Finnair Oyj (FIA1S) should compensate passengers whose flights were rescheduled due to an airport strike, a European Union court aide said.
Yves Bot, an advocate general to the EU’s Court of Justice, said a carrier should only be exempted from paying compensation for refusing a passenger from boarding if the passenger is to blame for reasons such as drunkenness, violence or presenting invalid travel documents.
Timy Lassooy is seeking 400 euros ($525) from Finnair in compensation for being bumped off a morning flight from Barcelona to Helsinki in July 2006. Finnair put him on an evening flight the same day after using the morning flight to accommodate passengers delayed by a Barcelona airport strike two days earlier.
“The denial of boarding to passengers may be justified solely on grounds relating to the personal situation of those passengers,” according to a statement from the court. Refusing Lassooy compensation for a rescheduled flight would leave him “abandoned to his fate, which would be totally contrary to the objective of European legislation which is to ensure a high- level of protection for air passengers.”
Although the advocate general’s opinion isn’t binding, it is followed by the court in the majority of cases.
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