On 7th September 2017 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a judgement on the case of Birgit Bossen and Others v Brussels Airlines SA/NV. In this case, the ECJ discusses the concept of ‘distance’ that has to be interpreted when the route has connecting flights. The applicants of the case booked a trip from Rome (Italy) to Hamburg (Germany) with a stop in Brussels (Belgium) with Brussels Airlines. The first flight was delayed and therefore, the applicants missed the plane to Germany. Finally, they arrived to the final destination with a delay of three hours and fifty minutes.
The European Union (EU) law discussed on this case is the Article 7(1) of Regulation No 261/2004. This EU rule must be interpreted as a meaning of passenger of flights delayed for three hours or more must receive the same compensation as passengers whose flights are cancelled or re-routed. Secondly, when a court is determining a compensation it is important to calculate the distance. This will be the number of kilometres between the point of departure and the point of destination, excluding any other connecting points.
The concept of distance differs from EU or non EU members. The aforementioned EU Regulation No 261/2004 distinguishes three different distance thresholds in terms of compensation. The first one is for EU flights with less 1500 km distance, and the passengers shall receive a compensation of 250 euros. The second one, for EU flights between 1500 and 2500 distance shall mean a compensation of 400 euros. Finally, for non EU flights with a greater distance (above 3500 km) a compensation of 600 euros must be provided to the affected passengers.
Lithuania adopted this Regulation and implemented it immediately transposed in its local Law. The regulation came into force on 17 February 2005 as well as the rest of the EU Member States.