Air Berlin has filed for bankruptcy – instructions for consumers

On 15 August 2017, the German airline Air Berlin declared itself insolvent and announced that it will file for bankruptcy. However, according to the airline, it will continue flight operations for the next three months, after being granted a temporary loan by the German government. We have put together some instructions for consumers who have purchased tickets for an Air Berlin flight. 

What should I do if I have purchased flights from Air Berlin for the autumn holiday, for example, and already paid for them?

It is best to wait and follow the situation. According to the company’s own announcement, flights will continue normally for around the next three months. Air Berlin has not yet been declared bankrupt, so consumers are not entitled to cancel their flight tickets and reclaim their money on the grounds of bankruptcy, and any cancellations must be handled in accordance with the vendor’s normal terms and conditions. However, you should actively follow the information provided by the company and the situation concerning your own flight. If your flight is cancelled, the company should inform you of this at the earliest possible stage. If bankruptcy proceedings are initiated, all flights may suddenly be cancelled at the same time.

What should I do if my flight with Air Berlin goes ahead, but arrival at my destination is delayed or my flight is cancelled and rerouted?

If your flight goes ahead, but arrival at the destination is delayed, you have the right to claim compensation in accordance with EU legislation. However, the German office of the European Consumer Centre advises consumers to be aware that it is unlikely that, under the prevailing circumstances, Air Berlin will process any claims or pay compensation for delays. The same applies to any claims for compensation filed earlier and pending processing by the company.

Should I continue buying flights from Air Berlin?

We do not recommend this, because the situation remains uncertain. The company itself has announced that flights will continue as usual for the next few months.

What should I do if Air Berlin is finally declared bankrupt?

You are best protected in the event of an airline bankruptcy if you paid for your flight ticket using a credit card. In the event of a bankruptcy, payment by credit card means that you can reclaim the ticket price directly from the party that issued your credit card rather than the bankruptcy estate. In addition, passengers who have purchased a package holiday are in a stronger position than those whose tickets are for a scheduled flight only. If necessary, we will issue further instructions on the matter on our website.

Follow the situation

If you have purchased a flight ticket from Air Berlin, follow developments in the situation from sources such as the airline’s own website. If you have any questions related to air passenger rights, further information is available on our website, or you can contact us directly. We are keeping a close eye on the situation concerning Air Berlin.