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Air Passenger Rights Europe

The Regulation No 261/2004 on establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights" applies to all EU based airlines, including "low cost" carriers.

 

Rights cover all types of flights by EU based airlines, whether charter, regular, or domestic, departing from an EU airport (including the French overseas departments). It also applies to flights departing from an airport outside the EU to an EU airport, when the flight is operated by an EU airline and the passenger has not received any compensation in a third country.

 

The Regulation cannot cover flights by non-EU airlines departing an airport outside the EU (to an airport located in a Member State) because this would be an extra-territorial clause, extending rights and creating obligations for non-EU airlines, beyond the borders of the EU. However it applies to non-EU carriers departing from an EU airport to a third country.

 

According to Regulation [EC]261/2004, full assistance (meals, drinks, communication facilities and a hotel room for the night, if necessary) must ALWAYS be offered to stranded passengers even if the delay or cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances or a force-majeure incident.

 

In cases of denied boarding you are entitled to be compensated and to receive full assistance and in addition, the airline has to foresee alternative transport or re-routing to the final destination at the earliest convenience and subject to availability; or offer a reimbursement of the of the full cost of the ticket segments that were not used; if they refused to do so on one of these elements, the airline is in breach with Regulation[EC]261/2004.

 

No financial compensation is to be paid for delays - with regard to a possible refund of tickets, this Regulation foresees this kind of reimbursement if the stranded passengers do not wish to continue their trip facing a delay for over more than 5 hours and are entitled, according to the Regulation, to cancel the flight on their own initiative and claim there fund of the tickets not used. 

 

However when financial compensation is to be paid in case of cancellation, airlines can in some cases invoke force-majeure and be exempted, but they will be obliged to inform passengers about the nature of the cancellation.

 

This written statement of the airline regarding the incident could subsequently be used in a court proceeding and it will be up to a judge to decide whether the air carrier put all possible measures in place to avoid this situation from happening.

 

When affected by denied boarding, a cancellation or a long delay, the passenger should first complain directly to the airline. If the airline still doesn’t fulfil their obligations the passenger should complain to the relevant national enforcement body (of the Member State where the problem took place or in the Member State of arrival for flights from outside the EU)

See also latest Press release July 18 2006 Passenger Rights & Air Safety


 

Air Passenger Rights Europe

Having problems with your journey?

The European Union (EU) has strengthened your rights.

Here are the most important.*


Denied boarding and cancellation

If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled, the airline operating your flight must offer you financial compensation and assistance. These rights apply, provided you check in on time, for any flight, including charters:

• from an EU airport, or

• to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline.

 

Denied boarding

When there are too many passengers for the seats available, an airline must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats in return for agreed benefits. These must include the choice of either refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to your final destination.

If you are not a volunteer, the airline must pay you compensation of:

• Ű250 for flights of 1 500 km or less,

• Ű400 for longer flights within the EU, and for other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km,

• Ű600 for flights over 3 500 km outside the EU.

Compensation may be halved if you are not delayed more than 2, 3 or 4 hours, respectively.

 

The airline must also give you:

• a choice of either a refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to your final destination, and

• meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary (including transfers) and communication facilities.

 

Cancellation

Whenever your flight is cancelled, the operating airline must give you:

• a choice of either a refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to your final destination, and

• meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary (including transfers) and communication facilities.

The airline may also have to compensate you, at the same level as for denied boarding, unless it gives you sufficient advance notice. You shall be informed about alternative transport.

 

Refunds may be in cash, by bank transfer or cheque or, with your signed agreement, in travel vouchers, and must be paid within 7 days.

If you do not receive these rights, complain immediately to the airline operating the flight.

 

Long delays

Immediate assistance

 

If you check in on time for any flight, including charters:

• from an EU airport, or

• to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline, and if the airline operating the flight expects a delay:

• of 2 hours or more, for flights of 1 500 km or less,

• of 3 hours or more, for longer flights within the EU, and for other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km,

• of 4 hours or more for flights over 3 500 km outside the EU, the airline must give you meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary (including transfers) and communication facilities.

When the delay is 5 hours or more, the airline must also offer to refund your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant).

 

If you do not receive these rights, complain immediately to the airline operating the flight.

 

Later claims

When an EU airline is responsible for the delay of a flight anywhere in the world, you may claim up to 4 150 SDR** for any resulting damages. If the airlinedoes not agree with your claim, you may go to court.

 

You can claim from the airline with which you have a contract or from that actually operating the flight, if they are different.

 

Baggage

You may claim up to 1 000 SDR** for damages caused by the destruction, damage, loss or delay of your baggage on a flight by an EU airline, anywhere in the world. If the airline does not agree with your claim, you may go to court.

For damage to checked-in baggage, you must claim in writing within 7 days of its return and for delayed baggage within 21 days of its return.

 

You can claim from the airline with which you have a contract or from that actually operating the flight, if they are different.

 

Injury and death in accidents

You may claim for damages caused by injury or death resulting from an accident on a flight by an EU airline, anywhere in the world. You have the right to an advance payment for immediate economic needs. If the airline does not agree with your claim, you may go to court.

 

You can claim from the airline with which you have a contract or from that actually operating the flight, if they are different.

 

Package holidays

In addition to the rights described above, you may claim damages from your tour operator if it fails to provide the services you have booked within the EU, whatever your destination. These rights apply to failure to provide any flight included in your package. Moreover, if the tour operator does not provide a significant part of the package booked, it is obliged to assist you and make alternative arrangements, including travel, without extra cost to you.

 

* For your information, this document summarises the main elements of the relevant EU legislation. Any legal claim or action taken in the event of a dispute should be based solely on the legal texts concerned.

 

** 1 SDR = e1.18 at 30.9.2004. For the current exchange rate, contact Europe Direct.

KO-65-05-020-EN-P

Published by the European Commission, Energy and Transport DG, B-1049 Brussels

 

Help and further information

If you are affected by denied boarding, a cancellation or a long delay and the airline does notgive you what you are entitled to, complain to the relevant national enforcement body. For its name and address, contact the Europe Direct freephone on 00 800 67891011 or send an e-mail to mail@europe-direct.cec.eu.int. Europe Direct can also give you details of organisations that advise or help with other complaints. You may also inform the European Commission’s Energy and Transport DG, B-1049 Brussels, of the follow-up given to your complaint, by fax (32-2) 29-91015 or by e-mail to tren-aprights@ec.europa.eu

 

 

Leaflets with the information on this poster and more details may be found at the information desk and on the Internet (http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/passenger_rights/information_en.htm).

 

YOUR CONTRACT WITH AN AIRLINE SETS OUT OTHER RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS.

ASK YOUR AIRLINE OR TRAVEL AGENCY FOR A COPY OF THESE.

 

 

 

I

(Acts whose publication is obligatory)

REGULATION (EC) No 261/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 11 February 2004

establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied

boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91

(Text with EEA relevance)

 

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 80(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (2),

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty (3), in the light of the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee on 1 December 2003,

Whereas:

 

(1) Action by the Community in the field of air transport should aim, among other things, at ensuring a high level of protection for passengers. Moreover, full account should be taken of the requirements of consumer protection in general.

 

(2) Denied boarding and cancellation or long delay of flights cause serious trouble and inconvenience to passengers.

 

(3) While Council Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 of 4 February 1991 establishing common rules for a denied boarding compensation system in scheduled air transport.

 

(4) created basic protection for passengers, the number of passengers denied boarding against their will remains too high, as does that affected by cancellations without prior warning and that affected by long delays.

 

(4) The Community should therefore raise the standards of protection set by that Regulation both to strengthen the rights of passengers and to ensure that air carriers operate under harmonised conditions in a liberalised market.

 

(5) Since the distinction between scheduled and non-scheduled air services is weakening, such protection should apply to passengers not only on scheduled but also on non-scheduled flights, including those forming part of package tours.

 

(6) The protection accorded to passengers departing from an airport located in a Member State should be extended to those leaving an airport located in a third country for one situated in a Member State, when a Community carrier operates the flight.

 

(7) In order to ensure the effective application of this Regulation, the obligations that it creates should rest with the operating air carrier who performs or intends to perform a flight, whether with owned aircraft, under dry or wet lease, or on any other basis.

 

(8) This Regulation should not restrict the rights of the operating air carrier to seek compensation from any person, including third parties, in accordance with the law applicable.

 

(9) The number of passengers denied boarding against their will should be reduced by requiring air carriers to call for volunteers to surrender their reservations, in exchange for benefits, instead of denying passengers boarding, and by fully compensating those finally denied boarding.

 

17.2.2004 L 46/1 Official Journal of the European Union EN

(1) OJ C 103 E, 30.4.2002, p. 225 and OJ C 71 E, 25.3.2003, p. 188.

(2) OJ C 241, 7.10.2002, p. 29.

(3) Opinion of the European Parliament of 24 October 2002 (OJ C 300 E, 11.12.2003, p. 443), Council Common Position of 18 March 2003 (OJ C 125 E, 27.5.2003, p. 63) and Position of the European Parliament of 3 July 2003. Legislative Resolution of the European Parliament of 18 December 2003 and Council Decision of 26 January 2004.

(4) OJ L 36, 8.2.1991, p. 5.

 

(10) Passengers denied boarding against their will should be able either to cancel their flights, with reimbursement of their tickets, or to continue them under satisfactory

conditions, and should be adequately cared for while awaiting a later flight.

 

(11) Volunteers should also be able to cancel their flights, with reimbursement of their tickets, or continue them under satisfactory conditions, since they face difficulties of travel similar to those experienced by passengers denied boarding against their will.

 

(12) The trouble and inconvenience to passengers caused by cancellation of flights should also be reduced. This should be achieved by inducing carriers to inform passengers of cancellations before the scheduled time of departure and in addition to offer them reasonable rerouting, so that the passengers can make other arrangements. Air carriers should compensate passengers if they fail to do this, except when the cancellation occurs in extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

 

(13) Passengers whose flights are cancelled should be able either to obtain reimbursement of their tickets or to obtain re-routing under satisfactory conditions, and should be adequately cared for while awaiting a later flight.

 

(14) As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating air carriers 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. Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier.

 

(15) Extraordinary circumstances should be deemed to exist where the impact of an air traffic management decision in relation to a particular aircraft on a particular day gives rise to a long delay, an overnight delay, or the cancellation of one or more flights by that aircraft, even though all reasonable measures had been taken by the air carrier concerned to avoid the delays or cancellations.

 

(16) In cases where a package tour is cancelled for reasons other than the flight being cancelled, this Regulation should not apply.

 

(17) Passengers whose flights are delayed for a specified time should be adequately cared for and should be able to cancel their flights with reimbursement of their tickets or to continue them under satisfactory conditions.

 

(18) Care for passengers awaiting an alternative or a delayed flight may be limited or declined if the provision of the care would itself cause further delay.

 

(19) Operating air carriers should meet the special needs of persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them.

 

(20) Passengers should be fully informed of their rights in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, so that they can effectively exercise their rights.

 

(21) Member States should lay down rules on sanctions applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation and ensure that these sanctions are applied. The sanctions should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

 

(22) Member States should ensure and supervise general compliance by their air carriers with this Regulation and designate an appropriate body to carry out such enforcement tasks. The supervision should not affect the rights of passengers and air carriers to seek legal redress from courts under procedures of national law.

 

(23) The Commission should analyse the application of this Regulation and should assess in particular the opportunity of extending its scope to all passengers having a contract with a tour operator or with a Community carrier, when departing from a third country airport to an airport in a Member State.

 

(24) Arrangements for greater cooperation over the use of Gibraltar airport were agreed in London on 2 December 1987 by the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom in a joint declaration by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. Such arrangements have yet to enter into operation.

 

(25) Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 should accordingly be repealed,

 

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Subject

1. This Regulation establishes, under the conditions specified herein, minimum rights for passengers when:

(a) they are denied boarding against their will;

(b) their flight is cancelled;

(c) their flight is delayed.

17.2.2004 L 46/2 Official Journal of the European Union EN

 

2. Application of this Regulation to Gibraltar airport is understood to be without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom with regard to the dispute over sovereignty over the territory in which the airport is situated.

 

3. Application of this Regulation to Gibraltar airport shall be suspended until the arrangements in the Joint Declaration made by the Foreign Ministers of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom on 2 December 1987 enter into operation. The Governments of Spain and the United Kingdom will inform the Council of such date of entry into operation.

 

Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation:

(a) ‘air carrier’ means an air transport undertaking with a valid operating licence;

(b) ‘operating air carrier’ means an air carrier that performs or intends to perform a flight under a contract with a passenger or on behalf of another person, legal or natural, having a contract with that passenger;

(c) ‘Community carrier’ means an air carrier with a valid operating licence granted by a Member State in accordance with the provisions of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2407/92 of 23 July 1992 on licensing of air carriers (1);

(d) ‘tour operator’ means, with the exception of an air carrier, an organiser within the meaning of Article 2, point 2, of Council Directive 90/314/EEC of 13 June 1990 on package travel, package holidays and package tours (2);

(e) ‘package’ means those services defined in Article 2, point 1, of Directive 90/314/EEC;

(f) ‘ticket’ means a valid document giving entitlement to transport, or something equivalent in paperless form, including electronic form, issued or authorised by the air carrier or its authorised agent;

(g) ‘reservation’ means the fact that the passenger has a ticket, or other proof, which indicates that the reservation has been accepted and registered by the air carrier or tour

operator;

(h) ‘final destination’ means the destination on the ticket presented at the check-in counter or, in the case of directly connecting flights, the destination of the last flight; alternative connecting flights available shall not be taken into account if the original planned arrival time is respected;

(i) ‘person with reduced mobility’ means any person whose mobility is reduced when using transport because of any physical disability (sensory or locomotory, permanent or temporary), intellectual impairment, age or any other cause of disability, and whose situation needs special attention and adaptation to the person's needs of the services made available to all passengers;

(j) ‘denied boarding’ means a refusal to carry passengers on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding under the conditions laid down in Article 3(2), except where there are reasonable grounds to deny them boarding, such as reasons of health, safety or security, or inadequate travel documentation;

(k) ‘volunteer’ means a person who has presented himself for boarding under the conditions laid down in Article 3(2) and responds positively to the air carrier's call for passengers prepared to surrender their reservation in exchange for benefits.

(l) ‘cancellation’ means the non-operation of a flight which was previously planned and on which at least one place was reserved.

 

Article 3

Scope

1. This Regulation shall apply:

(a) to passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies;

(b) to passengers departing from an airport located in a third country to an airport situated in the territory of a Member

State to which the Treaty applies, unless they received

benefits or compensation and were given assistance in that third country, if the operating air carrier of the flight concerned is a Community carrier.

 

2. Paragraph 1 shall apply on the condition that passengers:

(a) have a confirmed reservation on the flight concerned and, except in the case of cancellation referred to in Article 5, present themselves for check-in, — as stipulated and at the time indicated in advance and in writing (including by electronic means) by the air carrier, the tour operator or an authorised travel agent, or, if no time is indicated, — not later than 45 minutes before the published departure time; or

(b) have been transferred by an air carrier or tour operator from the flight for which they held a reservation to another flight, irrespective of the reason.

 

3. This Regulation shall not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public. However, it shall apply to passengers having tickets issued under a frequent flyer programme or other commercial programme by an air carrier or tour operator.

17.2.2004 L 46/3 Official Journal of the European Union EN

(1) OJ L 240, 24.8.1992, p. 1.

(2) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990, p. 59.

 

4. This Regulation shall only apply to passengers transported by motorised fixed wing aircraft.

 

5. This Regulation shall apply to any operating air carrier providing transport to passengers covered by paragraphs 1 and 2. Where an operating air carrier which has no contract with the passenger performs obligations under this Regulation, it shall be regarded as doing so on behalf of the person having a contract with that passenger.

 

6. This Regulation shall not affect the rights of passengers under Directive 90/314/EEC. This Regulation shall not apply in

cases where a package tour is cancelled for reasons other than cancellation of the flight.

 

Article 4

Denied boarding

1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it shall first call for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits under conditions to be agreed between the passenger concerned and the operating air carrier. Volunteers shall be assisted in accordance with Article 8, such assistance being additional to the benefits mentioned in this paragraph.

 

2. If an insufficient number of volunteers comes forward to allow the remaining passengers with reservations to board the flight, the operating air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will.

 

3. If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the operating air carrier shall immediately compensate them in accordance with Article 7 and assist them in accordance with

Articles 8 and 9.

 

Article 5

Cancellation

1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall:

(a) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 8; and

(b) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2), as well as, in event of rerouting when the reasonably expected time of departure ofthe new flight is at least the day after the departure as it was planned for the cancelled flight, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and

(c) have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 7, unless: (i) they are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure; or (ii) 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 (iii) 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.

 

2. When passengers are informed of the cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport.

 

3. An operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 7, if it can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

 

4. The burden of proof concerning the questions as to whether and when the passenger has been informed of the cancellation of the flight shall rest with the operating aircarrier.

 

Article 6

Delay

1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure:

(a) for two hours or more in the case of flights of 1 500 kilometres or less; or

(b) for three hours or more in the case of all intra-Community flights of more than 1 500 kilometres and of all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres; or

(c) for four hours or more in the case of all flights not falling under (a) or (b), passengers shall be offered by the operating air carrier: (i) the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(a) and  (2); and (ii) when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the day after the time of departure previously announced, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and (iii) when the delay is at least five hours, the assistance specified in Article 8(1)(a).

 

2. In any event, the assistance shall be offered within the time limits set out above with respect to each distance bracket. 17.2.2004 L 46/4 Official Journal of the European Union EN

 

Article 7

Right to compensation

1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall receive compensation amounting to:

(a) EUR 250 for all flights of 1 500 kilometres or less;

(b) EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1 500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres;

(c) EUR 600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b).

In determining the distance, the basis shall be the last destination at which the denial of boarding or cancellation will delay the passenger's arrival after the scheduled time.

 

2. When passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination on an alternative flight pursuant to Article 8, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked

(a) by two hours, in respect of all flights of 1 500 kilometres or less; or

(b) by three hours, in respect of all intra-Community flights of more than 1 500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres; or

(c) by four hours, in respect of all flights not falling under (a) or (b), the operating air carrier may reduce the compensation provided for in paragraph 1 by 50 %.

 

3. The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

 

4. The distances given in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be measured by the great circle route method.

 

Article 8

Right to reimbursement or re-routing

1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

(a) — reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant, — 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 availability of seats.

 

2. Paragraph 1(a) shall also apply to passengers whose flights form part of a package, except for the right to reimbursement where such right arises under Directive 90/314/EEC.

 

3. When, in the case where a town, city or region is served by several airports, an operating air carrier offers a passenger a flight to an airport alternative to that for which the booking was made, the operating air carrier shall bear the cost of transferring the passenger from that alternative airport either to that for which the booking was made, or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.

 

Article 9

Right to care

1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered free of charge:

(a) meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;

(b) 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;

(c) transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other).

 

2. In addition, passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails.

 

3. In applying this Article, the operating air carrier 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.

 

Article 10

Upgrading and downgrading

1. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class higher than that for which the ticket was purchased, it may notrequest any supplementary payment.

 

2. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), reimburse

(a) 30 % of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1 500 kilometres or less, or 17.2.2004 L 46/5 Official Journal of the European Union EN

(b) 50 % of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1 500 kilometres, except flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres, or

(c) 75 % of the price of the ticket for all flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments.

 

Article 11

Persons with reduced mobility or special needs

1. Operating air carriers shall give priority to carrying persons with reduced mobility and any persons or certified service dogs accompanying them, as well as unaccompanied

children.

 

2. In cases of denied boarding, cancellation and delays of any length, persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them, as well as unaccompanied children, shall have the right to care in accordance with Article 9 as soon as possible.

 

Article 12

Further compensation

1. This Regulation shall apply without prejudice to a passenger's rights to further compensation. The compensation granted under this Regulation may be deducted from such compensation.

 

2. Without prejudice to relevant principles and rules of national law, including case-law, paragraph 1 shall not apply to passengers who have voluntarily surrendered a reservation

under Article 4(1).

 

Article 13

Right of redress

In cases where an operating air carrier pays compensation or meets the other obligations incumbent on it under this Regulation, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting its right to seek compensation from any person, including third parties, in accordance with the law applicable. In particular, this Regulation shall in no way restrict the operating air carrier's right to seek reimbursement from a tour operator or another person with whom the operating air carrier has a contract. Similarly, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting the right of a tour operator or a third party, other than a passenger, with whom an operating air carrier has a contract, to seek reimbursement or compensation from the operating air carrier in accordance with applicable relevant laws.

 

Article 14

Obligation to inform passengers of their rights

1. The operating air carrier 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 cancelled 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’.

 

2. An operating air carrier denying boarding or cancelling a flight shall provide each passenger affected with a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance in line with this Regulation. It shall also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least two hours with an equivalent notice. The contact details of the national designated body referred to in Article 16 shall also be given to the passenger in written form.

 

3. In respect of blind and visually impaired persons, the provisions of this Article shall be applied using appropriate alternative means.

 

Article 15

Exclusion of waiver

1. Obligations vis-ŕ-vis passengers pursuant to this Regulation may not be limited or waived, notably by a derogation or restrictive clause in the contract of carriage.

 

2. If, nevertheless, such a derogation or restrictive clause is applied in respect of a passenger, or if the passenger is not correctly informed of his rights and for that reason has accepted compensation which is inferior to that provided for in this Regulation, the passenger shall still be entitled to take the necessary proceedings before the competent courts or bodies in order to obtain additional compensation.

 

Article 16

Infringements

1. Each Member State shall designate a body responsible for the enforcement of this Regulation as regards flights from airports situated on its territory and flights from a third country to such airports. Where appropriate, this body shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the rights of passengers are respected. The Member States shall inform the Commission of the body that has been designated in accordance with this paragraph. 17.2.2004 L 46/6 Official Journal of the European Union EN

 

2. Without prejudice to Article 12, each passenger may complain to any body designated under paragraph 1, or to any other competent body designated by a Member State, about an alleged infringement of this Regulation at any airport situated on the territory of a Member State or concerning any flight from a third country to an airport situated on that territory.

 

3. The sanctions laid down by Member States for infringements of this Regulation shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

 

Article 17

Report

The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council by 1 January 2007 on the operation and the results of this Regulation, in particular regarding: — the incidence of denied boarding and of cancellation of flights, — the possible extension of the scope of this Regulation to passengers having a contract with a Community carrier or holding a flight reservation which forms part of a ‘package tour’ to which Directive 90/314/EEC applies and who depart from a third-country airport to an airport in a Member State, on flights not operated by Community air carriers, — the possible revision of the amounts of compensation referred to in Article 7(1). The report shall be accompanied where necessary by legislative proposals.

 

Article 18

Repeal

Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 shall be repealed.

 

Article 19

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on 17 February 2005.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

 

Done at Strasbourg, 11 February 2004.

For the European Parliament

The President

P. COX

For the Council

The President

M. McDOWELL

17.2.2004 L 46/7 Official Journal of the European Union EN

 

 

National Enforcement Bodies

([EC]261/2004)

Member States Organisation Contact details

 

Austria

[Enforcement]

Bundesministerium für Verkehr,

Innovation & Technologie

Oberste Zivilluftfahrtsbehörde

Radetzkystr. 2

AT - 1030 WIEN

Fax : +43 1 713 0326

 

[Passenger Complaints]

Bundesministerium für Soziale

Sicherheit, Generation &

Konsumentenschutz

Tel. : +43 1 71100 - 2519

Fax : +43 1 7189470 - 2302

fluggastrechte@bmsg.gv.at

 

Belgium

Direction Générale Transport Aérien

CCN - 4čme étage

Rue du progrčs 80 Bte 5

BE - 1030 BRUXELLES

Tel. : +32 2 206.32.79

+32 2 207.13.16

Fax : +32 2 203 15 28

passenger.rights@mobilit.fgov.be

 

Cyprus

Department of Civil Aviation

16 Griva Dhigeni Avenue

CY - 1429 NICOSIA

Tel. : +357 22 404102

Fax : +357 22 766552

 

Czech Republic

Ministry of Transport

Civil Aviation Department

Nabrezi Ludvika Svobody 12

CZ - 110 15 PRAHA 1

Tel. : +420 972 231 390

+420 972 231 157

Fax : +420 972 231 032

 

Denmark

Statens Luftfartsvćsen

(CAA-Denmark)

Box 744

DK - 2450 KOBENHAVN SV

Tel. : +45 3618 6000

Fax : +45 3618 6001

dcaa@slv.dk

 

Estonia

Tarbijakaitseamet

(Consumer Protection Board)

Kiriku 4

EE - 15071 TALLINN

Tel. : +372 6201700

Fax : +372 6201701

info@consumer.ee

 

Finland

Consumer Ombudsman & Agency

Haapaniemenkatu 4 A, Box 5

FI - 00531 HELSINKI

 

Consumer Complaint Board

Kaikukatu 3 A

P.O. Box 306

FI - 00531 HELSINKI

Tel. : +358 9 77261

Fax : +358 9 7726 7557

posti@kuluttajavirasto.fi

www.kuluttajavirasto.fi

Tel. : +358 9 77261

kirjaamo@kuluttajavl.fi

www.kuluttajavalituslautakunta.fi

 

France

DGAC

Direction de la régulation économique

Bureau de la facilitation et des clients

du transport aérien (DRE/C2)

50, rue Henry Farman

FR - 75720 PARIS CEDEX 15

Tel. : +33 1 58.09.39.79

Fax : +33 1 58.09.38.45

http://www.dgac.fr/html/oservice/

regl_message.htm

 

Germany

Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA)

Hermann-Blenk-Str. 26

DE - 38108 BRAUNSCHWEIG

Tel. : +49 531-2355-100

Fax : +49 531-2355-707

fluggastrechte@lba.de

 

Greece

Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority

P.O.B. 73751

EL - 16604 HELINIKO

Tel. : +30 210 891.6000

Fax : +30 210 894 4279

 

Hungary

[Enforcement]

Polgári Légiközlekedési Hatóság (PLH)

Budapest, Ferihegy I

HU - 1675 BUDAPEST, PF 41

Tel. : +36 1 296-9502

Fax : +36 1 296-8808

ugyfelszolgalat@caa.hu

 

[Passenger Complaints]

Fogyasztóvédelmi Főfelügyelőség

Jozsef körút, 6

HU - 1088 BUDAPEST

Tel. : +36 1 459-4800

Fax : +36 1 210-4677

fvf@fvf.hu

www.fvf.hu

 

Ireland

Commission for Aviation Regulation

3rd Floor

Alexandra House

Earlsfort Terrace

IE - DUBLIN 2

Tel. : +353-(0) 1-6611700

Fax : +353-(0) 1-6611269 (General)

info@aviationreg.ie

www.aviationreg.ie

 

Italy

L’Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione

Civile

Viale del Castro Pretorio, 118

IT - 00185 ROME

Tel. : +39 06 44596-1

 

Latvia

Consumer Rights Protection Centre

41/43 Elizabetes str.,

LV - 1010 RIGA

Tel. : +371 7287730

Fax : +371 7338024

tpkc@apollo.lv

 

Lithuania

Civil Aviation Administration

Rod_n_s kelias 2

LT - 02188 VILNIUS

Tel. : +370 5 2739038

Fax : +370 5 2739237

 

Luxembourg

this information has not been

communicated yet to the

Commission

please contact the Commission:

tren-aprights@cec.eu.int

Fax : +32 2 299 10 15

 

Malta

Department of Civil Aviation

Luqa Airport

MT - LUQA, CMR 02

Tel. : +356 21 249 170

Fax : +356 21 239 278

civil.aviation@gov.mit

www.dca.gov.mt

 

Poland

Civil Aviation Office

ul. Zelazna 59

PL - 00-848 WARSAW

Tel. : +48 (22) 520 72 00

Fax : +48 (22) 520 73 00

http://www.ulc.gov.pl/

kancelaria@ulc.gov.pl

 

Portugal

Instituto Nacional de Aviaçăo Civil

(INAC)

Rua B, Edifícios 4, 5 e 6

Aeroporto da Portela

PT - 1749-034 LISBOA

Tel. : +351(21)842-3500

Fax : +351(21)847-3585

 

Slovakia

Slovenská obchodná inšpekcia

(Slovak Trade Inspectorate)

ústredný inšpektorát

(Central Inspectorate)

Prievozská 32

SK - 827 99 BRATISLAVA 27

Tel. : +421 2 58272 203,

+421 2 58272 240

Fax : +421 2 53414 996

secretariat@soi.sk

 

Slovenia

Traffic Inspectorate

Trzaska 19a

PO Box 355

SI - 1001 LJUBLJANA

 

Spain

Dirección General de Aviación Civil

Sección de Atención al Usuario

Paseo de la Castellana, 67

Despacho A-259

ES - 28071 MADRID

Tel. : +34 91 597.83.21

Fax : +34 91 597.86.43

pasajeros.aereo@mfom.es

http://www.mfom.es/

 

Sweden

Consumer Protection Agency

Mrs Lotta DANIN

Rosenlundsgatan 9

SE - 118 87 STOCKHOLM

Tel. : + 46 8 429 05 00

Fax : + 46 8 429 89 00

konsumentverket@konsumentverket.se

www.konsumentverket.se

 

The Netherlands

Inspectie Verkeer en Waterstaat

Postbus 575

NL - 2130 AN HOOFDDORP

loket@ivw.nl

 

United Kingdom

Air Transport Users Council

Room K705 -- CAA House

45-59 Kingsway

UK - LONDON WC2B 6TE

 

Civil Aviation Authority

CAA House

45-59 Kingsway

UK - LONDON WC2B 6TE

Tel. : +44 20 7240 6061

Fax : +44 20 7240 7071

Tel. : +44 20 7379 7311

Fax : +44 20 7944 2190

Updated: 1 July 2005


All the data is informative only. I take no guarantee of their validity. For the latest information check the EU website on: http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/rights/index_en.htm


Links:

 

The European Court of Justice confirms legality of EU rules: JUDGMENT OF THE COURT of 10/01/2006  (Press release)


See also the forum

 

Link to Air Passenger rights in the USA:   See also:  http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/   

 

FlyersRights.ORG - The Largest Non-Profit Airline Consumer Organization:  http://www.flyersrights.org/     FlyersRights 2009 Real Air Travel Consumer Report Card

 

Association for Airline Passenger Rights in the USA:  http://www.flyfriendlyskies.com/

 


 

 



 

DOT finalizes new passenger protection regulations

The US Dept. of Transportation on April 20, 2011, finalized new regulations aimed at further strengthening "passenger protections," including extending the tarmac delay rule in place for US domestic airlines to foreign carriers' US operations and increasing required compensation to involuntarily bumped passengers.

"Airline passengers have a right to be treated fairly," US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "It's just common sense that if an airline loses your bag or you get bumped from a flight because it was oversold, you should be reimbursed." DOT largely finalized the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking(ATW Daily News, June 3, 2010) promulgated last year that was generally not well received by the airline industry, particularly international carriers. IATA called the NPRM "an unprecedented intervention in the business practices of airlines serving the US" and a violation of the Chicago Convention (ATW Daily News, Sept. 24, 2010).

In a slight concession to international carriers, international flights will be required to return to the gate within 4 hr., one more hour than is allowed for domestic flights under the DOT's tarmac delay requirements.

US Air Transport Assn. President and CEO Nicholas Calio said in a statement Wednesday: "The airline industry supports increased communication and full transparency … Airlines already have made many service improvements and many of the regulations formalize procedures already in place, including prompt delay notification, one-way fare advertising, and irregular-operation contingency plans. We share the DOT goal of continuously improving the customer experience and our member airlines will implement the new rules as efficiently as possible."

Airports Council International-North America President Greg Principato commented, "These changes are most welcome. All passengers deserve the same legal rights during extended tarmac delays, not just those flying exclusively within the United States or those traveling through medium or large hubs."

The wide-ranging rule boosts the minimum compensation offered passengers involuntarily bumped from flights from $400/$800 to $650/$1,300 and establishes a CPI-based formula that will see payments rise automatically with inflation. It requires airlines to refund checked baggage fees if bags are lost or delayed, prohibits price increases (such as fuel surcharges) after a ticket is purchased and sets new requirements for advertising fares online. It permits customers to hold reservations at the quoted fare without payment, or cancel without penalty, for at least 24 hr. after the reservation is made.

 

 


 

 

09 February 2006 - Passenger wins landmark case over cancelled flight

AN airline passenger has won Ł840 in compensation for a cancelled flight from Stansted Airport in a landmark judgment. David Harbord has become the first person to win against an airline under a new European regulation on passenger rights. The economist and former Oxford don sued Thomas Cook Airlines at Oxford County Court. He and his son arrived at Stansted on August 5 last year to find their flight to Vancouver had been cancelled. The 300 passengers were being taken to Manchester on coaches for another flight the next day. Mr Harbord had already accepted a change from Gatwick and refused. He booked with another airline instead.

Since last February, the EU has required airlines to pay 600 euros (Ł420) in compensation to each passenger, as well as a full refund for cancelling a long-haul flight. For short flights, the compensation is 250 euros. They do not have to pay if the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances, which may include "unexpected flight safety shortcomings".

Thomas Cook said Mr Harbord's flight had merely been delayed. It used the same flight number for the replacement trip from Manchester 24 hours later. But district judge Alan Jenkins said that had no bearing. The time difference was more indicative of a cancellation than delay. Thomas Cook also claimed it was not liable because there was an unforeseen fault with an engine. But the court heard from one of its engineers who admitted the fault was on another aircraft, not the one scheduled for Mr Habord's journey.The judge said it was not sufficient for the airline to escape liability by pointing to a technical defect somewhere in its fleet.

Afterwards Thomas Cook said it was considering an appeal, but was concerned if it lost, it could encourage more claims.


Last Updated: 7:18PM GMT 22 Dec 2008
Passengers win right to compensation when flights cancelled for technical faults.


By David Millward, Transport Editor
 
In a landmark judgment, the European Court of Justice said that airlines must pay up unless the technical fault was due to exceptional circumstances – such as terrorism or sabotage.
The ruling was a victory for both consumer groups and the European Commission which has accused airlines of frequently trying to sidestep their legal obligations.
Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat's transport spokesman, hailed the court decision. "It is completely sensible. Train passengers are entitled to compensation, why should the same not apply to people who use airlines."
The European Commission has set out detailed rules governing passengers' rights to compensation when flights are cancelled, severely delayed or when people are denied boarding because the flight has been overbooked.
This test case, which centred on when a flight was cancelled, was brought by an Austrian family.
They took action when their Alitalia flight from Vienna to Rome was cancelled five minutes before it was scheduled to take off. As a result they missed a connecting flight to Brindisi.
The airline refused to pay Ł232 (250 Euros) compensation or Ł9.28 (10 Euros) for a phone call, claiming that the cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances.
But the judges decided that the airline's definition of such circumstances – " a complex engine defect in the turbine" – did not excuse it of the obligation to compensate passengers.
The judgment means that airlines will no longer be able to use routine technical problems as an excuse for trying to sidestep their legal obligation to passengers.
It ruled: "An air carrier may not as a general rule refuse to pay compensation to passengers following the cancellation of a flight on account of technical problems in the aircraft."
"Compensation may however be refused if the technical problems stem from events which, by their nature or origin, are not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier and are beyond its actual control".


Passenger Rights & Air Safety - A Commission Priority


 Reference:  MEMO/06/293    Date:  18/07/2006    

 

MEMO/06/293

Brussels, 18 July 2006

Passenger Rights & Air Safety - A Commission Priority

This memo recalls the initiatives taken by the European Union to protect air passenger rights and ensure high safety standards in aviation. A new element is that since 16th of July passengers have the right to be informed about the identity of the airline which will operate the flight(s) for which they have made a reservation.

The European Union has a vital role to play in protecting the interests of air passengers. Especially air travel is international by nature: thanks to the opening of the European air transport market, passengers may fly from one European Union country to another using an airline licensed in a third one. They are right in expecting the same level of protection wherever they go; and find it easier to obtain their rights if harmonised rather than based on a confusing mixture of national rules. Such harmonisation will also help airlines organise international services and compete on equal terms throughout the EU.

Already in the year 2000 the European Commission recommended a general policy on protection of air passengers. This had three elements: Community legislation to create or strengthen basic rights; an information campaign to make passengers aware of their existing rights; and voluntary initiatives by the aviation industry to improve service.

Although legislation on denied boarding caused by overbooking (a practice particularly resented by travellers) had already been adopted in 1991, the Commission, in 2001, decided to make a proposal to further strengthen passenger rights and to extend the scope of existing legislation, considered to be insufficient, to cover cancellations and, in part, long delays and non-scheduled as well as scheduled flights.

17 February 2005: An important date for air passengers

The greatest leap forward for air passenger rights came on 17 February 2005, when Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of 11 February 2004, based on the above proposal and establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights entered into force.

This new piece of legislation has introduced significant improvements to the protection of air passengers’ rights in the European Union. Airlines now have to pay compensation for denied boarding (€ 250 for flights of less than 1 500 km, € 400 for flights of between 1 500 and 3 500 km and € 600 for flights of more than 3 500 km). Passengers will be compensated for late cancellation of their flight and will receive assistance in the event of long delays. However, there is no right to compensation for cancellation if the airline can provide evidence of extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided.

The legislation applies to all flights, including charters, operated by airlines licensed in the EU from or to a European airport and to any flight departing from the European Union. Detailed information can be found on the website of Energy and Transport DG.

Though the legality of several articles of the Regulation has been challenged in court by two airline associations, the European Court of Justice confirmed the validity of this important piece of legislation in its judgment of 10 January 2006.

On 17 February 2006 the first anniversary of the new passenger rights was celebrated (see IP/06/177) and the European Commission invited representatives of the National Enforcement Bodies to Brussels for a second meeting on the implementation of the legislation, thereby emphasizing the crucial role national authorities have to play in the protection of air passenger rights.

By January 2007, and in accordance with Article 17 of the Regulation, the Commission will submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning of this legislation, accompanied with new proposals if necessary. To prepare the report a study was commissioned which will assess the need for complementary legislation.

Air safety: The list of airlines banned within the EU and inspection of third-country aircraft

As the safety of air transport is another key priority for the EU, legislation (Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of 14 December 2005) has been passed to establish common rules for keeping European airspace free from airlines and aircraft considered to be unsafe. A first Community list of airlines banned within the EU was published on 22 March 2006. As the Commission has the obligation to ensure that the list is kept up-to-date and to verify at least every three months whether it needs updating, a revised list was published on 20 June 2006.

Updating the list requires permanent vigilance of all parties involved, i.e. the Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Member States. The latter have the obligation to enforce the operating bans within their territories. Additionally, Member States and EASA have the obligation to communicate all information to the Commission that may be relevant for updating the list. The criteria for doing so are transparent and strictly related to safety. In essence, they reflect verified evidence of serious safety deficiencies of the inspected air carrier, its ability or willingness to redress the identified safety deficiencies as well as the ability or willingness of the authority which exercises regulatory oversight of this air carrier to ensure that the identified deficiencies are properly addressed.

EASA: A proposal to certify third-country operators before they can operate in the EU

On 16 November 2005, the Commission adopted a proposal to extend EASA’s competencies to further areas of civil aviation safety: operational requirements for and oversight of all aircraft and aircraft operators flying into, within and out of the Community, as well as pilot licensing. The proposal is a first step in the expansion of EASA’s mission towards an ever higher and uniform level of safety in European skies and a full coverage of all aviation safety matters at a later stage. Work on the proposal in the European Parliament and the Council is progressing and EASA could see its wider mission adopted as early as mid-2007.

Air safety and the right to know

The rights air passengers have obtained so far are only one element in an ongoing strive for high quality travel. European Union legislation not only guarantees fair treatment in the event of air travel being disrupted by delays, cancellation or denied boarding but also gives passengers the right to be fully informed before they start their journey.

Chapter III of the Regulation on the establishment of the Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the EU, gives passengers the right to be informed about the identity of the airline which will operate the flight(s) for which they have made a reservation.

This part of the Regulation entered into force on 16 July 2006.

It foresees the following: Firstly, upon reservation, the air carriage contractor has to inform the passenger of the identity of the operating airline and whenever the operating airline is changed after reservation, the contractor must, irrespective of the reason for the change, immediately take all appropriate steps to ensure that the passenger is informed of that change. In all cases, passengers must be informed at check-in at the latest. Secondly, the Regulation gives the right to reimbursement or re-routing if the operating airline notified to the passenger has been entered in the meantime on the EU list of unsafe airlines and therefore is subject to an operating ban.

By setting these rules, the Regulation aims to strike a balance between the need for increasing safety in air travel and the wish to grant sufficient flexibility to airlines and tour operators to continue their current commercial practice and thus be able to switch operating airlines at relatively short notice.

Passengers with reduced mobility

About 10 % of the population in the EU suffer from reduced mobility – mainly the disabled and the elderly. With a view to protect their rights, the European Union has adopted rules which apply when persons with reduced mobility travel by air. The aim is to give these persons effective and free-of-charge assistance in EU airports and opportunities for air travel comparable to those enjoyed by others when they board a flight departing from an airport in the European Union.

The Regulation adopted, which applies to all airlines operating in the European Union, covers three main areas: fair, non-discriminatory, treatment of people with reduced mobility, free-of-charge assistance in all airports located in the EU and on-board assistance. Following publication in the Official Journal of the EU, foreseen for the second half of July 2006, the provisions of this Regulation will apply progressively:

  1. Article 3, which shall prevent airlines, their agents and tour operators from refusing reservation and boarding of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility on the ground of their handicap, and Article 4, foreseeing derogations to this rule for safety reasons, the passenger’s right to reimbursement and re-routing in case of denied boarding as well as the airline’s and the tour operator’s obligation to publish information describing their policy as to passengers with reduced mobility, will apply with effect from one year after publication of the Regulation.
  2. The other provisions of the Regulation, notably related to the right to free-of-charge assistance at airports, to the responsibility for ensuring this assistance as well as to setting up quality standards for it, together with the provisions on on-board assistance, will apply with effect from two years following the date of publication in the Official