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Legal and the Law in Spain

Compensation awarded to airline passenger not notified in advance of cancellation

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The Court of First Instance No. 10 of Bilbao has sentenced the airline KLM to compensate a passenger with 600 euro, after verifying that the traveller was not notified of the cancellation of the trip with at least 14 days of notice in advance, as established by regulations.

The online legal services company, reclamador.es, explains that Regulation 261/2004 establishes that compensation for delays, cancellations and denied boarding ranges between 250 and 600 euro, depending on the distance of the flight. Thus, the distance between the point of departure and destination between San Francisco and Bilbao, which was the cancelled route, is 9,144 km, so the established compensation is 600 euro, when exceeding 3,500 kilometres.

For its part, KLM responded to the claim that there was no compensation because it notified of the cancellation of the flight more than 14 days in advance, something that was later proven to have not happened in this way.

The highlight of the case, explains the online legal services company, is that the passenger decided to go to trial on April 11 in Bilbao and thus show the evidence he had on his phone, where it was clear that the airline had not notified him of the flight change with the advance notice indicated. Thus, the judge in the case was able to verify first-hand on the traveller’s mobile device how said notice occurred on the same day of the incident and, to make matters worse, during the flight in which hours later the passenger was finally relocated.

The magistrate indicates in her ruling that it is the airline that must prove that it communicated the change in the reservation with the 14 days in advance established in article 5.4 of Regulation 261/2004, but that in its response to the claim by reclamador.es , did not provide any copy of the email or message proving it, but only documents with crossed out and without sending dates.

Furthermore, it was the plaintiff who had to prove that the airline sent him the emails with the flight changes when his trip had already begun. The client explained the chronology of the events and showed the dates and times of emails, flights, and notices that he had in his possession, thus dismantling KLM’s version.

Jorge Ramos, a lawyer for reclamador.es who has led the case, explains that “at reclamador.es we are very happy with this ruling because it is difficult to refute this type of response from the airlines without going to trial, and a client does not always want to attending it for a not very large amount, so we are really happy with the resolution of the case, especially for our client, who has fought with us until the end for justice to be done. It is truly appreciated that there are brave clients who want to fight to be rewarded with financial compensation.”

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