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Flight Delays and Compensation in France

Friday 04 December 2020

A French court has ruled that a passenger does not have to produce a boarding card to be entitled to compensation.

Under European law, passengers whose flight is either cancelled or delayed, can, on specific conditions, claim compensation from the airline.

These laws will apply after Brexit, provided it is an EU airline, for flights arriving in the EU from outside the EU, and for departures from outside the EU to a non-EU country.

If your flight is delayed at departure, and you arrived at your final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, you are entitled to compensation, unless the delay was due to 'extraordinary circumstances'.

The compensation is €250 for a distance of up to 1,500 km; higher for longer journeys.

In a case that was recently heard in the French Supreme Court, the Cour de Cassation a passenger whose Easyjet flight from Bordeaux to Lisbon was delayed more than three hours claimed compensation, despite the fact that she could not produce an embarkation ticket.

In previous cases the court had considered that it was incumbent on the passenger who had a confirmed reservation to also prove his or her presence at the airport, with the claim therefore subject to production of the boarding pass or baggage check-in ticket.

However, in a landmark case heard by the European Court of Justice in 2019 (24-10-2019 - 756/18) this requirement was not one that was considered necessary.

The court held that the claim for compensation made by the passenger, whose flight suffered a delay of 4 hours 17 minutes, could not be dismissed if the carrier did not show that she had not travelled on the delayed flight.

The French Supreme Court has, therefore, bought jurisprudence in France in line with European law, so that it is now sufficient for a passenger to prove that his or her reservation was confirmed, and it is up to the carrier to prove that the passenger was not on board, if the carrier wishes to be exempted from its obligation of compensation.

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