On 22 November 2022, a first instance court in Marbella ruled that an airline, Iberia, must refund almost 900 euros to passengers who cancelled their flights in 2020 due to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, despite the flights ultimately taking place as scheduled.

EU Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights provides for reimbursement of the ticket in case of cancellation by the airline – which was not the case here. However, the court considered the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic to be a justified reason for the passengers to cancel their flights. The airline argued that there was no breach of contract as the flights operated as scheduled, but the court accepted the argument that the pandemic constituted a force majeure event that justified the passengers’ cancellation. The court ordered Iberia to refund the price of the tickets plus interest.

Reference: Juzgado de Primera Instancia N°. 3 de Marbella, Sentencia 316/2022 de 22 November 2022, Proc. 1129/2022.

Full text of the decision available at es