A rail strike during a Rail & Fly journey can cause significant inconvenience. Travelers face the challenge of rearranging their travel plans and incurring additional costs for alternative modes of transport. In such a situation, the question arises as to who is responsible for reimbursement of these additional costs and what the liability situation is in the event of a rail strike.
As a rule, the tour operator is liable
Wondering what to do if Rail & Fly goes on strike? An important question relates to liability and the reimbursement of additional costs, such as for fuel or parking fees. According to a recent judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) of June 29, 2021 (Az. X ZR 29/20), liability usually lies with the tour operator. The judgment states that if the rail transfer to the airport is listed as an "advantage" in the travel brochure of a flight package tour without reference to an additional fee, this is to be understood from the customer's point of view as an independent service of the tour operator. This means that the "Rail & Fly" ticket offered is already included in the package price of the trip.
This judgment represents an important basis for clarifying the question of liability and the reimbursement of the additional costs in the event of a strike at Rail & Fly. Nevertheless, it is advisable to check the exact general terms and conditions of the tour operator and to obtain further information in the specific case.
A strike does not exclude liability
Liability for strikes is often seen as a contentious issue as these are often seen as 'extraordinary circumstances'. The tour operator often does not have to be liable in these cases. However, an important judgment of the Frankfurt am Main Regional Court (Az.: 2/24 S 288/17) of August 16, 2018 has shown that a strike does not fundamentally exclude the liability of a tour operator. In this specific case, a vacationer had booked a flight from Geneva to Ibiza for a short vacation with a tour operator. The flight from Germany to Geneva was operated by another airline. Unfortunately, the booked flight was canceled due to a staff strike. Despite her efforts to get a rebooking for an onward flight, the plaintiff ultimately had to fly back to Germany at her own expense and spend her vacation at home. The plaintiff then demanded reimbursement of the return flight costs and damages for the missed holiday from the tour operator. The tour operator relied on its general terms and conditions (GTC), in which any liability in the event of a strike was excluded.
However, the regional court in Frankfurt am Main ruled in favor of the plaintiff and ordered the tour operator to pay. This judgment makes it clear that, despite a strike, the tour operator may still be liable. It shows that customers can in certain cases be entitled to reimbursement of costs incurred and compensation for damages, even if the strike is considered to be an exceptional circumstance.
An unexpected rail strike at Rail & Fly can significantly disrupt a planned vacation or business trip. In such cases, the question of liability and reimbursement of the additional costs incurred arises. Customers have the right to reclaim the travel price and to assert claims for damages. However, it is important to examine individual circumstances and take into account the exact terms and conditions of the tour operator.
Although strikes are often considered to be 'extraordinary circumstances', a strike does not generally exclude the tour operator's liability. A judgment by the Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main confirms that in certain cases the tour operator may be obliged to pay if the booked flight is canceled due to a strike. This clarifies that customers can be entitled to refunds and compensation under certain conditions.
In the event of a strike at Rail & Fly, it is advisable to check the precise legal provisions. Despite the strike: As a traveler, you have the option of receiving appropriate compensation for the costs incurred.
Source: Was tun bei einem Bahnstreik bei Rail & Fly? – Rückerstattung und Haftung im Fokus - Passengers friend