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Switzerland and the European Regulation 261/2004: are there restrictions to compensation rights?


Weclaim’s EU261 success against a Swiss airline

For non-Europeans, it might come as a surprise that Switzerland is not part of the European Union. Notwithstanding this, Switzerland is signatory to the European Union Regulation 261/2004 (“EU261”).

This means that your travel is additionally protected by the EU261 if your flight is from Switzerland to the EU (irrespective of air carrier).

Has a Swiss air carrier told you otherwise?

Swiss air carriers cannot circumvent their responsibilities under the EU261 by citing that the flight was “extra-territorial” to the operation of EU261.

Weclaim has had success against a Swiss airline who tried this very argument.

  • Our customer made a claim for compensation with respect to the delay to her connecting flight from Zurich.
  • Feeling frustrated with the airline’s lack of positive response, she came to us at Weclaim and asked for assistance in seeking her compensation.
  • The airline rejected the claim arguing that Switzerland entered into a bilateral treaty whereby the EU261 would allegedly ONLY apply to flights departing and/or arriving within these two territories, ie not the flight at hand (departing from Switzerland towards a non EU country).
  • The Court disagreed and in Weclaim’s favour held that Switzerland agreed to be bound by the EU261 which means that a flight departing from Switzerland is to be seen as departing from a "EU equivalent country".

Weclaim won this case with extra compensation with respect to the additional costs in having to have the matter determined before the Court with the result that our customer was awarded a greater amount than first claimed.

If a Swiss airline has advised you that you are not owed compensation under EU261 because of “extra-judicial” incompetence, then it is worth having your matter reviewed by Weclaim.

You can get in touch with our legal team here, or start your claim with us here.

30th April 2019.

Written by Frédéric PELOUZE, Weclaim Founder and Director.

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