EU Airline Compensation Rights

 

This material provides a summary of the relevant EU legislation. Any legal claim or action taken in the event of a dispute should be based solely on the legal texts concerned. These may be found in the Official Journal of the European Union.


Denied boarding and cancellation

If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled, the airline operating your flight must offer you financial compensation and assistance. These rights apply, provided you check in on time, for any flight, including charters: from an EU airport, or to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline.

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. These must include the choice of either refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to your final destination.

If you are not a volunteer, the airline must pay you compensation of:

Compensation may be halved if you are not delayed more than 2, 3 or 4 hours, respectively.

The airline must also give you: a choice of either a refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to your final destination, and meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary (including transfers) and communication facilities.

Cancellation

Whenever your flight is cancelled, the operating airline must give you:

a choice of either a refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to your final destination, and meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary (including transfers) and communication facilities. The airline may also have to compensate you, at the same level as for denied boarding, unless it gives you sufficient advance notice and offers alternative transport close to the original time.

Compensation or refunds may be in cash, by bank transfer or cheque or, with your signed agreement, in travel vouchers, and must be paid within 7 days. If you do not receive these rights, complain immediately to the airline operating the flight.

Long Delays

Immediate assistance

If you check in on time for any flight, including charters:

and if the airline operating the flight expects a delay:

When the delay is 5 hours or more, the airline must also offer to refund your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant). If you do not receive these rights, complain immediately to the airline operating the flight.

Later claims

When an EU airline is responsible for the delay of a flight anywhere in the world, you may claim up to 4 150 SDR* for any resulting damages. If the airline does not agree with your claim, you may go to court.

You can claim from the airline with which you have a contract or from that actually operating the flight, if they are different.

* 1 SDR = 1,18 € as at 30.9.2004. For the current exchange rate, contact Europe Direct.

Baggage

You may claim up to 1 000 SDR* for damages caused by the destruction, damage, loss or delay of your baggage on a flight by an EU airline, anywhere in the world. If the airline does not agree with your claim, you may go to court. For damage to checked-in baggage, you must claim in writing within 7 days of its return and for delayed baggage within 21 days of its return.

You can claim from the airline with which you have a contract or from that actually operating the flight, if they are different.

* 1 SDR = 1,18 € as at 30.9.2004. For the current exchange rate, contact Europe Direct.

Injury and death in accidents

You may claim for damages caused by injury or death resulting from an accident on a flight by an EU airline, anywhere in the world. You have the right to an advance payment for immediate economic needs. If the airline does not agree with your claim, you may go to court.

You can claim from the airline with which you have a contract or from that actually operating the flight, if they are different.

Package Holidays

In addition to the rights described above, you may claim damages from your tour operator if it fails to provide the services you have booked within the EU, whatever your destination. These rights apply to failure to provide any flight included in your package. Moreover, if the tour operator does not provide a significant part of the package booked, it is obliged to assist you and make alternative arrangements, including travel, without extra cost to you.

What to do first

If you encounter one of the problems covered in this leaflet, then you should immediately ask the representative of the airline operating your flight to deal with your problem.

If you are affected by denied boarding, a cancellation or a long delay and the operating airline does not fulfil their obligations, then you should complain to the relevant national enforcement body. If your flight departs from an EU country, complain there. If you are travelling from outside to the EU, and your flight is operated by an EU airline, complain in the EU country where it lands.

For the name and address of the relevant authority, or details of organisations which can advise or help with other complaints (for example, baggage, injury or death, and package holidays), contact the Europe Direct freephone on 00 800 6 7 "8 9 10 11, or e-mail mail@europe-direct.cec.eu.int.

You may inform the European Commission, B-1049 Brussels, of the follow-up given to your complaint by fax (32-2) 29 9"1015 or e-mail: tren-aprights@cec.eu.int.