The couple had traveled to Brussels in May 2006 with Ryanair and just before they were set to head back to Sweden they were told their flight was cancelled and that it would be two days before the next Ryanair flight back to Sweden.
But the couple couldn’t wait that long and so instead paid their way home through a combination travel by train, rental car, and taxi.
While Ryanair agreed to pay the cost of the couple’s airline tickets – 322 kronor ($40) – they received no additional compensation from the airline for the extra costs incurred during their harrowing journey home.
Sweden’s Consumer Ombudsman (Konsumentombudsmannen – KO) took up the couple’s case for what it saw as Ryanair’s failure to live up to the European passengers’ rights laws.
The agency filed a suit in order to force the airline to pay the 4,790 kronor to compensate the couple for the cost of their trip.
The district court in Nyköping ruled against the airline, but decided that it was only liable to pay 2,325 kronor, adding that each party was responsible of paying its own court costs.
The landmark court ruling is the first to examine exactly how for European passenger rights extend and to what extent airlines are responsible for compensating passengers.
“I see the ruling as a huge success,” said Consumer Ombudsman Gunnar Larsson in a statement.
“The district court has clearly stated that airlines must take responsibility for passengers who suffer from cancelled flights.”