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Ryanair-Maschine, Bild: kamilpetran / shutterstock

Frankfurt Regional Court overturns Ryanair conditions

The German Regional Court of Frankfurt has overturned Ryanair’s controversial general terms and conditions, thus facilitating passengers’ compensation claims. The present case concerned the terms and conditions of the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair. For the Passenger processing and compensation the company allowed itself particularly long processing times. In addition, Ryanair wanted to exclude legal service providers from taking on customer claims. Compensation should only be paid directly to customers.

If this practice had prevailed, it would have meant the end of legal tech services for flight reimbursement. However, in the opinion of the Frankfurt Regional Court, all the criticized paragraphs in Ryanair’s terms and conditions violate the European Air Passenger Rights Regulation. The company could neither invoke Irish law, nor deny passengers what they consider to be the easiest way to compensation.

Brief summary of the ruling

According to a decision of the Frankfurt court on September 24, 2020, passengers on board Ryanair flights can claim compensation. They do not have to accept long processing times, nor do they have to do without the help of third parties or the assignment of their claims. The terms and conditions of the Irish airline are invalid in Germany because they violate air passenger rights under EU law.

What are the chances of an appeal?

The company announced that it would have the case decided on appeal and, if necessary, go through all instances. So it remains to be seen whether the decision will hold up in the long term. However, the ECJ has ruled in many cases relating to air passenger rights in a very consumer-friendly way. The source of the complaint about the Ryanair terms and conditions is also very serious. The present lawsuit was brought by the Wettbewerbszentrale Frankfurt, which has already been successful with similar lawsuits. In any case, the conditions for a precedent in Germany are very good.

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What does this mean for passengers?

The Frankfurt Regional Court has ruled that the terms and conditions do not allow Ryanair to disadvantage its customers in the implementation of EU regulations. According to EU Regulation 261, consumers can claim compensation in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations and delays. The latest decision means that passengers have more rights when flying from or to the EU and that they can more easily claim compensation in the event of flight delays or cancellations.

What should airlines do to comply with consumer law?

Airlines have their own terms and conditions, which we often don’t read, but when we read them, our eyes glaze over. Not only do airlines offer a basic service that allows passengers to get from A to B, but they must also meet certain requirements, such as compensation and baggage loss procedures. As a consumer, you have rights, and it is important that you know what they are. Airlines need to know their obligations under European consumer law to avoid hefty fines.

Tips for dealing with airline customer service?

If you’ve ever had to contact an airline with a complaint, you know that it can be difficult and often uncomfortable. However, there are some simple steps you can take to make dealing with customer service as painless as possible. If you notice that you are being turned down by the service, you are free to seek help from an online service provider like Flugrecht.de.