Are you entitled to compensation for delay/ cancellation during airline strike action?

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Now, the German Federal Court has unequivocally ruled that compensation is not payable where a flight is cancelled due to strike action.

According to the German Court, where something happens which prevents the operation of a flight and which is outside the airline's control and beyond the scope of its ordinary business then the airline is not liable to pay compensation under the Denied Boarding Regulations.  While the decision will be seen as a triumph for airlines, the Court made clear that reasonable steps must be taken to avoid disruption and to get things back to normal as soon as possible.  It is unclear how far the German Courts would require an airline to go but this could include engaging in negotiations with trade unions without delay and will certainly require airlines to re-schedule flights and call upon the assistance of airlines which form part of their international partnerships or alliance to get passengers off the ground and to their destination.  The role of trade unions and collective bargaining is very different under German law to that afforded to trade unions under English law. 

The English Courts have previously decided that strike action amounts to extraordinary circumstances, thereby giving the airline a defence to any claim for compensation from passengers.  The decision of the German Court follows this line of reasoning and comes at a time when the national airline Lufthansa narrowly avoided strike action from cabin crew following a dispute over pay.

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