Know your (passengers) rights

Do you want to know your rights as a passenger?

Well, you have to know that there is a European Regulation named EU261 and registered in 2004 that establishes the protection of air passengers in the event of flight delays, flight cancellations, denied boarding and damaged baggage.

Basically, there are 4 fundamental rights for air passengers: if you are a frequent flyer be sure to know them by heart and don’t be caught unprepared in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Delayed flights: which are your rights?

The amount of damage you are entitled to get in the event of a delayed flight depends mainly on two factors:

  • the duration of the delay
  • the distance traveled

Since 2004, according to European regulation EU26, the rights of passengers traveling within the EU are protected by the Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 of the European Parliament and Council (CE261).

What are the main rules provided for by CE 261 on the subject compensation and passenger assistance?

In case of aircraft delay the traveler is entitled to compensation for:

  • ¬ 250 for all flights covering a distance of 1500 km or less
  • ¬ 400 for all flights within the EU that cover a distance of more than 1500 km
  • ¬ 400 for all flights operated by European companies covering a distance between 1500 km and 3500 km
  • ¬ 600 for all flights covering a distance exceeding 3500 km

What about passenger rights in the USA?

In the USA the rights of passengers for late flights are less and the choice to compensate passengers or not is left in the hands of the airlines.

The only exception is the delays on the track of any flight that leaves or arrives in the USA: if the plane is on the ground and with passengers on board you are entitled to meals, drinks, access to the toilets and medical assistance in the first 2 hours of delay, information every 30 minutes, and after 3 hours (4 for international flights) the plane must return to the boarding gate. 

International legislation

Since 2003, the Montreal Convention, signed by more than 120 countries, protects the rights of passengers on international flights in the event of a delayed flight.

In this case, passengers can claim compensation for air damage if they are caused directly by inefficiency (as for example a not refundable reservation). However, as with European legislation, “exceptional circumstances” are not covered.

Finally, according to the Montreal Convention, the time limit for submitting a request for compensation is 2 years starting from the expected or actual arrival date.

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