Tour operator can be liable for hotel accommodation provided by airline
The Austrian Supreme Court has recently decided a case where the return flight of the claimant’s package holiday was cancelled and the air carrier rebooked the claimant for the following day (OGH, Aug. 31, 2018, 6 Ob 146/18s). Complying with its obligation under Reg. (EC) 261/2004, the airline provided the claimant with hotel accommodation for the additional night. The claimant, a person of reduced mobility, took a walk in the area close to the hotel where she tripped, fell down and was injured. She sued the tour operator for compensation for pain and suffering.
The first instance court dismissed the claim without taking evidence and held that the hotel accommodation provided by the airline could not be attributed to the tour organiser. The appellate court set aside the judgment and referred the case back to the first instance court. Under package travel law, the organiser was obliged to provide accommodation if the return flight could not take place as agreed in the package holiday contract. By providing accommodation to the plaintiff, the airline had therefore not only fulfilled its own legal obligation but had also acted on behalf of the tour operator. If the accident had occurred on hotel premises and had been caused by non-compliance with local standards, the tour operator could be held liable. It was therefore up to the first instance court to take evidence to find out whether the accident had occurred on hotel premises and what had caused the accident.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the appellate court and concurred with the reasoning therein.
[Source: IFFTA News, October 2018]