The Single Market for air travel has greatly benefited air passengers and measures has been put in place to increase the quality of services and give passengers a wider choice of carriers and services. However, situations still occur whereby air passengers face long delays or cancellations, experience difficulties retrieving their luggage or are not happy with the quality of service provided by airlines. In order to make travelling in the EU a more pleasant experience, passengers need to know and understand their rights. When booking a flight it is important that you understand and agree to all charges included in the price and don’t forget to check the terms and conditions to familiarise yourself with the relevant restrictions and procedures. Where your flight is cancelled or delayed, or you are denied boarding, you have significant entitlements and enjoy the protection afforded by the EU law.
Protection for air passengers in the event of flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding
If you are departing from any airport situated in the EU, or arriving in the EU with an EU carrier or one from Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, and your air travel plans are disrupted, you have significant rights and entitlements under EU law.
Regulation (EC) 261/2004 established common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers, which air carriers are obliged to comply with in the event of flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding. Accordingly, you have the right to be informed of the circumstances of your journey in a timely manner before, during and after the travel and about your entitlements in case of disruption. Depending on the situation you may be entitled to receive assistance, be offered the option of continuing your trip or seeking a refund of you ticket.
The 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.” In addition, an airline denying boarding or cancelling a flight should provide each passenger with a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance. It should also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least two hours with an equivalent notice.
To find out more about your rights click on the relevant link below:
Protection for lost, delayed or damaged luggage
Under the Montreal Convention, you can claim compensation of up to 1,288 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) if your checked baggage fails to arrive on time or is damaged. Although, air carriers differ in their approach to offering compensation, you may be required to prove the extent of the loss, e.g. with receipts or invoices.
Air Fare Price Transparency
Applying full price transparency is an obligation under Air Services Regulation (Regulation 1008/2008/EC), which requires that the published price shall include the fare and all applicable taxes, charges, surcharges and fees which are unavoidable and foreseeable at the time of publication. Accordingly, if you book a flight online, the final price must be available from the initial page enabling you to compare prices across airlines and make an informed choice. In case of optional price supplements, they have to be indicated in a clear and transparent manner.
All passengers have the right to equal access to airfares without any discrimination based on their nationality or their place of residence.