Flight delays can be frustrating, but things can take a turn for the worse if your flight is cancelled or rescheduled. There is no way to know if you will be rerouted, or even if you will be able to make it to your destination in time. When an airline does not allow you to board a flight, in spite of having a valid ticket in your hand, it is well within your rights to claim a fair compensation for your troubles.
The EU has a set of guidelines that highlight the responsibilities of airlines and protect the rights of passengers in such situations. The Denied Boarding Regulation was passed in 2004. It is applicable on all flights and community carriers departing from the EU and those licensed in the EU.
What does the regulation say?
The Denied Boarding Regulation covers not only the factors that come into play when passengers are denied boarding due to reasons like overbooking, but also includes cancellations as well as delays. The regulation is applicable if the airline does not allow few of its passengers to board the flight or when the flight’s timings are changed without prior notice. However, the following conditions also need to be fulfilled to make the regulation applicable:
- The passengers are not allowed to board a flight
- The flight is cancelled
- There is a delay (under ordinary circumstances) in the flight timings
- The ticket held is reserved and confirmed (the regulation does not apply to those travelling free, or on discounted tickets)
- The passengers check-in on time (at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure, in case no time is specified)
Compensation for flight delay
When flights are rescheduled, cancelled or overbooked, the first thing that airlines are expected to do is to call for volunteers to exchange their tickets for a list of benefits. If there are not enough volunteers, the carrier has no choice, but to provide compensation for flight delay or cancellation. The airline is required to provide meals, accommodation and transport facilities between your hotel and the airport. It also needs to give you access to services like telephone, fax and internet to contact your family.
In addition to all of the above, the airline will also have to pay you monetary compensation for flight delay as long as the delay is caused by ordinary circumstances.
- 250 EUR for flights that are short haul- less than 1500 km
- 400 EUR for medium haul flights between 1500 and 3500 km
- 300 EUR for long-haul flights between 3 to 4 hours and 600 EUR for more than four hours- over 3500 km
If the delay lasts for over five hours, compensation for flight delay can include a full reimbursement of the cost of the ticket. If the journey cannot be rescheduled or rerouted through a different set of flights, the airline will have to reimburse the cost of the ticket or arrange for a flight back to the original point of departure, in case it was a connecting flight. The cash reimbursement is to be done within seven days.