European Regulation No. 261/2004 regulates the liability of air carriers in the event of flight disruptions. This European text contains a detailed list of the duties and obligations of airlines towards their passengers and sets up a system of flat-rate compensation to ensure fundamental protection in the event of delay, cancellation of overbooking or denied boarding.
Depending on the circumstances and the conditions set out in the Regulations, the passenger is entitled to compensation, the amount of which can vary between € 250 and € 600 per person.
The amount of this compensation varies, in particular, depending on the distance of the flight.
if the flight distance is less than 1500 km, compensation is € 250 for a delayed flight.
if the distance is between 1500 km and 3500 km, or more than 1500 km for intra-community flights, the compensation is €400.
if the distance is more than 3500 km, passengers can get compensation of €600.
The CJEU has very recently (29 July 2019) had to consider the scope of Article 12 of Regulation (EC) no 261/2004 entitled “Supplementary Compensation” which provides in paragraph 1 :
“This Regulation shall apply without prejudice to a passenger’s right to additional compensation. Compensation granted under this Regulation may be deducted from such compensation. »
The facts of this air case are devoid of any originality.
Two passengers arrive at the airport and learn that they cannot board due to a lack of available seats. The passengers were then re-routed by the same carrier (Blue Air) four days later when they had to return to work four days earlier.
Pursuant to Regulation (EC) no 261/2004 on compensation for delays, the two passengers were compensated up to a flat rate of EUR 400 per person.
The victims sued the carrier Blue Air before the Judiciară Bacău (court of first instance of Bacău, Romania). Before the national judges, they requested that Blue Air be ordered to pay them 437 euros and 386 euros respectively as material damage, resulting from withholding wages.
The European magistrates referred to a question for a preliminary ruling had to decide the issue related to the assumption by the air carrier of the economic damage (loss of wages, loss of earnings).
The late passengers won the case :
“(() First, Article 7 (1) (b) of Regulation (EC) no 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 laying down common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of refusal to board and cancellation or significant delay of a flight, and repealing Regulation (EEC) no 295/91, must be interpreted as meaning that the amount provided for in that provision is not intended to compensate for such as a loss of salary, second, that damage may be the subject of the additional compensation provided for in Article 12 (1) of Regulation no 261/2004, and thirdly, it is for the national court to determine and assess the various elements constituting that damage, and the extent of the compensation thereof, on the relevant legal basis “.
The production of pay slips mentioning the withholding applied by the employer must, a priori, be sufficient to justify the reality of the withholding and therefore the right to compensation for this item of the prejudice now compensable by the air carrier.
Note that if the deduction is lower than the packages provided for by the Regulation, it must logically be included in the package purchased by the passenger.