9 April 2021

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Say No to Airline No Show Clauses

by The Good Lobby

The Good Lobby has assisted the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) on their strategy to foster consumer’ protection on air travel with the ban of the “no show” clause throughout the European Union.

The purchase of a ticket is often perceived as exclusively an exchange of money for a service. However consumers are also entitled to extensive rights in air transport, especially under EU law jurisdiction.  

Under the ‘no show’ clauses (NSCs) airlines are allowed to prohibit passengers from boarding a connecting or return flight, simply because they missed a single segment on their itinerary. Oftentimes this forces passengers to pay a supplementary fee or pay for another flight altogether, allowing airlines to potentially double their money by reselling the seats they have cancelled.

The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) aims to ensure that Europe’s consumer interests are protected and that they fully benefit from the single market.  Back in 2015, a representative from BEUC reached out to The Good Lobby to request a legal analysis that could help boost their lobbying campaign. The campaign hoped to put an end to the ‘no show’ clauses of airline companies towards European consumers. 

After careful consideration, The Good Lobby matched the BEUC with students of the HEC & NYU Public Interest Clinic, who acted under the scientific supervision of  Professor Anne-Lise Sibony. The clinic students worked to produce a strategy paper rooted in thorough legal research that could identify a number of avenues for tackling the no-show clauses. These included rebutting airline arguments against banning no-show clauses, planning a strategic litigation campaign and providing support to aggrieved consumers.

The Case

The legal analysis (available here) is comprehensive of three dimensions. The first includes multi jurisdictional and multilingual research into the current state of the use of “no show” clauses in air transport contracts across the EU. Furthermore, the analysis investigated arguments in favour of the European Commissions’ original proposal to ban the inclusion of such clauses under both consumer and competition law. Finally, it prepared a legal and strategic memo supporting the European Commission’s original proposal to ban the inclusion of “no show” clauses in air transport contracts within the forthcoming revised Passengers’ Right Regulation.

 

 

The Outcome:

Though the legislative proposal on the NSC ban throughout the European Union has currently been stuck at the Council of Ministers for the past five years, the report helped to profoundly improve the arguments of the campaign, thereby bettering the lobby work of The European Consumer Organization. Through the work of The Good Lobby, both the client and legal advisors were able to utilise each other in a beneficial and practical way.

 

Pro Bono Monetary Value:

 

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