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Case Details

Case Details
National ID C.14.0335.N
Lidstaat België
Common Name link
Decision type Supreme court decision
Decision date 13/03/2014
Gerecht Hof van Cassatie
Onderwerp
Eiser Jetair NV
Verweerder Unknown
Trefwoorden foreseeability, package travel, travel

Package Travel Directive, Article 4, 7.

A force majeure event does not relieve the travel organizer of its obligation to offer the consumer suitable alternative arrangements or compensation, where applicable, under article 4, 7. Directive 90/314.
The defendants booked a holiday to India via the plaintiff, a travel organizer. On their journey back, the defendants stranded in Helsinki as a result of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The defendants made additional costs to stay in Iceland and to plan their journey back to Belgium. They claimed the reimbursement of these costs from the plaintiff.

The plaintiff did not agree and the case ended up in appeal.
Does a force majeure event, relieve the travel organizer of its obligation to offer the consumer suitable alternative arrangements or compensation, where applicable, under article 4, 7. Directive 90/314?
The appellate court ruled that according to article 4, 7. Directive 90/314 (implemented in Belgian law through article 15 of the Act of 16 February 1994) the plaintiff was indeed obliged to provide suitable alternatives or to compensate the consumer (where such alternatives are impossible or not acceptable to the consumer for good reasons). The fact that the plaintiff did not have a representative in Iceland was discarded as an invalid reason.

The appellate court further ruled that the force majeure event, caused by the volcano eruption, does not relieve the plaintiff from the aforementioned obligation.

The Supreme Court agreed with the motivation of the appellate court and confirmed the judgement.
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The travel organizer was obliged to compensate the defendants.