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SOS from passengers as SAS Scandinavian Airlines strikes set to continue

SOS from passengers as SAS Scandinavian Airlines strikes set to continue

On Friday 26th April, Scandinavian Airlines pilots went on strike following a breakdown of negotiations regarding working conditions. Upwards of a thousand flights have been cancelled. With more cancellations imminent, hundreds of thousands of passengers are adversely affected. Aside from the hit to passengers’ pockets, it is costing the airline 60-80 million Swedish Crowns a day (approx 5.6 - 7.5 million Euros).

Did you have travel plans with Scandinavian Airlines? To be prepared, read below for more information on what your rights are under European and international law.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines client’s right to statutory compensation: am I entitled to it despite the ongoing strike?

European Regulation (EC) 261/2004 provides for compensation where flights are cancelled, delayed or passengers are denied boarding. Specifically, it is Article 5 which gives passengers rights in cases where their flight is cancelled. It provides that passengers shall be offered assistance (food, transport, accommodation, where required) when their flight has been cancelled, and be entitled to compensation in cases where their flight has been cancelled with less than 14 days notice without the offer of re-routing.

Does an airline strike affect my right to compensation under the European Regulations?

No. Compensation is only excluded in cases of extraordinary circumstances, however the European Court of Justice has consistently upheld that strikes which are internal to the airline are not extraordinary circumstances.

In the context of this strike and in line with European jurisprudence, Scandinavian Airlines owes its passengers compensation.

Statutory compensation due by SAS Scandinavian Airlines depends on your flight distance, and varies between 250€ to 600€ per passenger.

Refund or rerouting: getting to my destination

In addition to monetary compensation, passengers whose flight is cancelled due to an internal strike, have a right to reimbursement or rerouting under Regulation 261/2004’s Article 8, no matter why the flight is cancelled.

If passengers whose trip is disrupted due to an airline’s internal strike choose to have their ticket refunded, they are entitled to a refund of the outward and return ticket if the outward journey was cancelled, and to a refund of the return flight if the outward journey was flown.

If they choose to be rerouted, passengers are entitled to a rerouted journey at a later date of their choosing under comparable conditions.

Right to care and further compensation: what can I expect?

Where a flight is cancelled due to an internal strike, passengers are entitled to reasonable care. There is express provision in European Regulation 261/2004 for meals and refreshments to be provided, as well as hotel accommodation and transport where necessary. This means that you are able to claim back the costs you incur whilst stranded and waiting for another flight following the cancellation of your Scandinavian Airlines flight.

Additionally, Regulation 261/2004’s lesser known and under-utilised Article 12 provides that other provisions do not affect passengers’ rights to further compensation further to Scandinavian Airlines internal strike. This was further explained in the European Court of Justice’s ruling Rodriguez & Ors v Air France (Case 83-10), in which the Court noted that the Regulation is aimed at compensating passengers for the 'entirety of the damage they have suffered due to the failure of the air carrier to fulfil its contractual obligations.'. In practice, this means national courts can order the air carriers to compensate passengers with reference to provisions of national law and of the Montreal Convention. Indeed, European Regulation 261/2004 does not impose a fixed limit for compensation.

This means that if you lose a package holiday, a hotel night, wages due to a missed day of work as a result of the the Scandinavian Airlines internal strike you are entitled to be compensated so long as you can provide receipts or proof of damages.

Does this consumer-friendly law apply to me?

European Regulation 261/2004 applies to flights leaving the territory of an EU Member-State, irrespective of destination. It also applies to flights landing in the territory of an EU Member-State, operated by an EU carrier, irrespective of point of departure. If your cancelled Scandinavian Airlines flight was an internal EU flight, or leaving the EU, or returning to the EU, you are entitled to compensation.

The law applies irrespective of nationality: so long as you are a passenger affected by the Scandinavian Airlines’ strike, you will be able to claim compensation, even if you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the EU.

How can I make a claim against SAS Scandinavian Airlines?

Therefore if you have been affected by Scandinavian Airlines’ massive strikes, you, alongside 280,000 passengers to date, are entitled to be compensated for the disruption, as well as for the costs and losses you incur - in addition to a rerouted flight or reimbursement of your ticket.

Weclaim specialise in asserting our clients’ rights and recovering their losses.

You can start a claim against SAS Scandinavian Airlines with us now here - it takes all but 5 minutes and we will deal with your claim on your behalf, until you are compensated by Scandinavian Airlines.

Frédéric Pelouze, CEO

1 May 2019

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