Passengers traveling on flights in Europe can claim compensation if their flight is delayed or canceled. But what about if it is brought forward? 

A top European Court ruled on December 21, 2021 that if a carrier brings a flight forward by more than one hour, it must be regarded as having been canceled, because it could cause a similar inconvenience for passengers.  

“Where a flight has been brought forward in this way, passengers are unable to use their time as they wish and to organize their trip or holiday in line with their expectations,” the Court of Justice of the European Union said in a press release. 

“Accordingly, passengers may, inter alia, be forced to adapt significantly to the new departure time in order to be able to take their flight, or may even be unable, despite having taken the necessary precautions, to board the aircraft.”  

Passengers in the EU have the right to claim up to €600 ($677) in compensation for delayed or canceled flights, depending on the length of the flight.  

The court said instances where passengers have the right to claim compensation for flights brought forward indicate that, for example, there was “late communication” of the flight change.  

The court’s ruling came after disputes in courts in Germany and Austria between passenger compensation firms Airhelp and flightright and airlines Azurair, Corendon Airlines, Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Laudamotion, over compensation to passengers whose flights were brought forward. 

“We welcome the ruling from the European Court, because bringing a flight forward can have serious consequences for the travel plans for passengers and this ruling has therefore strengthened their rights,” Claudia Brosche, passenger rights expert at Flightright said in a statement on December 22, 2021.