The vast majority of air passenger rights are regulated by the European Regulation No 261/2004 which aims to ensure a high level of protection for passengers. After entering into force on 14 February 2005, the regulation introduces basic protection for passengers when they find themselves in a situation of being denied boarding against their will, cancellations without prior warning and long delays. In such cases, passengers are entitled to compensation as well as to assistance.
The European Regulation No 261/2004 is directly binding in all European Union Member states.
The Regulation applies:
If your flight is cancelled, regardless of when you were notified of the cancellation, pursuant to Regulation No 261/2004 your airline company must offer you the choice between:
According to Regulation No 261/2004, in the event of a cancelled flight, passengers shall be compensated amounting to:
|Distance||Delay (at final destination after potential rebooking and/or re-routing)|
|Less than 2 hours||From 2h to 3h||From 3h to 4h||More than 4 hours||Never Arrived|
|Delayed||less than 1500km||€0||€0||€250||€250||€250|
|from 1500km to 3500km||€0||€0||€400||€400||€400|
|more than 3500km||€0||€0||€300||€600||€600|
|Cancelled||less than 1500km||€125||€250||€250||€250||€250|
|from 1500km to 3500km||€200||€200||€400||€400||€400|
|more than 3500km||€300||€300||€300||€600||€600|
|Overbooked||less than 1500km||€250||€250||€250||€250||€250|
|from 1500km to 3500km||€400||€400||€400||€400||€400|
|more than 3500km||€600||€600||€600||€600||€600|
Your other entitlements will depend on when you were notified about the cancellation.
• If you received notice of the cancellation between 7 days and 2 weeks before the scheduled time of departure:
First case: You chose a re-routing which departed no more than 2 hours before the original departure time and arrived no more than 4 hours after the original arrival time, then you are not eligible to compensation from your air carrier.
Second case: You chose a re-routing outside of those timeframes, you are entitled to compensation unless the airline proves the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.
• If you received notice of the cancellation less than 7 days before the scheduled time of departure:
First case: You chose a re-routing which departed no more than 1 hour before the original departure time and arrived no more than 2 hours after the original arrival time, then you are not eligible to compensation from your air carrier.
Second case: The re-routing you choose was outside of those timeframes, you are entitled to claim the application of cancelled flights rules unless the air carrier proves the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.
It is important to note that if you chose re-routing shortly after the flight cancellation, the airline company shall provide you with care and assistance whilst you are waiting on your alternative flight. In accordance with European law, passengers are entitled to free meals as well as refreshments. In addition, they have the right to make phone calls free of charge or to send two faxes, telex or e-mails to inform others about the delay
Therefore, the expenses generated by the cancellation are the responsibility of the airlines. For example, should the flight back to your airport of origin be deferred to the next day, the hotel and restaurant charges are the responsibility of the airline. If you’re travelling with family members, the rules apply to each and every passenger.
• If you received notice of the cancellation more than 2 weeks before the scheduled time of departure:
In accordance with the provisions of Regulation No 261/2004, you are not entitled to indemnification from the airline.
• If your flight is delayed more than five hours:
If there has been an unjustified delayed for more than five hours, you are entitled to claim the application of cancelled flights regulations.
In the event of a flight cancellation, the airline shall provide passengers with care and assistance. In accordance with Regulation No 261/2004, passengers shall be offered meals and refreshments free of charge, as well as hotel accommodation and transport when necessary. In addition, passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages or e-mails.
However, it is common for airline companies to derogate from their obligations of care and assistance. Unfortunately, the passenger will often be forced to personally incur the additional costs such as meals, refreshments or transport.
For this reason, it is crucial to keep invoices and / or receipts in order to be refunded by the airline.
Yes your rights are guaranteed by the European Commission and all EU Member states, but airline companies may stall for time and tend to overuse the “exceptional conditions” justifying a delay when in fact a mechanical problem was the cause of the issue. Indeed, in the confusion of a crowded airport, anything can be said without consequence as the passenger may be misinformed, and information is easily forgotten. Furthermore, if you write a letter of complaint asking to be reimbursed, it can be difficult to question the validity of the reasons given for the delay by the airline (when you are lucky enough to receive an answer…).
By connecting to Air Traffic databases, our system can accurately and irrefutably identify the causes of delayed flights. This system developed by our team prevents airlines from claiming fanciful reasons for delays and allows unequivocal application of the relevant regulation.
This operational credibility combined with our network of lawyers enables us to make faster claims and improve the success rate of the indemnification process with the airline’s legal department.
For more details, you can also visit the website dealing with this topic: