As millions of British residents make holiday plans for the summer, they put their happiness in the hands of the airline companies, travel agencies and agents. Whether their holiday plans go off smoothly or not is somehow dependent on these external bodies. Flight delays and cancellations have been known to ruin plenty of elaborate plans in the past, with research data revealing over 3.2 million passengers travelling yearly to and from UK airports having legitimate claims for flight delays or European flight delay compensation.
The law passed by the European commission in 2005 stated that passengers can claim flight delay refunds dating back to six years from their date of journey. The passengers who make a successful claim, receive approximately 430 Euros on an average. Recent cases however, have cemented and clarified the circumstances where payouts are given out and have pressured airlines into obeying the rules.
Around 1.5 percent of flights into and out of the UK are delayed more than three hours, according to the European Commission. Certain operators such as package holiday companies have a higher chance of facing frequent cases of flight delays, as per Iain Osborne, a senior at the Civil Aviation Authority.
European flight delay compensation – knowing when to apply rules
For a passenger to be eligible to claim flight delay compensation, the flight must have taken off from an EU-based airport or landed in the EU on an EU-based carrier. While technically not a part of the EU, airports in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway also have to follow the same flight delay compensation rules that are applicable in the EU. However, helicopter flights in and out of Gibraltar do not come under the rule. To be eligible to claim flight delay compensation, passengers should have a paid airline ticket (discounted or free travel does not count).
The passenger also needs to have reservations on the specific flight, not counting cancellations and must also have checked-in according to the rules of the airline – at least 45 minutes prior to departure, unless rules are specified.
If the airline is expected to be late, a notice must be clearly displayed allowing passengers to be wary of enquiring about their rights if the flight is delayed beyond a certain period of time. The notice also needs to inform passengers about their rights and when they can make relevant claims, such as in the case of delays or cancellations.
Few examples of European flight delay compensation
- Flight flying from London to New York on American Airlines flown by American Airlines – here the rules are applicable as the departure airport is in the EU. They will however, not be applicable for the second leg as New York is not a part of the EU and it is with a non-EU airline.
- Flights from London to New York on British Airways – the rules come into play on the flight to New York as London is in the EU and British Airways is an EU airline.