The EU regulation on flights was passed in 2004 to protect the rights of air passengers in cases of flight delays, flight cancellations, missed connecting flights, or denied boarding. Under this regulation, you may be entitled to up to €600 in compensation and other juicy benefits. However, many people still are not aware of their rights under the EU law and how to claim this compensation. What’s there to know? Keep reading to learn more.
What is the EU 261/2004 Regulation?
Also known as the flight compensation regulation, the EU 261 law protects your rights against any form of flight disruption. If you are inconvenienced by an airline, you should be duly compensated, and this regulation ensures you are treated fairly.
You could get about €250 – €600 in monetary compensation, depending on the flight distance covered, while a short-distance flight would attract €250, a medium distance would attract €400, and a long distance, €600. Other perks to expect include complimentary food and drinks, access to a telephone and internet connection, and a free hotel booking for long overnight delays.
You also have the right to reschedule your flight or join the next available flight on the same airline. In some cases, you may get a full refund of your flight ticket, especially when you’ve been delayed for over 5 hours or your flight has been cancelled.
This law only applies in the following situations:
- Your flight is taking off from a European region or the UK.
- Your flight is arriving in the EU or UK with an airline headquartered there.
- You were informed of the flight disruption less than 14 days before the scheduled departure date.
- In the case of a delay, you already checked in on time, which should be 45 minutes before departure.
- The airline is responsible for the flight disruption, as seen in cases such as pilot unfit to fly, unavailable crew members, and mechanical issues, among others. A government ban restricting flights would not be applicable here, as that is beyond the airline’s control.
More importantly, you should note that airlines are obliged to inform every passenger of their rights under the EU law. This includes making the law visible enough for you to see, be it in their offices, help desk, their website, or on the plane.
How to Claim Compensation
Claiming compensation may sometimes prove difficult, but it can also be a walk in the park if you understand clearly how it works.
The first step is knowing your full rights concerning the flight compensation regulation. Then, you can go ahead to request the reason behind the disruption. Contact the airline’s helpdesk or send a direct email and let them put it in a written format.
If the reason is within the airline’s control, start gathering all relevant documents to kickstart the process. This includes your booking information, tickets, boarding and luggage pass, receipts, and vouchers.
Putting all the information together, you can go ahead and apply on the airline’s website or via their email. Each airline has its unique process for claiming compensation.