The EU’s top court has ruled airlines don’t need to compensate passengers if a flight is delayed by one person biting another, as it is an “extraordinary circumstance”.
Last week, the European Court of Justice made its ruling after a customer sued Portuguese airline TAP over his flight being delayed – in this incident due to a passenger biting another.
Reuters reported that the court has called on carriers to ensure passengers are rerouted as soon as possible, either through direct or indirect flights on other airlines, to absolve themselves from such claims.
“The unruly behaviour of an air passenger may constitute an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ capable of exempting the carrier from its obligation to pay compensation for the cancellation or long delay of the flight concerned, or of a subsequent flight operated by that carrier using the same aircraft,” judges said, as reported by Reuters.
The ruling came after a traveller had sued TAP Air Portugal for compensation after the departure of his flight from Brazil to Portugal in August 2017 was delayed, which reportedly caused him to miss a connecting flight to Norway.
According to Reuters, the TAP plane left Brazil late because it had been diverted on its way there to disembark a passenger who was “biting other people on board” and assaulting crew members.
The court said re-routing the passenger on the next flight operated by TAP was a “reasonable measure” that released the airline from its obligation to pay cash compensation – even if the passenger arrived a day after his initial schedule.
TAP told Reuters the flight arrived late in Lisbon, as it had used the same plane that was diverted to disembark the “violent passenger” on its way to Brazil and it was impossible to send another aircraft on time.
Travel Weekly has contacted TAP for further comment.
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