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If you travel in Europe, or change planes in Europe while flying from somewhere else to somewhere else -

Here is some potentially* valuable-to-know information about passenger rights in the European Union.


This week a court there made a judgement on a controversial case, and this judgement has made some of the passenger rights and benefits clearer for all.

There is controversy about the law and the court judgement, so this won't be the last word on it, but for now, the below are the rights of EU flight passengers*, and it probably would be good for all people who travel in Europe to be aware of them (whether or not these rights end up applying in your case*).


*Questions that I have at the moment:

I am not sure who qualifies for these rights -
Is it any person from any country, or just citizens of the EU?
Is it only for tickets that were bought from within the EU (or with an EU-issued credit card and EU mailing address online) or for tickets bought from any country?

I am not sure which flights are covered -
Is it only flights by EU airlines, or all airlines?
Is it flights travelling within the EU only, or flights that have one EU location as either the departure location or the arrival location?


This is the article: http://www.itv.com/news/2013-01-31/flight-rights-what-you-need-t...

Today's ruling against budget airline Ryanair brings a clearer understanding of airlines responsibility towards their passengers.

The ruling is called EU 261, and it asserts firmer and far-reaching rights for passengers.

The ruling has been condemned by Ryanair, who say it will increase ticket prices.

The ruling does not concern compensation - but reimbursement of expenses incurred during an incident like the ash cloud.

If your flight was cancelled due to the volcanic ash cloud in 2010, today's ruling means you were entitled to reimbursement of 'reasonable' expenses.

However, most payments of this kind have already been made (including by Ryanair) - the court decison was a "test case" to settle how the law should be interpreted for future situations - including snow, strikes and the like.

The airline is liable for the following:
Accommodation
Refreshment
Transport
Some communications

To claim compensation, passengers should contact the airline company directly.


The Civil Aviation Authority says customers have a number of rights they may not be aware of, and advises how to exercise them.


Rights to a refund or another flight:

If your flight has been cancelled, your airline must get you to your destination or offer you a full refund.

If your flight is delayed by more than 5 hours and you no longer want to travel, you are entitled to a full refund.

If you are a transfer passenger you are entitled to a flight back to your original departure point.

Be aware: if you accept a refund your airline no longer has to look after you.

If the disruption is severe, your airline may advise you to make your own travel arrangements and will reimburse costs. If this happens: make a note of the conversation and any guidance, ask the airline to update your booking with details of the agreement.


Rights to care and help at the airport:

If your flight has been cancelled or delayed for several hours, your airline must look after you, after a certain period of time:

0-1,500km: Your airline must assist you after two hours.
1,500-3,500km: Your airline must assist you after three hours.
3,500 +: Your airline must assist you after four hours.

After these times your airline is obliged to provide food, drinks, and some communications. If you are delayed overnight, this means a hotel and travel to and from the hotel to the airport.

If the airline does not pay for refreshments you can pay for your own and claim money back: be aware this will not include alcohol and you must hold on to receipts.


Extra help for vulnerable passengers:

Airlines must look after passengers with a disability and unaccompanied children as a priority


Package holidays:

If you have booked a package holiday, your tour operator is responsible for rearranging your flight.

If you holiday cannot be rearranged or is significantly changed you are entitled to a refund of the full package price if you wish.


A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: 'These regulations are in place to protect people when things go wrong with their flights. Anyone with concerns that they are not being treated correctly by their airline can contact the CAA for advice or to make a complaint.'


====
ALSO SEE:

A chart of passenger rights and a pamphlet -

at the website of the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority

http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=2211&pageid=12716

"You have important rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled, however, those rights will vary depending on your circumstances and whether you are travelling with an EU carrier or a non-EU carrier."

Member Summary

If the govt wants to make all kinds of rules, then they should just take over the airlines. For example the 3 hour rule has just resulted in flights returning to the gate and the flights canceled. It was a snap reaction to a flight that diverted to an airport that everyone went home for the night (it happened two different times). However this does not address if that happens again, and if it does, the govt just takes a fine from the airline, and the passengers get nothing. Most of these govt ideas that people think are great, just result in passengers getting hosed worst.

NantucketSunrise said:   
*Questions that I have at the moment:

I am not sure who qualifies for these rights -
Is it any person from any country, or just citizens of the EU?
Is it only for tickets that were bought from within the EU (or with an EU-issued credit card and EU mailing address online) or for tickets bought from any country?

I am not sure which flights are covered -
Is it only flights by EU airlines, or all airlines?
Is it flights travelling within the EU only, or flights that have one EU location as either the departure location or the arrival location?


Needed to do some research on this late last year for a claim against AA for EU261/2004

You questions are really quite easy. Any ticketed person flying on any airline that operates in any capacity in any EU member state qualifies for the full law. There are some limits, as you detail, about the length of the flights and international/domestic. Compensation is mandated by law, pretty clearly defined, and regulated by the various regulatory authorities in each EU member nation.

In my recent example, I'm a US citizen, flying on American Airlines. Flight was from Dublin, Ireland to ORD (Chicago). Flight was the morning after the big 'seats coming loose from the plane' ordeal that lasted a day or so. Flight was never cancelled, plane was at the gate on time. Got email notification about a 1 hour delay, then another hour, then delays of 15 minute increments for the next 2+hours. We checked in on time (this could be important for the laws). Plane takes off about 4.5 hours late. Missed connection in Chicago obviously, but made up some time on the next flight, and made it to final destination 3h + 05m late.

Flight of that length, and international, qualifies for the 3,500+km section of the laws. Got a food voucher in Dublin, which, while nearly worthless with Dubline Airport food prices, was roughly 4 times any food voucher I've ever received in the states.

About two days after the trip home, I put together all the info and researched the laws. Contacted AA via online form complaint page. Contacted the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) also via online form.

Two weeks later, AA sent me via email, a note of apology and $400 travel voucher for both tickets (my wife traveled with me). I replied that I wanted the balance of 600EUR per EU regulation 261, which at the time came to something like another $275. I was fine with getting that in more vouchers for use later.

Two weeks later, AA send another note and a $500 voucher for each ticket holder. I thought that was fine since $900 vouchers X2 would cover our next trip to Europe more or less. Didn't think much more about it.

Roughly 2.5 months later, AA contacts me and says we owe you some money, send us information for an international wire transfer. Did that via the online form. Two weeks later get an email from them saying they're sending me a check for $1568 (~1200EUR). Got the check in the mail about two weeks later. I believe this additional compensation stems from the CAR finally reading my submission and telling AA they owed me CASH, not vouchers. The folks at Flyertalk tell me the law stipulates a cash payment, and AA can't get away with just vouchers. Note, I never asked for additional compensation beyond the first two rounds of vouchers.

Tickets originally were about $1650 for the pair. Got $1800 total in travel vouchers that we're using in the summer. Got $1568 in cash.

Thank you Infinion for your detailed and easy-to-follow explanation.

That's amazing you got so much compensation!

The main driver for the compensation system was where airlines cancelled flights because it suited them - so if the plane wasn't full enough, or air crew couldn't be got to the location, then a potential existed

Naturally the volcano which closed European airspace down for a while ended up with certain airlines washing their hands of their passengers

So an a** kicking contest started and the result is that the rules are enforced, albeit it might take a couple of years for new situations to work their way through the courts

now I wish they would go after those temporary fuel charges (yea, I'm looking at you British Airways!)



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