ECC: Insolvency of Air Berlin

After long economic turbulences, the German airline Air Berlin had to file for insolvency. What are the consequences for consumers?


Wait and see

Right now, consumers have to wait and see what the district court of Berlin-Charlottenburg decides about the motion. Until then, Air Berlin will continue to operate. They got a loan of 150 million Euro from the German government to secure "business as usual".

 If Air Berlin does go bankrupt and has to cease their operation, consumers could only file for compensation of the ticket price within the insolvency proceedings. In this scenario, they would only get a payment according to a ratio, which is often very small. Considering the amount of debts and creditors in the case of Air Berlin, chances of reimbursement are extremely limited.


Tips from ECC Austria

Therefore, it is advisable to book flights at another airline. It is not possible to withdraw from booked Air Berlin flights free of charge. The common terms for cancellation are still valid. If you have a cheap ticket, the costs for cancellation or rebooking are usually rather high. If you cancel, you are entitled to a refund of the taxes and fees that don't arise for the airline (e.g. fuel). Normally, those are only a small part of the ticket price.
In case of a package travel that includes flights of Air Berlin, the tour operator is responsible for securing a smooth service. If the flights get cancelled, he has to organise an alternative for your transportation.
Air Berlin provides current information on its website. According to them and other media reports, the Austrian subsidiary NIKI is not affected by the insolvency.


About ECC - Net

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) consists of 30 centres in all 28 EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. The centres offer free and personalised information, advice and assistance to consumers having problems with cross-border transactions. The network helps citizens to ensure that their consumer rights are respected and to reap the benefits of the Internal Market.


Additional information:
Sanita Gertmane
Consumer information and
Communications Division
Tel. 67388622, 26544528