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    March 29, 2024

    Decoding EU Air Passenger Rights: What You Need to Know

    When it comes to traveling, the fastest way to go from one place to another is generally by airplane. However, many people are wary of going by plane, fearing their luggage will get lost or their flights will be delayed. Considering that the delay rate increased in 2023 and around 7% of people lost their bags, this could be a legitimate fear. 

    Aeroplane in mid air

    Aeroplane in mid air

    At this point, it might seem like there is nothing much that you can do, especially since you can’t make the plane go faster. However, as a passenger, you are seen as a consumer, meaning you have rights. In fact, you may have more rights than you know. In this article, you will learn more about EU air passenger rights so that you can receive your compensation.

    An Overview of EU Air Passenger Rights

    Air passenger rights are different depending on the country that you are flying into. If you land in Europe, then you are protected under European Regulation EC261/2004, the Montreal Convention, and the Brazilian ANAC 400. No matter if your final destination is in the EU or you only have one touch point there, the bill kicks in, and the airlines can be held responsible for flights that are disrupted. 

    Should the airline be in control of a specific situation without any extraordinary circumstances, you are entitled to compensation for most inconveniences. The bill was passed so that the airlines stay respectful to their passengers, not allowing them to get away with it if they cause problems. Depending on the issue at hand and the length of the flight, you could claim up to €600.

    Flight Compensation Rights to Remember

    Compensation Rights

    Compensation Rights

    The European Regulation EC261/2004 protects against flight cancellations, denied boarding, or delays within the European Union operated by EU carriers. Under the law, fliers from the EU have the right to compensation within 2 hours of the incident in the following situations: 

    Cancelled Flight

    Not every cancelled flight might lead to compensation. Should your flight be cancelled, then you have the right to choose between re-routing, reimbursement, and return. That said, if your flight was cancelled and you were informed of the matter less than 14 days before it, then you are entitled to compensation. 

    Cancelled flights are not only schedules that are abandoned, forcing you to transfer to another one. You can receive cancelled flight compensation EU even if the plane takes off but does not reach its destination. For instance, if the flight is forced to return to its departure point or its destination is not what’s on your ticket, you have the right to compensation. 

    Overbooked Flights

    Overbooking can happen due to operational issues or simple miscalculations from the airline. If you bought a seat on the plane and were denied boarding despite not voluntarily giving your seat up, you have the right to assistance. Depending on the circumstances, you can choose from compensation, reimbursement, or rebooking in a way that compensates for your troubles.

    Delayed Flight

    Delays can happen during a flight, especially on long-distance ones. Depending on how late the aircraft was, how great the distance you had to go, and the inconveniences that it caused, you can receive assistance. For the most part, if you landed (or took off) more than 3 hours later than you should, you are entitled to the EU regulation flight delay compensation.

    Person looking at flight scheduling board

    Person looking at flight scheduling board

    Missed Connecting Flights

    If a flight arrives with a 3-hour delay, causing you to miss a connection, you are usually able to receive compensation for it. The condition is that your entire journey needs to be booked through one reservation.

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Different circumstances might lead to upgrades or downgrades so that you can keep your spot on the plane. If you are upgraded, then the airline has no right to ask for additional payment. It’s also in your right to make a claim if they try to make you pay anyway. 

    That said, if you are downgraded, you are entitled to a percentage of the total ticket price. The final amount will depend on the distance you cover during your flight:

    • 30% for distances smaller than 1500 km

    • 50% for distances greater than 1500 within the EU (except between the French overseas department and EU), and any other flights that reach 3500 km

    • 75% for flights that do not fit in the first two categories

    Keep in mind that the EU air passenger rights only apply to that specific flight. If you have connecting flights and are downgraded only from one, then it will be the only one reimbursed. You won’t get compensation based on the whole trip.

    Mishandled Luggage

    Should your checked-in luggage become delayed, damaged, or lost during the flight, then the airline is held responsible for it. The same thing applies if your hand luggage gets damaged at the check-in or on board the plane. If that happens, then you could get compensation of up to €1,300.

     Mishandled Luggage at Airport

     Mishandled Luggage at Airport

    When Might You Not Receive Compensation

    While most air passengers have a right to cancelled flight compensation EU and more if an incident occurs, it’s not always the case. For example, if a flight doesn’t happen due to extraordinary circumstances (e.g., a strike by essential personnel), then you might not get compensation. Extreme weather circumstances could also be part of this category.

    Flights from outside the EU with the destination also outside the EU are not covered unless you land on EU ground. This remains the case even if you are using an EU carrier. Flights that land in the EU with carriers of non-EU origins are also not protected by the bill.

    The Bottom Line

    Most air passengers are entitled to receive compensation for their inconveniences, based on the EU regulation flight delay bill. By familiarizing yourself with your rights, then you can prevent the airline from taking advantage of you. You can use StopDelay to check the amount you are entitled to should you encounter such an inconvenience. 

    FAQ

    What if I exceed my free baggage weight allowance?