Key facts of the case:
The plaintiff sued an airline company for compensation according to Articles 7 (1) c and 5 (1) of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004. The plaintiff had booked return tickets from Düsseldorf to Miami. As a result of a strike by a German airline pilots union, the plaintiff's return flight was cancelled and she was rebooked to a flight three days later. The plaintiff’s claim was successful at the Cologne Local Court (Amtsgericht). The plaintiff was granted compensation. The Cologne Regional Court dismissed the appeal by the respondent on grounds of law and fact. The Regional Court reasoned that a union strike by the employees of an airline company forms part of the company’s operating risk; the general occurrence of strikes is foreseeable and thus does not amount to “extraordinary circumstances”.
Margin number 20: “Such industrial action is a means of the freedom of association, which is protected under EU law (Article 12 (1) and Article 12 (2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [ABl. C 364/1ff. of 18. December 2000, see Streinz, EUV/AEUV, 2nd Ed., Art. 28 GR-Charta, margin number 4] and suspends otherwise existing rights and obligations under the work contract, at least insofar as it is necessary for facilitating the labour dispute.” margin number 26 “This would require the airline company to abandon its freedom of association as it is protected under EU law and move into the position of a disadvantaged party right from the start.”