Ryanair dispute heads to Swedish Supreme Court

Ryanair dispute heads to Swedish Supreme Court
A couple from Linköping in central Sweden who were marooned in Brussels after Ryanair cancelled their flight home will have their case heard by Sweden’s highest court.

The move is the latest in a long running legal battle between the discount airline and Rune and Eva-Marie Brännström, stemming from incident when the couple was attempting to return to Sweden from Brussels in May 2006.

Shortly before they were set to head back to Sweden the Brännströms learned their flight was cancelled due to heavy fog and that it would be two days before the next Ryanair flight back home.

As the couple couldn’t wait that long, they decided to pay 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) – the Brännström’s received no additional compensation from the airline for the extra costs incurred during their round-about trip back to Sweden.

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.

In March 2009, the district court in Nyköping found in favour of the couple, and ordered Ryanair to pay 2,325 kronor, just over half the sum the couple had requested.

But the Brännströms’ apparent victory was shortlived, as the ruling was overturned on appeal in May 2010.

“Ryanair has proven that the flight was cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances,” the Svea Appeals Court said.

The appeals court in turn ordered that Ryanair be compensated around 300,000 kronor in trial expenses.

Rune Brännström vowed to fight on, however, saying he was willing to take the case all the way to the European Court of Justice if need be.

The Ombudsman hailed the highest court’s decision to hear the case, which the agency sees as a precedent-setting case when it comes to the rights and responsibilities of passengers and airlines.

“It’s great to know that it will now be clear which rules apply. We think that airline passengers should be able to use the same rules if a plane is cancelled as when it’s delayed,” said Consumer Ombudsman representative Agneta Broberg in a statement.

An exact date for the Supreme Court hearing has yet to be set.

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