Assessment of legal validity
You may be entitled to receive up to €600.00 per person.
BRUSELAS (Reuters) - Las aerolíneas de la Unión Europea deben pagar una compensación por retrasos en los vuelos a menos que la demora haya sido causada por circunstancias más allá de su control, dijo el principal tribunal del bloque.
Los viajeros deberán ser resarcidos por demoras de más de tres horas, dictaminó el Tribunal de Justicia de la Unión Europea el martes, reafirmando un derecho establecido tres años atrás en un caso que involucraba a Air France.
La corte se pronunció en un caso concerniente al operador alemán Lufthansa y en un segundo relacionado con British Airways, easyJet, TUI Travel y a la Asociación Internacional de Transporte Aéreo (IATA).
Los pasajeros en vuelos operados por líneas aéreas de la UE que comiencen o finalicen su viaje en el bloque de 27 naciones tienen derecho a 250-600 euros (330-780 dólares) de compensación por demoras o cancelaciones de acuerdo a las normas de la UE.
"El Tribunal de Justicia ha confirmado su sentencia anterior de que los pasajeros cuyos vuelos hayan sido demorados durante largo tiempo pueden ser compensados", dijo. No especificó cuáles podrían ser las circunstancias de una demora que escaparían al control de la aerolínea.
El Centro Europeo del Consumidor dijo que el brazo ejecutivo de la UE debería hacer más para reforzar los derechos del pasajero.
"En el largo plazo, la Comisión Europea debe grabar a fuego ésta y otras sentencias similares recientes en su constante revisión de la regulación", dijo la directora del centro Monique Goyens, refiriéndose a las normas de la UE de 2004.
"El principal desafío es aplicar lo que ya existe. También se necesita hacer frente a lo que es una presión bastante fuerte por parte de la industria para diluir la ley", agregó.
Raymond Veldkamp, propietario de Flight Delayed que ayuda a los consumidores a solicitar compensación de las aerolíneas dijo: "No creemos que el fallo le facilite a los pasajeros obtener dinero de las aerolíneas cuando sus vuelos son demorados".
"La mayoría de las veces, los pasajeros son embaucados con cupones para una comida gratis o un refresco. Mientras que en realidad tienen derecho legalmente a una compensación mucho más alta", agregó.
En el caso de Lufthansa, los pasajeros presentaron una demanda contra la aerolínea solicitando una indemnización ante una corte alemana después de una demora en un vuelo de más de 24 horas. Los jueces posteriormente buscaron el asesoramiento del tribunal europeo.
En cuanto al segundo caso, British Airways, easyJet, TUI Travel y la IATA cuestionaron a la Autoridad Británica de Aviación Civil después de rechazar su pedido de ser exento de pagar por demoras de vuelos. Los jueces británicos solicitaron también la asistencia a la corte europea.
Anteriormente este mes, el tribunal dijo a las aerolíneas que tiene que compensar a los viajeros cuyos vuelos habían sido demorados por huelgas, indicando que no era una excusa como para no pagar.
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