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Aviation & Transport News: Judgment by Court of Justice requires air carriers to indicate the final price to be paid for each flight in respect of which the fare is shown

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The Court of Justice has specified that a computerised booking system must, from the outset, indicate the final price to be paid for each flight from an EU airport in respect of which the fare is shown.

The German Federal Union of Consumer Organisations and Associations is challenging before the German courts the way air fares were presented in Air Berlin’s computerised booking system in November 2008.

Once the date and airports of departure and arrival have been selected, the booking system displayed a table of possible connections.  The final price per person was indicated only for the connection pre-selected by Air Berlin or clicked on by the customer, and not for every connection shown.  According to the German Federal Union, this practice does not comply with the requirements of EU law regarding price transparency of air services. The action for an injunction which the Federal Union brought against Air Berlin was upheld by the courts of first instance and of appeal.

The Bundesgerichtshof (German Federal Court of Justice) has asked the Court of Justice to interpret EU legislation on the pricing of air services from an EU airport.

By its judgment of January 15, 2015 the Court has ruled that the second sentence of Article 23(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community must be interpreted as meaning that, in the context of a computerised booking system such as that at issue in the main proceedings, the final price to be paid must be indicated whenever the prices of air services are shown, including when they are shown for the first time, and this not only for the air service specifically selected by the customer, but also for each air service in respect of which the fare is shown.  Customers should indeed be able to compare effectively the prices for air services of different air carriers.

Practical conclusion for the air carriers : their computerised booking systems must, from the outset, indicate the final price to be paid whenever the prices of air services are shown, including when they are shown for the first time, and this not only for the air service specifically selected by the customer, but also for each air service in respect of which the fare is shown.

The text of the judgment is available here.

Authored by Jean Pierre Kesteloot

 

This headline is not a legal advice.