Those darned Europeans just love taking money from God-fearing, tax-paying corporations and putting them into the pockets of welfare-addicted layabouts. Especially, as it turns out, at the airport. Thanks to a new EU court ruling, airlines operating in Europe — so, all of them, not just European flag carriers — have new financial responsibilities to us, their passengers. Here's what's up.
Airlines flying in Europe already pay stiff penalties to fliers for delays of over three hours, to the tune of up to €600, depending on how bad it is. Now, there's an extra wrinkle: Airlines will be liable not just for flights operating in or out of Europe, but knock-on effects outside of Europe as well. Say you have a flight from London to Tokyo that arrives two hours late — no penalty, as it didn't cross the three-hour threshold. However, say some people on that flight were booked through to Osaka, and that two-hour delay made them miss their connection — meaning they land in Osaka four hours later than they were supposed. Ding-ding-ding-ding. What does it mean for us? Well, it might mean that adopting some of this European-style protections would be good for American consumers, right here at home.
But it's most significant for travelers headed to Europe via a connection in the U.S. — they're now protected in a way they previously hadn't been.