If the trip is not taken or canceled, airlines must reimburse the so-called taxes and fees even if they are not explicitly shown on the booking confirmation. This was decided by the German Federal Court of Justice based on a lawsuit against Ryanair.
Some low-cost airlines, including Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air, do not explicitly show those costs that are only to be paid by the airline if you actually fly when booking the flight or on the booking confirmation. The former carrier even claims that they don't pay "government taxes". This is nonsense, of course, but this lack of transparency is calculated.
A large number of additional costs, such as ticket tax, passenger and security fees and other passenger-related taxes, fees and charges only apply if the passenger actually flies. Simple example: Passengers pay a fee for the use of airport terminals via their airline. If you don't fly, the airline doesn't have to pay anything to the airport. The same applies to the security fee, because if you don't travel, you don't have to go through the "Siko". Even the ticket tax (in Germany “air traffic tax”) is only due if you are not a no-show.
The additional costs are collected in the course of paying for the flight ticket. These are priced into the final price, excluding any extra services such as checked baggage or seat reservations. Many carriers break down “taxes and fees” in detail. Not as low-cost airlines as Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air. The reason for this is very simple, because if you want the “taxes” back from these providers in the event of cancellations or “no-show”, they will oppose you and claim that you I didn't pay any at all.
Since the rate of those passengers who secure a bargain but don't show up at all on the day of departure is particularly high with low-cost airlines, a considerable fee is incurred. Airlines only have to refund the taxes if the passenger actually requests it. Incidentally, travelers have up to three years to do this, depending on the national statute of limitations. However, this presupposes that the airline does not resort to a lack of transparency and suggests that no taxes and fees have been paid at all. According to the BGH, whether these are priced in or explicitly broken down does not matter at all. It does not change the claim that those costs that the airline only has to pay when you actually fly have to be reimbursed.
The low-cost airline Ryanair has fought a case all the way to the German Supreme Court and suffered a legal defeat. The lower courts have already decided that the low coster must reimburse the taxes and fees. It was actually a multi-stage court case, because first the plaintiffs had to sue for information, because the company did not want to disclose the amount of the taxes. Subsequently, a claim for repayment was filed, up to the Federal Court of Justice, because Ryanair did not accept the judgments of the lower courts and appealed in each case.
The passenger rights portal “Ersatz-Pilot.de” has gone to court on behalf of a client and, as a result of the judgment of the highest court, it is now clear in Germany that taxes and fees must also be reimbursed if the airline suggests by not showing that you wouldn't have paid at all.
It is also noteworthy that this time Ryanair took a decision from the Federal Court of Justice. Again and again, the company - just like competitors who use a comparable business practice - is sued for the reimbursement of taxes. So-called legal service providers, who have had the claims assigned to them or who work on a commission basis, often go to court. In most cases, the company pays at the latest after you are unsuccessful in the second instance.
It is still considered unlikely that Ryanair will fundamentally change business practice – at least in relation to the German market – and simplify the reimbursement of taxes and fees. The Federal Court of Justice ruling should therefore ensure that the coffers ring at passenger rights portals, because due to the comparatively small amounts in dispute, it is quite possible that these fall below any lower limits for private legal protection insurance or that one or the other policyholder shy away from the potential risk of termination by the insurance company.