The pilot is responsible for secure transport of passengers, and in this respect also carries police powers, the Frankfurt higher regional court (OLG) said.
The verdict rejected a damages suit filed by a group of 146 passengers who had not been allowed to fly after refusing to sit down and buckle up at takeoff. The captain declined to fly the plane and forced the passengers to disembark.
The group of willful passengers tried to sue the airline for the costs of their replacement tickets.
But the Frankfurt court found no legal basis in their liability claims because the passengers had violated a legal contract for safe passage with their behaviour.
Thus the captain was correct in refusing to fly with them despite their purchase of tickets, the court found.