As flying has become much safer in the past decades, the legislative bodies of the EU have been codifying regulations to make the valuables and rights of passengers safer too. In the following section I will introduce the passenger rights and how to claim them based on the regulations in effect. If you’re in trouble with claiming your rights or airlines refuse your claim, feel free to contact us with confidence for help.
Passenger right secured by EU regulations shall apply,
- If your flight is within the EU and is operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline
- If your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline
- If your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline
- If you have not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing, assistance from the airline) for flight related problems for this journey under the relevant law of a non-EU country.
You are entitled to claim your rights if any of the following problems occurs:
Cancellation occurs when:
- your original flight schedule is abandoned and you are transferred to another scheduled flight
- the aircraft took off but, was forced to return to the airport of departure and you were transferred to another flight
- your flight arrives at an airport which is not the final destination indicated on your ticket,unless:
- You accepted re-routing (under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity) to the airport of your original final destination or to any other destination agreed by you. In this case it is considered as adelay and not a cancellation.
- The airport of arrival and the airport of the original final destination serve the same town, city or region. In this case it is considered as adelay and not a cancellation.
If your flight is cancelled you have the right to reimbursement, re-routing or return, as well as the right to assistance and a right to compensation. Compensation is due if you were informed less than 14 days prior to the scheduled departure date. The airline has the obligation to prove if and when you were personally informed that the flight was cancelled. If this is not the case you can contact your national authorityfor further assistance.
However, compensation is not due if the carrier can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances.
If your flight is delayed at departure, you have the right to assistance, to reimbursement and a return flight, depending on the duration of the delay and the distance of the flight.
If you arrived at your final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, you are entitled to compensation, unless the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances.
You may be denied boarding:
- For safety, security or health reasons (for example if you did not inform the airline in advance of any severe allergies) or if you don’t have the correct travel documents (more information ondocuments you need for travel in Europe)
- If you didn’t take the outbound flight of a reservation which included a return flight
- If you didn’t take the other flight(s) included in a reservation with consecutive flights
- If you don’t have the relevant documentation for your pet when it is travelling with you
If you have presented yourself on time for check-in with a valid flight reservation and travel documentation and you’re denied boarding due to overbooking or for operational reasons, and you don’t voluntarily give up your seat, you are entitled to:
- the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking at a later stage and
- assistance from the airline
If you have presented yourself on time for the check-in with a valid flight reservation and travel documentation and you’re denied boarding due to overbooking or for operational reasons, and you don’t voluntarily give up your seat, you are entitled to claim the rights mentioned at the „denied boarding” section above.
Upgrading or downgrading
If you are upgraded, the airline can’t request any additional payment.
If you are downgraded, you are entitled to reimbursement of a percentage of the price of your ticket, depending on the flight distance as follows:
- a) 30% – flights of 1 500 km or less
- b) 50% – flights within the EU of more than 1 500 km (except flights between the EU and French overseas departments), and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km
- c) 75% – flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the EU and French overseas departments.
If you have 2 or more connecting flights included in a single ticket, you can only be reimbursed for the flight which was downgraded and not for the entire journey. The reimbursement should be paid within 7 days.
Lost, damaged or delayed luggage
If your checked-in luggage is lost, damaged or delayed, the airline is liable and you’re entitled to compensation up to an amount of approximately EUR 1 300. However if the damage was caused by an inherent defect in the baggage itself, you’re not entitled to any compensation.
If your hand luggage is damaged the airline is liable if it was responsible for the damage.
If you want to file a claim for lost or damaged luggage, you should do it in writing to the airline within 7 days, or within 21 days of receiving your luggage if it was delayed. There is no standard EU-wide form.
How to claim your rights?
Step 1 : Complain to the airline
You should first send your complaint to the airline using the EU-wide air passenger rights complaint form
Step 2 : Complain to national authorities
If you don’t receive a reply from the airline within 2 months or if you are not satisfied with the reply, and if you consider that your EU air passenger rights were not respected, you can lodge a complaint with the relevant national authorityin the country where the incident took place, within a reasonable time-frame.
The national authority should provide you with a non-binding legal opinion on how to proceed with your claim.
Step 3 : Use Alternative Dispute Resolution Entities (ADR) / Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)
If you are not satisfied with the response given by the airline, you can submit your dispute to an out-of-court procedure or an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity (ADR). If you bought your ticket online, you can submit your complaint via the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform .
ADR and ODR are only open to EU residents.
Step 4 : Going to court
For flights between EU countries (operated by one airline) you may submit a claim for compensation under EU rules using the European Small Claims procedure. You can submit your claim either at the place of arrival or departure. You may also bring the matter before the courts in the country where the airline is registered. The time limits for bringing an action against an airline in a national court are defined in accordance with national rules on the limitation of actions in each EU country.
This article was made summarizing the content of the following regulations:
Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation
Regulation (ec) no 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community
Regulation (EC) No 889/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents