front of a display board listing delayed flights.

BIn the event of delays or cancellations of follow-up flights due to a rioting passenger, airlines can be exempt from the obligation to pay compensation according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice. Under certain conditions, the disruptive behavior of a passenger could constitute an “exceptional circumstance”, the Luxembourg judge decided on Thursday (Case C-74/19).

The background to this is a case in Portugal in which a passenger claims compensation from an airline due to a long delay. However, the airline claims that in this case “exceptional circumstances” existed and therefore it does not have to pay any compensation. The reason for the delay is that the machine had to make an unplanned stopover on the previous flight because of a rioting passenger.

The Luxembourg judges now support this argument. However, they stress that this does not apply if the company itself contributed to the passenger’s behavior or if there were indications of this prior to boarding. In addition, they must use all means at their disposal to enable an earlier promotion.