The European Court of Justice Thursday held travelers whose travel package had been adversely affected by quarantine measures associated with COVID-19 may be entitled to a reduction in the package price.
The case concerned two German travelers who had booked a two-week package holiday in the Canary Islands in May 2020, just before COVID-19 restrictions came into effect globally. The travel organizers could not fulfill their obligations entailed in the package due to the quarantine measures.
The defendants brought a civil suit against their travel agent in a local Munich court, asking for a 70 percent reduction in the travel price. The Munich court dismissed the case, finding that health protection measures do not constitute a travel defect. The defendants appealed to the Regional Court I in Munich, which referred the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg.
The court observed that the travel organizers were strictly liable, and this liability could be waived only when the travelers themselves were responsible for the inability to fulfill package obligations. The judgment defined “lack of conformity” as a “failure to perform or improper performance of the travel services included in the package.”
Further, the court said:
The traveller is entitled to a price reduction for lack of conformity in the performance of the package contract, in circumstances where the lack of conformity is due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of an infectious disease that is prevalent at the travel destination, where such restrictions are also imposed in the traveller’s place of residence and worldwide.
The court left it to the respective national court to decide the appropriate price reduction, considering all pertinent circumstances.