The following article provides an overview of how and how much compensation can be claimed from an airline.
If flight is delayed, canceled or denied, the passenger may be entitled to compensation. In the European Union, all air passengers have consumer rights (EU Regulation 261/2004) which ensures that passengers can reach their desired destination quickly and conveniently and which helps to mitigate risks. The rights established by the Regulation apply to passengers departing from or arriving at an airport in an EU Member State. The rights also apply to flights arriving from an airport outside the European Union when operated by an air carrier of a Member State. If you check in on time, these rights apply to all trips, including charter flights.
Duty of care
In the event of a flight being delayed, canceled or overbooked, the air carrier is always obliged to take care of the air passengers. Such treatment means that the airline must provide passengers with adequate catering, means of communication (an opportunity to make two telephone calls, send fax or e-mail) and, if necessary, hotel accommodation and transport between the accommodation and the airport, depending on the waiting time. The passenger is entitled to care in the following cases:
1) if the distance between the start and the final destination of the flight is less than 1500 km (e.g. Tallinn-Amsterdam) and the flight is canceled or delayed for at least two hours;
2) if the distance between the start and the final destination of the flight is 1500 to 3500 km (e.g. Tallinn-Brussels), or it is an intra-Community flight (e.g. Tallinn – Gran Canaria) and the flight is canceled or delayed for at least three hours;
3) if the distance between the start and the final destination of the flight is more than 3500 km (e.g. Tallinn – Phuket) and the flight is canceled or delayed for at least four hours.
In a situation where the airline does not have sufficient staff to provide passengers with food, accommodation or transport, the passenger should bear the costs. It is strongly recommended by the ’Flagito’ airline compensation company that the costs incurred stay reasonable and that all documents be retained. These cost documents can then be submitted with the claim to the airline, which must compensate for the damage.
If the airline fulfills the duty of care and delivers the passenger to the destination, the passenger is still entitled to compensation for the inconvenience caused if the flight arrives at the destination more than 3 hours later.
The amount of compensation depends on the length of the flight:
- EUR 250 for all flights of up to 1,500 kilometers, such as Tallinn-Stockholm;
- EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometers and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers such as Tallinn – Paris or Tallinn – Cairo;
- EUR 600 for flights where neither the destination nor the point of departure is in a Member State and the distance is more than 3500 kilometers, e.g. Tallinn – Bangkok
In the event of a flight delay and arrival at the final destination later than 3 hours, the air passenger has the right to claim compensation. For example, if in the case of a Tallinn – Helsinki – New York flight, the first flight is delayed by 45 minutes and the passenger does not reach the connecting flight, the airline is obliged to transport you to the final destination. Whenever possible, it would be best for connecting flights to purchase a flight ticket from the point of departure to the destination as connecting flight. The airline is then responsible for the passenger’s arrival at the destination. If you arrive in New York more than 3 hours late, you can claim up to € 600.
In the event of a flight cancellation or long delay (more than 5 hours), the carrier must give the person a choice as to whether they wish to be reimbursed or otherwise reach their final destination. Among other things, the part of the trip that has already taken place is reimbursed if the flight does not benefit the passenger’s initial itinerary. The passenger is entitled to compensation if he has been notified of the cancellation less than two weeks before the scheduled departure time. For example, if Tallinn – Brussels flight is canceled 1 day in advance, you will be entitled to compensation in addition to the ticket price or a replacement flight.
In the event of cancellation or delay, the airline has the right to refuse compensation if the situation was caused by an exceptional circumstance such as weather conditions or a strike. A technical failure as a reason for a flight cancellation or delay is not an exceptional circumstance and the passenger is entitled to claim compensation.
The flight may be overbooked, and the passenger denied boarding. Even then, the right to claim compensation from the airline also arises. Namely, airlines are willing to overbook seats, and this is a well-known practice and a permitted activity. This reduces the possibility of a seat becoming vacant on the aircraft and therefore not earning revenue. The airline must pay compensation of EUR 250, 400 or 600 (depending on the length of the flight) to the stranded passenger and provide care.
Where to go?
In the event of a flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding, first, the airline’s staff or agents must be contacted for assistance. Each passenger is entitles to receive a written notification from the airline setting out the rules for the payment of compensation and assistance. It is advisable to lodge a complaint if needed assistance is not provided or if passengers’ rights are violated.
Pursuing your rights in a stressful situation can be difficult and you may not remember all your rights. Flagito offers the possibility to claim compensation – this makes the whole process easier and more convenient for the passenger. If the customer is entitled to compensation, Flagito will charge a 30% service charge for its assistance, which will be deducted from the compensation received by the passenger. For the passenger, the process is risk-free – if the application fails, the service is free.
Flagito helps passengers claim compensation from airlines if:
- the flight is delayed for more than 3 hours;
- the flight is canceled and notified less than 2 weeks in advance;
- the flight was overbooked.