The detailed EU Regulation 261/2004 states out the rights of passengers in the case of an aircraft being delayed or cancelled. Other than flight delay rules, it also covers passengers’ rights if he/she is denied boarding. As an airline passenger, you are entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed (well over three hours) or cancelled.
Applicability of EU Regulation 261/2004
The regulation is applicable to any passenger arriving at an airport or deporting from one situated inside the territory of an EU member state.
Protection given to any passenger departing to or from an airport situated in an EU member state must be extended to flyers exiting an airport situated in a third country. The destination or arrival point must be situated inside an EU member state, in case the flight is operated by a Community Carrier. In this context, Community Carrier is described as any carrier, which is given a licence for operating within a particular community.
In short, the passenger must be departing from an European Union member state or travelling to any EU member state using an airline based in any EU member state.
The concerned person should have the following documents to file for EU flight delay claims:
Confirmed reservation on flight
Proof that the concerned passenger had arrived the airport on time for the mandatory check-in. It can be verified from the ticket issued by the airline. Passengers must arrive 45 minutes prior to the flight’s scheduled departure time. It is to be noted that a passenger travelling on a discount or free ticket cannot file for a claim. However, exceptions include a bonus ticket given by any frequent flyer program.
The airline, prior to forcefully denying any passengers from boarding the plane, must seek volunteers willing to give up their reservation in lieu of benefits negotiated between the volunteers and airline. Even if a negotiation is not done, volunteers are entitled to re-routing or reimbursement. In case there is a shortage of volunteers, the airline can bar passengers from boarding the flight.
In case a flight is cancelled, all passengers are entitled to :
- Get re-routed to the destination as soon as possible
- Get re-routed at a later time, at the convenience of the passenger
- Receive their ticket refund and also get a return flight to their first departure point, if relevant.
If a delay is expected by the airline, then passengers can file flight delay claims only if the expected delay exceeds a certain amount of time.
- If flight distance is less than 1,500 kilometres, and the time of delay exceeds three hours, then the airline should give €250 as compensation.
- If flight distance is more than 1,500 kilometres, but less than 3,500 kilometres, and the time of delay exceeds three hours, then the airline should give €400 as compensation.
- If flight distance is more than 3,500 kilometres, and the time of delay is between three and four hours, or exceeds four hours, then the airline should give €600 as compensation.
Do keep in mind that the airline can deny any compensation in case the delay was caused due to “extraordinary circumstances”. They include reasons beyond the airline’s control.