Delayed departure due to screw on the runway – according to EuGH no claim for compensation

Delayed departure due to screw on the runway – according to EuGH no claim for compensation

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

A screw on the runway caused a delay of more than three hours. During the landing of a Germanwings aircraft in Düsseldorf, an aircraft tyre was damaged and had to be replaced. This caused a very late onward flight to Dublin.

However, a passenger who wanted to claim compensation for the delayed arrival in Ireland under the EU Passenger Rights Regulation was disappointed.

Germanwings had rejected the compensation payment he had demanded on the grounds that it had been an “extraordinary circumstance” that the aircraft tyre had to be changed due to a screw in it.

The passenger did not want to accept this and went with it before the regional court Cologne. The latter asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) whether this could in fact be an “exceptional circumstance”. The Court decided that a screw on the runway was to be regarded as an “exceptional circumstance” and that the airline was neither responsible for it nor able to control it. According to the ECJ, the airline is therefore exempt from paying compensation unless it has not made sufficient efforts to limit the damage.

To what extent Germanwings has taken all necessary measures, be they personnel, material or financial, to prevent the delay must be clarified by the Cologne Regional Court in the next step.

Should it turn out that Germanwings has not done everything necessary to prevent this delay, the passenger could still assert his claim for compensation.

If you want to save yourself the nerve-racking argument with the airline, you should contact us.

Flight delays on the horizon – New flight chaos expected in summer 2019

Flight delays on the horizon – New flight chaos expected in summer 2019

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Passengers should be prepared: Another summer with many flight delays is imminent – probably even more than in 2018.

Too few air traffic controllers
At any rate, that is the view of German Air Traffic Control (DFS), because there are too few air traffic controllers for the expected traffic volumes. By 2018, there were 3.4 million flight movements, an increase is expected for 2019 and German airspace is becoming increasingly limited. Training more airfares is just one of several measures to defuse the situation – but this cannot be done overnight.

Slow passenger controls
There is also a lot to do in the area of passenger controls, as these are considered slower at German airports than at our European neighbours. Better technical facilities to allow faster passengers to “overtake” would speed up check-in, but these facilities are still being tested. However, Frankfurt Airport is planning to install some of them in the summer.

Flight chaos unavoidable
The airlines are also called upon to improve their personnel organisation and to maintain more reserve aircraft. But even this will not be enough to prevent the coming flight chaos. Despite all the measures taken by airlines, airports and air traffic control, the Federal Association of the German Air Transport Industry (BDL) expects a high number of flight cancellations and delays next summer.

Rights in the event of flight delays
Passengers should therefore know one thing: If they are more than three hours late, they are entitled to compensation under the EU passenger rights regulation (except in exceptional circumstances such as thunderstorms, strikes etc.). The amount of compensation depends on the route. For short-haul flights up to 1,500 km, the airline has to pay 250 euros, for medium-haul flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km 400 euros and for long-haul flights from 3,500 km 600 euros.

Claiming reimbursement directly from the airline is often associated with nerve-racking paperwork and can take several months, sometimes even up to a year.

Leave the paperwork to us and spare your nerves.
You enter your data in a few seconds at and we will check free of charge whether your flight delay ticket is liable for compensation. Depending on the situation, we buy your ticket immediately or take it over on a success basis. This means that we deal with the airline, if necessary in court, without it costing you anything. We then deduct 20 % of the sum from the payment as a processing fee (on a success basis) or 30 % if it is an immediate purchase – plus VAT in each case.

Oh, ….and something else:
For older tickets, the claim for compensation applies retroactively for up to three years.

Cruise with obstacles due to flight delay

Cruise with obstacles due to flight delay

Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

Crossing the Caribbean on a luxury liner, the Fischer family* had been looking forward to it for half a year. The trip was to start from La Romana in the Dominican Republic and to include the islands of Aruba, Curacao, Barbados and the French Antilles.

Dream journey with false start

Departure from Düsseldorf to La Romana was scheduled for 12 noon. But when they arrive at the departure airport, the family learns that the departure will be delayed by 4 hours. In the evening, the airline announced that the plane had landed but could no longer take off for La Romana. The passengers could stay overnight in hotels at the expense of the airline and should arrive the next morning at 5 o’clock again at the airport, however, without the security that it would start then also immediately. Immediately after this information came the announcement that the passengers would now be taken by bus to Cologne to fly from there to La Romana.

First no plane, then no crew….

So the passengers fetched their suitcases from the baggage claim at about 8 p.m., only to find out that the airline had provided too few buses and that not all passengers were able to travel with them. For some this meant a waiting time again and also in Cologne they waited again, before they could finally board the airplane. Why? Because the plane was there, but the crew was missing… Shortly after midnight the journey continued, the passengers were finally allowed to board, but had to make do with an aircraft that was not intended for long-haul flights and therefore had very tight seating and no entertainment programme.

After all, the cruise ship was waiting for the passengers. However, the long-awaited voyage was one day shorter because the departure had been delayed by 12 hours!

The Fischer family gave air to their anger at the airline and demanded compensation for this flight delay and the lost day at sea. For three persons each passenger was entitled to a refund of 600 Euro according to the EU Passenger Rights Regulation. The airline only gave a succinct apology during the three months of mail traffic with the injured parties, but showed no will to pay the money.

In the end, the Fischers turned to Captain Frank and we were able to help! However, the airline didn’t make it easy for us either and we had to take legal action in order to be proved right in the end.

So don’t forget: If the flight is delayed, we will stand up for you.


*Name of editorial office changed









New rules for hand luggage in low-cost airlines

New rules for hand luggage in low-cost airlines


Who plans to fly with Ryanair or Wizz Air, should know one thing absolutely: For flights at the standard fare, only hand luggage equivalent to a bag or a small backpack is allowed. The dimensions of this small baggage must not exceed 40x20x25cm.

So-called board trolleys, which usually measure 56x45x25cm and were previously transported free of charge with a certain weight, must be checked in at Ryanair before departure for a fee of 8 euros when booking and 10 euros after booking.

The Hungarian airline Wizz Air requires the passenger to book Priority Boarding for one extra piece of luggage and to pay 7 euros for taking a small rolling suitcase in the cabin weighing up to 10 kilograms.

Laudamotion will also adopt the new rules of the parent company Ryanair from 31 March 2019. Anyone who tries to circumvent these rules and brings a second piece of hand luggage with them to the gate will have to pay 25 euros for its carriage. The airlines argue that these changes will prevent boarding delays and improve the punctuality of departures. The Italian antitrust authorities took a different view last week.

It has prevented Ryanair and Wizz Air from implementing the new rules, which would mislead the consumer. The real price of air travel would be distorted. The authority has asked the two airlines temporarily not to charge a surcharge for large carry-on baggage.

Travellers should in any case take a close look at the rules around hand luggage when booking, otherwise there may be an expensive surprise at the airport.

And should the flight be more than 3 hours late, don’t forget, Captain Frank will help enforce the claim for compensation.


Beach Treasures

Beach Treasures

Photo by Gregory Culmer on Unsplash

Sea Shells and similar – better not take home

What’s that pearly shimmering in the sand? Who will find the most beautiful specimen of a marine snail? Collecting shells and stones on the beach is for many like a treasure hunt and is simply part of a good beach walk.

But many holidaymakers do not know that in most countries it is not allowed to collect these beach treasures and to take them out of the country. Sand is also forbidden for example on the Canary Islands, but also in countries like Italy or the Philippines. In Sardinia, high fines are imposed if sand is stolen from the beach.

According to customs, seashells, corals and snail shells fall under species protection. The Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) covers 5,600 animal and 30,000 plant species and the products made from them – including jewellery, for example. There is an exception for the export of mussels with the so-called giant mussels, which occur mainly in the Caribbean: For personal use, up to three specimens of these mussels may be brought along.

In addition to mussels, snail shells, stones and sand, there are of course many other popular souvenirs that are repeatedly confiscated by customs and which are subject to heavy fines. For example, anyone who picks gentian in Austria and gets caught with it has to reckon with 15,000 euros, which he can pay for this mistake. But one should also be careful with counterfeit branded goods such as clothing, watches and perfumes. For air and sea travellers for goods from non-EU countries, a tax-exempt amount of 430 euros applies. If they are exceeded, customs will take away everything and in countries like Italy, the purchase of counterfeit branded clothing is already punishable in the country itself.

So before each journey always first check what one may export from the holiday country and import with us.

If you are caught by customs, you will have to pay the fine. But we can help you if your flight was delayed for more than three hours. Maybe a part of the compensation covers the penalty for the customs offence. 😉 Have your ticket checked.