If a flight is delayed or canceled in Europe, passengers can file a claim for compensation.
But what happens if it’s pushed forward?
On December 21, 2021, a top European Court declared that if an airline moves a flight ahead by more than one hour, it must be considered canceled because it may give passengers significant inconvenience.
“Where a flight has been brought forward in this way, passengers are unable to use their time as they wish and to organize their trip or holiday in line with their expectations,” the Court of Justice of the European Union said in a press release.
“Accordingly, passengers may, inter alia, be forced to adapt significantly to the new departure time in order to be able to take their flight, or may even be unable, despite having taken the necessary precautions, to board the aircraft.”
Passengers in the EU are entitled to compensation of up to €600 ($677) for flights that are delayed or canceled, depending on the length of the flight.
The court stated that cases where customers have the right to compensation for flights that have been moved forward suggest that there was “late communication” of the flight modification, for example.
The court’s decision followed legal battles in Germany and Austria between passenger compensation businesses Airhelp and flight right and airlines Azurair, Corendon Airlines, Eurowings, Austrian Airlines, and Laudamotion over compensation for passengers whose flights were delayed.
“We welcome the ruling from the European Court because bringing a flight forward can have serious consequences for the travel plans for passengers and this ruling has therefore strengthened their rights,” Claudia Brosche, passenger rights expert at Flightright said in a statement on December 22, 2021.