According to European regulation EC 261/2004 and other rulings, you have 3 cumulative rights:
No single right excludes the others, and all of them are free. Assistance is automatic, whereas compensation must be requested. The airline companies are heavily penalized if they do not re-spect these obligations.
The obligation to provide assistance starts from the point of check-in and ends with the final arrival of the flight itself, or its replacement (in the event of rerouting), or the refund of the ticket.
Assistance basically comprises food (meals, drinks), taxi/bus and hotel vouchers and can in-clude other necessary expenses (if backed up with supporting evidence).
The entitlement to free rerouting or a 100% refund starts on the date of the cancellation, or after 5 hours of delay if you request to depart, or at the initiative of the airline company. It is subject to your approval. The airline cannot demand additional fees.
If the reason for your journey no longer serves any purpose, rather than receive a refund or be rerouted to your destination, you can request to return to your airport of origin, without incurring additional fees. You can also request that any unused flights be rescheduled to another day.
If your reservation includes corresponding flights or return flights, these rules apply to all flights included in the booking.
Once this right has been used, no further assistance is due (it’s considered as though you have reached your final destination as per your original reservation).
The entitlement to compensation applies when:
According to the regulations, the amount of financial compensation due to passengers is rela-tive to the distance of the flight and should be paid by the operating airline company, which provided the aircraft and the crew. This may not be the same company as the one that sold the ticket because of code sharing agreements.
The legislation applies to all flights inside the European Union. Other flights operated by EU air-line companies are also affected, as long as they depart or arrive at a European airport. If the airline company is not European, only flights departing from an EU airport are included.
Obviously, the EU laws do not apply to flights outside of the EU, even if the airline company is European.
Other than EU countries, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland have also adhered to these regulations. Other countries may have similar regulations (Canada, India, United States, Turkey, etc.)
All passengers are entitled to benefit from these rights, even those who are not citizens of the EU and/or live outside the EU.
Children also have the right to receive compensation, except if they are travelling free of charge.
Assistance and compensation rights are issued directly to those passengers who fall victim of flight disruptions. Generally, a ticket refund is granted to the party who paid for the ticket (physical person or agency), even though the law stipulates that the ticket must be reimbursed directly to the passenger.
Travel agencies and booking companies are excluded from these obligations. They provide as-sistance to passengers, but they are not specialized in compensation claims (Note that a lot of travel agencies also transmit their cases to us so that we can defend their clients).
Certain situations are not covered by the legislation (eg a flight brought forward, connecting flights), there are specific circumstances which are not clearly explained. Court rulings and judgements bring clarity in some areas. However, there is a lot of controversy in many situations that the airline companies attempt to use to avoid paying out.
With the exception of denied boarding or providing assistance, the ruling of 261/2004 excludes airlines responsibility under certain “exceptional circumstances”. such as: bad weather, trade union strikes, terrorist acts, safety or air traffic control problems along with some other less spe-cific situations.
This results in airline companies often rejecting requests, hence in-depth expertise in the dispute process is required. Frequently, our audit shows that the circumstances invoked are not correct, and this is subsequently confirmed by the courts or by the airline governing body.
These rights can be claimed up to 2, or even 12 years after the date of departure, depending on the country (in most cases 3 to 5 years).
We can investigate your specific case. Simply write to us at email@example.com with all the de-tails. We will inform you of your rights and offer you the best solution.
Delayed flights and/or poor connecting flights. (on the website version should this be a heading rather than at the bottom of the paragraph?)
Passengers arriving at their destination with more than 3 hours delay have the right to the follow-ing compensation, based on the flight distance:
Given that the 261/2004 ruling is not clear on certain points, it is generally accepted (tacitly or based on more recent court rulings) that:
Although it is not included in the 261/2004 ruling, it has been the subject of certain court rulings. It is generally accepted that during the reservation process, it is the responsibility of the airline to allow sufficient time between 2 flights reserved together. Compensation has even been due where the first flight is delayedfor less than 3 hours, and it has resulted in the passenger being unable to board their connecting flight.
In the event of rerouting, the final arrival at the last airport is used to calculate the distance and the delay in relation to the initial flight, as though all flights taken were one.
Then, all the other rules (see below) regarding flight delays apply.
In the event of flight cancellations, passengers benefit from two entitlements:
However, if an alternative flight is proposed which arrives earlier, at the same time or a few hours later, the compensation is reduced by half:
Note that this only applies to rerouting due to cancellation, not for delays or other situations.
There are some exceptions. Compensation is not due if:
Certain companies sell more tickets than seats available on the airplane, based on their expectations that some passengers will not turn up (“No show”). Companies may also transfer passengers from cancelled and overbooked flights to other flights, resulting in there not being enough seats available, which also leads to some passengers being denied boarding.
In the event of boarding being denied, the passenger has the right to compensation no matter what the circumstances.
Generally, airline companies ask willing passengers to give up their seat and take a later flight, they may offer hotel vouchers and/or food or other incentives. However, their offer is probably less than what the passenger is being asked to waive. As a general rule, your best option is to refuse such an offer and contact us.
You will then receive compensation as well as a replacement flight, food and hotel vouchers etc until you reach your destination.
It is not worth claiming if any of the following apply to you (however, do not always believe what the airline company staff tell you):
Technical problems are one of the arguments most frequently used by airline companies to re-fuse compensation. This is because, unlike respecting schedules, for example, they are very difficult for passengers to challenge. However, we can easily submit claims for compensation with a success rate of almost 100%.
In addition, please note that the airline companies have no obligation to refund:
For these expenses, we suggest you check whether you are covered by insurance (credit card, travel assistance, etc.) because the 261/2004 ruling does not take these situations into account.
That said, legal systems throughout the world, under certain circumstances, may rule that losses be compensated (within a period of 3 to 7 years). Therefore, we recommend that you always send us all the relevant expenses and supporting documents and we will investigate what can potentially be claimed.
Finally, note that we will always examine your case more broadly, taking into considera-tion other (international and local) legislation in terms of passenger rights. Even if you are not eligible for compensation with regard to European law, other legislation may en-title you to potential compensation.
Thanks to our expertise, we investigate all legal possibilities in order to achieve the best result for you …