Flying is fun! As long as everything works out fine. But in case of cancellation or delays, it can quickly become a nightmare. If you are lucky, it’s only a stressful start into your holidays. Worst case, you miss your friend’s wedding or an important business meeting. To protect passengers from unfair treatment by airlines, the European Union created Air Passenger Rights Regulations.
Unfortunately, not many people know their rights. Therefore, only a fraction of them claims their rightful compensation. In many cases, your airline will pay you up to €600 or more, just for filling a simple form. But from personal experience, sometimes it’s easier and more promising to get legal help when dealing with airline refunds. Companies like Airhelp and Flightright are specialized to help passengers after delays and cancellations. But the best is, is that their service is free of charge, if your claim is unsuccessful.
What are the EU Air Passenger Rights?
The EU Air Passenger Rights is a set of regulations that are set in place to protect the rights of air passengers. These regulations are enforced by the European Union (EU). The EU has passed a series of laws and directives that have resulted in the creation of these rights. They are designed to prevent airlines from denying boarding or delaying flights without justification. They also require airlines to provide compensation for passengers who experience any of these issues.
Airlines are required to offer the same compensation for denied boarding as they would for a cancelled flight. This includes providing a refund of your ticket, and rebooking you on a different flight. You are free to choose a flight from another company, if an alternate connection can’t be provided within 2 hours.
What conditions must be met to be entitled to a compensation?
Whenever the time of arrival is delayed for three hours or more, you are entitled to a compensation for your inconveniences. This is on top of your refund or possible claims for further damages. Furthermore, the flight needs to start from or land at an EU airport or both.
The 3 types of refunds and compensation
There are three types of compensation for damages, caused by a delayed flight or after a cancellation. While you are almost certainly entitled to number 1, number 2 and 3 are subject to certain criteria.
1) Refund or an alternate flight at a later time
2) Compensation according to the EU-Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) No 261/2004
3) Individual damages, which must be claimed separately
On top of your refund, you will receive €250 – €600 for your EU claim and possibly whatever damage occurred as a result of the incident.
How much money do you actually get?
The reimbursement rate is based on the distance of your trip.
- For flights up to 1500 km = €250
- For flights over 1500 km = €400
- For flights over 3500 km = €600
Can you claim compensation if you were denied boarding?
Yes, and not only when you couldn’t board your flight, but also when you miss your connection or your luggage was lost or delayed.
What Does “Denied Boarding” Mean in Terms of Compensation?
Denied boarding is when an airline oversells tickets for a flight and forces passengers to make other arrangements. When this happens, the airline is supposed to offer compensation in the form of vouchers or cash for the inconvenience.
The amount of compensation is determined by the length of time until the next flight departs and how much money you spent on your ticket. For example, if you are denied boarding from a plane that leaves in two hours, you should be compensated with €400 in vouchers or cash. If you are denied boarding from a plane that leaves in three days, you should be compensated with €800 in vouchers or cash.
Denied Boarding, EU Travel Law and EU Air Passenger Rights
Denied boarding is a term for when an airline company denies a passenger from boarding the plane. One of the most common reasons for this is overbooking, which happens when the airline sells more tickets than there are seats available on the plane.
The EU has created a law that states that passengers have certain rights in case of denied boarding or flight cancellation. Airlines can’t deny you from boarding if they’re overbooked, and they have to provide you with information about your rights in case of a denied boarding or flight cancellation. More details about the conditions that apply can also be found on the website of the European Union.
How to claim compensation from your airline?
It is possible to claim the compensation yourself. Your chances of success might differ vastly, depending on your airline. Some airlines like Eurowings provide a claims form on their website, but that’s not always the case. Some budget airlines tend to ignore your claims, or at least, they make it as hard and inconvenient for you as possible.
Best start by checking our list with links to many airline compensation forms.
If your airline doesn’t provide an online form, you can download our air travel compensation form template.pdf for free and file the claim yourself.
Since there is no automated process as of today, many people choose to use a service provider like Airhelp or Flightright instead. On their website, passengers can check, with their boarding pass, if a compensation is likely. Airhelp also has a team of legal experts and takes your airline to court if necessary. If they can get you your money, a 35% fee is subtracted from your compensation, but if you lose, you won’t have to pay anything! And most likely the remaining amount would mostly cover your costs, especially when you fly within the EU.
Can international passengers claim compensation on EU-flights?
Yes, all passengers within the EU can file a claim. It does not matter, if the airline or the passenger are from the EU themselves. As long as the flight starts or lands on EU territory, the airline must comply with EU-Passenger Rights Regulations.
The Worst Airlines For Getting Denied Boarded And Refusal of Transport Claim
Reasons for getting denied boarding or refused transport claims are not always clear. Airlines can refuse a transport claim due to lack of seats, overbooking, or the passenger’s medical condition. Most often they name extraordinary circumstances like weather or strike, but that does not always hold up in a legal battle.
Amongst the worst airlines for getting refused transport claims, Air India has a high refusal rate. This is mainly due to its policy of refusing to fly passengers who are sick and have an infectious disease.
Disclaimer: While we research thoroughly, we can’t guarantee that this content is up-to-date at all times, but we try our best. This article does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should always consult an attorney for advice about your individual needs.
Affiliate Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored by Airhelp, but when you click on one of the Flightright or Airhelp links in this article and win your claim, Travel-4-free.com may receive a small commission.