Air Passenger Rights Regulation | You Can Claim Your Flight Delay / Cancellation Compensation - Aviation Professional

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Air Passenger Rights Regulation | You Can Claim Your Flight Delay / Cancellation Compensation


Air Passenger Rights



Airlines have several responsibilities to their passengers, cargo and luggage. International laws provide a world-wide system of standards and rules for air travel. In particular, these laws provide minimum liability limits for the carriage of passengers, cargo and luggage in the event of death, injury, damage, delay or loss. 


In this article, I will write about the airline responsibility and passenger's rights in case of flight were delayed or canceled. For explanation purposes, I'm going to use the European Airlines and Passengers as a module example.


 Warsaw Convention (1929) / Montreal Convention (MC99)

The first international law introduced by ICAO is known as the Warsaw Convention (1929). In 1999 additional changes were adapted to Warsaw Convention by a new convention called Montreal Convention (MC99) [ is a treaty signed in Montreal in 1999]. It establishes common rules for airlines to follow on international flights between member signees.


Montreal Convention has been ratified by 133 parties - the European Union and 132 Member States of The International Civil Aviation Organization [Yemen is not a party of this Convention]. It establishes passenger rights in case of delayed or lost luggage, flight delays and cancellations, as well as several injuries.


Montreal Convention's amendments together with the original Warsaw Convention are known collectively as the Warsaw System

 

In this article, I will provide you with the airline responsibility and passenger's rights in case of flight were delayed or canceled. For explanation purposes, I'm going to use the European Airlines and Passengers as a module example.

 

European Council 261/2004

EU is a party in Montreal Convention, and it has its regulation EC 261, under EC 261 passengers are eligible for compensation in case of a flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding. It covers:

  •          All flights from EU airports, and
  •          All flights arriving at EU airports are operated by EU-based airlines.

The compensation for a flight disruption on these flights may reach up to €600 per passenger. In case the passenger has experienced specific conditions [ will be explained later in this article].


What is the difference between the Montreal Convention and EC261/2004?

Both MC99 and EC 261 were set up to protect passenger rights and set rules for and limits to Airline’s liability. The Montreal Convention applies not only to EU travels but to most international flights. This means that if a passenger is traveling between the United States and China (both are State Parties to Montreal Convention), passenger rights would be protected by the Montreal Convention. While another passenger traveling between France and the Netherlands (both are a party of the European Union), passenger rights would be protected by EC 261/2004.

 

In which cases under the EC 261/2004, responsibilities on airlines should be limited or excluded? 

 In cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken by airlines. Such as 

  •          A security risks.
  •          Unlawful acts
  •         Political instability 
  •         Drone disruption
  •         Long security queues
  •         Severe weather that makes flying dangerous 
  •         Restricted air traffic control operations     
  •        Strikes by non-airline staff (E.g. baggage handlers employed by the airport)

Examples of where the delay is usually within the airline's control, and therefore not an extraordinary circumstance, include: 

  •          Crew or pilot late 
  •        Flight canceled because of under-booking
  •         Strike by airline staff

Note: The above-mentioned examples also included in Montreal Convention as well.


In which conditions, the passengers can get his rights?

EC 261/2004 regulation establishes, minimum rights for passengers when:

(a) they are denied boarding against their will;

(b) their flight is canceled;

(c) their flight is delayed.

 

A) Denied boarding 

If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the airline shall immediately compensate them, depending on the distance: 

 

Distance

Compensation due

Short-Haul Flights: all flights of 1 500 kilometers or less 

EUR 250

Medium-Haul Flights: all intra-Community flights of more than

1 500 kilometers, and for all other flights between 1 500

and 3 500 kilometers;

EUR 400

Long-Haul Flights: all flights not falling under (a) or (b).

EUR 600

 

Or Airline shall assist passengers in the following:

 

Assist

passengers shall be offered the choice between:

a)

  •        Reimbursement within seven days,
  •       A return flight to the first point of departure, at the

earliest opportunity;

b)

  •         Re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their

final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

(c)

Re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their

final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience,

subject to the availability of seats.

 

The airline shall pay particular attention to the needs of persons with reduced mobility

and any persons accompanying them, as well as to the needs of unaccompanied children.

 

Also, the passenger has a right to care, by offering free of charge:

  • ·         Meals and Refreshments: in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
  • ·         Hotel Accommodation: in cases

-          where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary,

or

-          where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary;


·         Transport Between the Airport and Place of Accommodation

(hotel or other).

 


B) Flight Cancellation

In case of cancellation of a flight, the airline shall offer assistance:

 

Assist

passengers shall be offered the choice between:

a)

  •       Reimbursement within seven days,
  •       A return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

 

b)

  •        Re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their

final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

(c)

       Re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their

final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience,

subject to the availability of seats.

  

Also, the passenger has a right to care, by offering free of charge:

 

  •          Meals and Refreshments: in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
  •      Free of Charge Two Telephone Calls, Telex or Fax Messages, or E-Mails. 


In the event of rerouting 

Also, the passenger has a right to care, by offering free of charge:

 

·         Hotel Accommodation: in cases

·         Transport Between the Airport and Place of Accommodation

(hotel or other).

  The airline shall immediately compensate passenger, depending on the distance: 

 

Distance

Compensation due

Short-Haul Flights: all flights of 1 500 kilometers or less 

EUR 250

Medium-Haul Flights: all intra-Community flights of more than

1 500 kilometers, and for all other flights between 1 500

and 3 500 kilometers;

EUR 400

Long-Haul Flights: all flights not falling under (a) or (b).

EUR 600

  

Passengers have a Compensation due, Unless 

  •        They are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure; or
  •         They are informed of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival; or
  •          They are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.

C) Flight Delay 

When an airline reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure:

 

Delay time

Distance

Two hours or more

In the case of flights of 1 500 kilometers or less; or

Three hours or more

In the case of all intra-Community

flights of more than 1 500 kilometers and of all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometers; or

Four hours or more

In the case of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),

 

Passengers shall be offered by the airline

 

·         Meals and Refreshments: in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;

·         Free of Charge Two Telephone Calls, Telex or Fax Messages, or E-Mails.

 When the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the day after the time of departure previously announced,

·         Hotel Accommodation

·         Transport Between the Airport and Place of Accommodation

(hotel or other).

When the delay is at least five hours,

 

Assist

passengers shall be offered the choice between:

a)

  •      Reimbursement within seven days,
  •      A return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

 


How to Claim Your Flight Delay/Cancellation Compensation?

 

1- Claim from the airline

Contact the airline – this needs to be the airline operating the flight, even if passengers booked it through another airline. The airline’s customer services department will usually help. Passengers must be ready to give all their flight details and booking reference numbers.

Passengers should write their claim – saying what went wrong and what they want the airline to give them. The Civil Aviation Authority has information about how to write a good claim and passengers can download a template letter from the CAA website or they can get a ready copy from the airline. They must include copies (not originals) of their tickets and any receipts.


2- Keep records 

Passengers should keep copies of their claim and any response from the airline. They should take notes if they speak to anyone from the airline - this could be useful if they decide to take their claim further.

 

If passengers’ not getting anywhere

They can report their issue to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) if the airline doesn’t give them what they’re entitled to. In such case they must include the following documents:

·         Copies of letters or emails to the airline/airport

  •         Copies of the letters the airline/airport sent to them
  •          Details of their flight (flight number, date, time, route, airline reference, number of passengers on the booking)
  •         For expenses claims, copies of receipts

 

 

Note: there is a website can help with this subject. 

 

 

Airline shall ensure that at check-in a clearly legible notice containing the following text is displayed in a manner clearly visible to passengers: ‘If you are denied boarding or if your flight is canceled or delayed for at least two hours, ask at the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance. By this notice, passengers will start smoothly getting their rights. the same should be done if an airline denying boarding any passengers for whatever reason.

 

Airlines must provide full respect to blind and visually impaired persons, the persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them, as well as to the needs of unaccompanied children.

 

 

Finally, thank you for giving us your valuable time reading this article, for comments you can write it down. 

 

 


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