July 16, 2024 | 3:49

Bilbao

Tap Air Portugal sentenced to compensate the baby of a Bilbao family for flight delay

Maria Jose Gonzalez

June 8, 2023 | 5:00 pm

Justice has once again hit an airline in defense of consumer rights. He Court of First Instance No. 12 of Bilbao has ruled in favor of a family from Bilbao who suffered a considerable delay in their flight with the Portuguese airline, Tap Air Portugal.

Five-hour delay and compensation dispute

On June 4, 2022, a family from Bilbao, made up of parents and two children, one of them a baby under two years of age, suffered a five hour delay on his return flight from Lisbon to Bilbao. According to airline regulations, children under the age of two are not assigned their own seat, but must travel on the lap of a responsible adult. Still, they must pay a small amount, usually in fees.

The family, supported by the Erreklamatu law firm, asked the airline for compensation of 250 euros per person, the amount established by European legislation for flights that suffer a delay of more than five hours. In addition, they claimed the extra cost of parking caused by the delay, which brought the total amount requested to 1.026,56 euros.

Tap Air Portugal's position and the court ruling

Tap Air Portugal, on the other hand, stood firm and was only willing to compensate 769.30 euros, arguing that the baby I had not taken a seat nor had he paid for a full ticket. In addition, he refused to pay the additional amount for parking, considering that it was not an expense linked to passenger assistance.

However, justice has taken sides in favor of consumers. In his ruling, the judge recalled that, according to Regulation No. 261/2004, compensation does not apply only when passengers travel free of charge, do not have an assigned seat, nor do their names appear on their parents' reservations.

Reservation and boarding pass

In the case of this family from Bilbao, the judge pointed out that it had been shown that 5,78 euros had been paid for the baby's reservation, and that a boarding pass was issued in their name. Therefore, he concluded that the exception established by the regulation is not applicable in this case, and that the fact of having paid airport taxes and having a boarding pass implies that the baby's ticket was not free.

Likewise, the judge decided that the family should receive compensation of 7,15 euros for the additional parking time, since this cost is directly related to the flight delay.

This is a judgment in the first instance and, therefore, Tap Air Portugal has the option to appeal it. However, it constitutes a milestone in the defense of consumer rights in the aviation sector. The decision of the Court of First Instance No. 12 of Bilbao sends a clear message: airlines must respect the regulations and assume their responsibility for delays.

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