(CN) - Europe's high court agreed to hold airlines to tougher compensation requirements when they cancel flights within the European Union.
Air travelers can be compensated in cases where a plane takes off but is forced to return to the point of departure, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled.
Two couples and an individual, all from Spain, sued Air France after a flight from Paris turned around mid-air, citing technical problems. Although everyone was booked for flights the following day, the airline apparently failed to provide assistance to both couples.
Each passenger sought $355 in compensation, along with $425 to $925 in nonmaterial damages. The passengers also sought reimbursement of meals and other expenses, including the $245 one couple spent on a cab home from the city to which they were rerouted.
In a June recommendation to the court, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston opined for the Court of Justice of the European Union that a flight may be considered canceled when it returns to its point of origin without landing at its destination.
"The carrier has carried no one, and nothing, anywhere," Sharpston wrote for the Luxembourg-based court.
Compensation may also include nonmaterial damages, she said, such as in the case when an airline has failed to provide care and assistance.
The Court of Justice adopted Sharpston's opinion, and ruled in favor of the passengers Thursday.
The court ruled that an air passenger has a right to seek compensation if an airline fails to pay for costs like meals, accommodation and communications that result from a canceled flight.
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