A passenger who reserved his or her flight through a travel agency may bring an action for compensation for a long flight delay against the air carrier before the courts of the place of departure of the flight
By it judgment, the Court notes, first of all, that the concept of an operating air carrier subject to the obligations arising from the regulation on the rights of air passengers includes not only the air carrier which operates or has the intention of operating a flight under a contract with a passenger but also the carrier which operates or intends to operate a flight on behalf of a third party which has concluded a contract with that passenger.
Therefore, in a situation such as the one at issue, where the air carrier performed the flight on behalf of a travel agency which entered into a contract with a passenger, the latter, when his or her flight is subject to a long delay, may rely on the regulation on the rights of air passengers against the carrier, even in the absence of a contract between the passenger and the carrier.
The Court observes, next, that even though the conclusion of a contract is not a requirement for the application of the special provisions on ‘matters relating to a contract’ of the regulation on jurisdiction, reliance on those provisions presupposes the existence of a voluntary commitment by one party to another.
In those circumstances, the Court states that an action for compensation for a long flight delay, brought by a passenger against the operating air carrier which is not the contractual partner of the passenger must be regarded as covering matters relating to a contract.
Consequently, in such a situation, the passenger may bring an action for compensation against the carrier before the courts of the place of departure of the flight, in accordance with the case-law.