When are Airlines obliged to provide Assistance Services to passengers in the event of a delay or a cancelation of a flight under the Aviation Services Law ("ASL")? Can passengers sue for monetary damages that are not specified under the ASL? And must Airlines actively provide information to all passengers, including those who are not in the airport premises, regarding their rights under the ASL in the event of a delay or a cancelation of a flight? The Central District Court has recently answered these questions and many more, in one of the most detailed and informative court decisions regarding Airlines’ obligations and waivers under the ASL.
As for the entitlement to Assistance Service – the Court ruled that although the passenger is required to present himself at the check-in counter on time to be entitled to Assistance Services, if the passenger was notified of the delay more than 3 hours before the scheduled flight, he does not have to arrive at the airport to be entitled to Assistance Services.
Additionally, the Court held that Airlines may provide Assistance Services to passengers either at the airport or by reimbursement of the passenger’s expanses for Assistance Services that were purchased independently outside the airport. However, passengers who did not purchase Assistance Services (e.g., stayed in their own house) are not entitled to any payment for Assistance Services. Furthermore, The Court held that passengers are not entitled to any indirect damages due to a delay or a cancelation (such as loss of workdays payments, costs of hotel room that was not being used) , since those damages are not specified under the ASL.
Regarding the Airline's duty to disclose, the Court held that the Airline has a duty to disclose to the passenger their rights under the ASL shortly after a delay or a cancelation of the flight, even if the Airline has already sent the information to the passenger at the time of the purchase of a flight ticket and has said information available on the Airline's website.