COVID-19: Flight restrictions in Europe (March 2020)
The European Consumer Centre Ireland wishes to provide guidance to Irish air travellers on their consumer rights pertaining to the latest flight restrictions in Europe.
16 March 2020
In terms of consumer rights relating specifically to the current situation in Spain and Irish travellers flying on Aer Lingus and Ryanair, the role of the European Consumer Centre Ireland is as follows:
- For Irish air travellers normally based in Ireland who are flying in and out of Ireland on Aer Lingus and Ryanair, this is a domestic issue in terms of flight and associated consumer rights. In this specific case, Irish consumers are dealing with Irish traders (the airlines), and this consumer rights matter comes under the remit of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of Ireland. Advice and further information is available on ccpc.ie and from all the other relevant Irish national and local consumer rights entities. The latest information from the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation is also particularly important and it is available on flightrights.ie.
- Any Irish air travellers who booked their flights back to Ireland / out of Ireland with any air carriers other than Irish carriers can contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland, should they have any queries, via our contact page here: eccireland.ie/contact-us.
In terms of general consumer rights relating to the Coronavirus travel restrictions in/from Europe and Ireland and the role of the European Consumer Centre Ireland, please note that Irish air travellers stranded anywhere in the European Union, United Kingdom, Norway and Iceland avail of their usual flight rights under the Regulation (EC) 261/2004, i.e.:
- If their flights are cancelled, Irish air travellers currently abroad and looking to repatriate are entitled to seek a refund or re-routing. Airlines also have a duty of care to their passengers under the regulation, so the usual obligations to provide assistance, free meals and overnight accommodation remain.
- The Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation is responsible for the enforcement of Regulation (EC) 261/2004 in relation to flights departing from airports in Ireland.
- If Irish travellers currently abroad and looking to repatriate are now forced to change their plans and/or were urged to return home by authorities in the destination country and/or Ireland, they are advised to contact the respective airlines to inquire on re-booking their flights. They should always check the latest information from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on dfa.ie.
- Given the situation at present, and in the context of special measures by airlines of reducing and cancelling flights, Irish air passengers may need to consider making their own arrangements, either because there are no re-booking or re-routing options (flights are reduced or cancelled, so options simply don’t exist), or maybe they cannot get through to their airlines in order to inquire on these re-booking or re-routing options. Irish consumers should check the websites of Aer Lingus and Ryanair for the latest announcements on flight cancellations, and their updated customer service levels and new contact guidelines on aerlingus.com and ryanair.com, respectively.
- Irish air travellers who booked package holidays comprising flights should contact the travel agents / tour operators / booking engines they reserved with and paid through.
Over the next while, Irish air travellers currently abroad and wishing to fly back to Ireland or intending to travel abroad from Ireland should closely monitor travel advice information and the latest guidelines on the websites of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Commission for Aviation Regulation, as well as the most up-to-date information and communications on the websites and other channels of the relevant airlines. Together, these guidelines will give them an overview of their options to travel back to and out of Ireland.
The service of the European Consumer Centre Ireland remains fully operational with the exception of our call centre. At present, we advise Irish consumers to contact us by e-mail only via our contact page here: eccireland.ie/contact-us. Our staff is collectively and individually doing their best to respond to all queries and complaints as quickly as possible, and within 5 working days. However, due to exceptionally high volumes, we cannot always guarantee this. We will keep the public informed of all relevant consumer news and the latest on Irish consumers’ rights via our website eccireland.ie and on Twitter here: twitter.com/eccireland.Return to top