The rights of air passengers 

The EU Regulation which is applied for almost a year now entitles the air passengers to:

  • compensation in case of denied boarding when there are too many passengers for the seats available;

  • meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation or refund of your ticket when the flight is delayed;

  • compensation for flight cancellation, unless the airline company gives a passenger sufficient advance notice.

When there are too many passengers for the seats available, an airline must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats in return for agreed benefits. If there are no seats available, provided you check in on time and have got a valid ticket, you are entitled for a relevant compensation. The airline must give you a choice of either a refund of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made (and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan); re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to availability of seats.

You may also request for the additional compensations:

  • €250 for flights of 1 500 km or less (€125, if the flight is not delayed more than 2 hours);

  • €400 for longer flights within the EU and for other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km (€200, if the flight is not delayed more than 3 hours);

  • €600 for flights over 3 500 km outside the EU (€300, if the flight is not delayed more than 4 hours).

In case of overbooking the airline must also give you the following assistance: meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time and hotel accommodation when necessary. In addition, passengers should be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails in order to inform of the unforeseen travel arrangements. If you choose an alternative flight to another airport, the airline must refund your ticket to your final destination.

If an air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, the passenger is entitled to claim reimbursement of 30 %, 50 % or 75 % of the price of the ticket subject to the travelling distance.

It is not necessary for you as a passenger to contact the airline company requesting the above mentioned compensations and assistance. It should be matter - of - course to an air carrier to offer you those.

It is extremely uncomfortable when your flight is cancelled a day before or a few hours before the flight to your holiday destination. According to the EU Regulation which came into force in February 2005, the passengers should be entitled to a choice of either a refund of their ticket (with a free flight back to the initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to the final destination, and additional services, i.e. meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation and communication facilities.

You can also claim the damages from the airline due to the delay of carrying the passengers and their baggage to the final destination. If the flight doesn't arrive in time to the final destination resulting the additional costs or losses, e.g. costs for an unforeseen hotel accommodation, meals, lost income due to being late for business meeting), the responsibility of the airline company may run up to EUR 5000).

When delayed, the airline must offer free meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary and communication facilities, when it is possible to foresee that the flight would be delayed by two hours, in respect of all flights of 1 500 kilometres or less; or by three hours, in respect of all intra-Community flights of more than 1 500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres; or by four hours, in respect of all longer flights.

If you have to wait for the flight more than 5 hours, the airline must give you a choice of either a refund of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made (and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan); re-routing to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience.

 
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