The Austrian Supreme Court recently issued a new ruling (4 Ob 222/22h) on the General Conditions of Carriage (GCC) of a Hungarian airline, declaring numerous clauses therein as unlawful. This decision is the latest in a series of judgments against air carriers and their GCC.
The proceedings were initiated by the “Bundeskammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte”, an association authorized to litigate under the Austrian Consumer Protection Act and aimed to prohibit the airline from using certain clauses in their GCC. In its decision, spanning over 100 pages, the Austrian Supreme Court addressed numerous clauses, providing significant guidance for all air carriers operating in Austria.
Since authorized associations, especially the “Verein für Konsumenteninformation” (VKI) and the Bundeskammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte, can (and regularly do) file such lawsuits against airlines operating in Austria, it is advisable for air carriers to use this new ruling on GCC as an opportunity to review their own GCC. More detailed information on the standard procedures of associations authorized to file such lawsuits, the system of reviewing GCC in Austria, and the criteria applied can be found in our article “General Conditions of Carriage in Austria“.
The clauses whose use has now been prohibited by the Austrian Supreme Court include:
- Liability exclusion for fragile luggage
- Choice of law clause in favor of Hungarian law
- The possibility of rebooking to an alternative means of transportation
- Restriction of rights under Regulation (EC) 261/2004 (“Air Passenger Rights Regulation”)
- Submission of compensation claims exclusively via the airline’s website
Our experienced Aviation Team is happy to answer your questions about the use of General Conditions of Carriage in Austria, review your GCC to reduce the risk of legal proceedings, and represent you in court.