Information of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net):

Pilot’s strike: Lufthansa got sued in Luxembourg and has to pay compensation to its passengers

  • The ECC-Net provides a sample letter and encourages passengers – who are affected by disruptions due to strikes- to claim from the airline a refund of the ticket price as well as a financial compensation


Strikes of airline staffs have recently caused widespread dissatisfaction among vacationists. A lot revolves around the question if passengers can claim for financial compensation in case of flight delays or cancellation. Two complainants from Luxembourg wanted to know for sure and went to court. The court answered with its verdict from 18th July 2018 the question if passengers can claim for compensation in case of a strike.

In the case at hand, the flight to Oslo in October 2016 was cancelled due to a notified strike. The passengers got rebooked to another flight which arrived with a delay of three hours.

After trying to solve this issue with the airline the complainants asked for ECC Luxembourg`s help. Despite the fact that the ECC network can usually settle such cases out of court the airline refused to understand. The two complainants went to court. They could assert their claims through the European “small claims procedure”.

Verdict with a „signal effect“

The court takes the view that the notified strike was not an exceptional circumstance according to the regulation EC/261/2004 (denied boarding and cancellation or long delay of flights). The airline is therefore obliged to pay a compensation to the complainants who were affected by the flight cancellation respectively flight delay. The verdict is based on the judgement of the European Court dated from April 2018. The so-called “TUIfly judgement” has already negated a „wildcat strike“, as exceptional circumstances.

Karin Basenbach, Director of the ECC Luxembourg, says “at the moment jurists in Europe question themselves if airlines have to pay a compensation or not. With this verdict we have an answer for Luxembourg and we hope that this verdict will have a signal effect on other European jurisdictions.”

The sample letters for reimbursement and compensation are available in