The case was taken to court after three travelers booked tickets for a German Lufthansa flight from Brussels (Belgium) to San Jose (USA). On the way, an intermediate landing was made at New York's Newark Airport. As a result, there was a delay of almost 4 hours of 233 minutes.
However, as is often the case with codesharing, the codeshare flight was not operated by Lufthansa itself, but by United Airlines, an airline headquartered in the United States.< /p>
“In its judgment delivered today, the court first of all recalls that a flight with one or more transfers operated within the same booking constitutes a single whole in terms of the right of passengers to compensation under EU law. The applicability of the Air Passenger Rights Clause must be assessed in relation to the place of origin of the flight and the place of final destination of that flight, — noted in the court order.
It further clarifies that in this case, United Airlines does not have a contract of carriage with the three above-mentioned passengers, however, the US carrier could be held liable and pay the compensation these passengers deserve under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation.
The Court substantiates its view by noting that since United Airlines assumed responsibility for operating this particular flight, including by determining its route, it is the operating air carrier and is thus recognized as acting on behalf of Lufthansa.
Thus, United Airlines is obligated to compensate passengers as the operating air carrier, but in turn has the right to claim compensation for aircraft delay from any person, including third parties, in accordance with applicable national law.
Thousands of passengers whose flights were canceled due to a series of strikes by the flight trade union Lufthansa water carriers in 2019 are still waiting for compensation for canceled flights. At that time, 1,650 flights were canceled, forcing about 214,000 passengers to change or cancel their travel plans. They are entitled to receive up to 600 euros from the airline.