Holidaymakers are reimbursed for their own return flight

Package travelers are allowed to book a replacement flight themselves, and the provider will reimburse them for the costs. The prerequisite: It is not clear from the travel confirmation that you have to report any defects to the tour operator first.

If the flight is severely delayed or canceled, package holidaymakers can book a flight themselves under certain conditions.

Dhe Federal Court of Justice (BGH) supports package tourists in the event of inconvenience on vacation. If the tour operator has not properly informed you about your duty to report travel defects, you can solve the problem yourself without financial disadvantage. This results from a judgment that the highest civil judge announced on Tuesday in Karlsruhe. (Ref. X ZR 96/17)

Basically, holidaymakers must first ask the organizer to rectify the defect and set a deadline for this. At least the obligation to report the problem must be clear from the travel confirmation. In the case before the BGH, the notice was hidden in the general terms and conditions.

At the end of their vacation in Turkey, the plaintiffs had booked another flight home on their own because it became apparent that the arrival with the planned plane would be significantly delayed. They did not contact the tour guide. Because they were not correctly informed of their obligation to do so, the organizer still has to reimburse them for the 1235 euros for the replacement flight.

New rules for package tours

The start of the plane was delayed by more than two and a half hours. Because of the night flight ban at Frankfurt Airport, the plane was diverted to Cologne, from where there was a bus transfer. The family with two children hadn’t wanted to go along with that.

In the lower courts, the vacationers were unsuccessful. According to the Cologne Regional Court, they should have called the tour guide before booking the new flight and set a deadline for them. The BGH sees it differently: Because the organizer did not correctly point out these obligations, he could not insist on compliance.

Since July 1st, new regulations apply to package tours. The trip that was in Karlsruhe took place in 2014, when the old law was still in force. Even according to the new law, the organizer must inform its customers about their obligation to report defects. According to the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, it often happens that tourists do not receive all of the required information.

The judgment is not yet final because the tour operator’s side was not represented in the hearing on Tuesday. She can still appeal the decision. The Senate made it clear, however, that it sees all legal issues fully resolved.