In this era of low-cost flights, where you can book your next adventure in a matter of minutes from the comfort of your own home, the world has become easier to explore. However, with more travel opportunities comes the increased likelihood of experiencing some issues along the way and it’s often in the airport where these problems arise.
There is a multitude of mishaps that can occur before, during or even after air travel but rest assured you are not alone, you have rights as an EU passenger, and you can actually get compensated by the airline for your troubles. We’re going to focus on the 3 major issues you can come across during your journey, and what you need to watch out for.
After planning that special holiday for months with your family, or when you’re getting ready for the trip of a lifetime, it can seem that all hope is lost when you hear your flight is canceled. It’s even worse when it’s last minute and you’re already at the airport.
The first thing to remember here is not to panic and bear in mind that there are regulations in place to protect you in this exact situation. Take note of these three things and you can go from there:
- When were you told about the cancellation? 14 days or less means you are entitled to compensation.
- Where were you flying from and to?
- What was the distance of the flight?
Depending on when you were notified by the airline, plus the flight route and distance, you can receive 250 €, 400 € or 600 € in compensation!
Another nightmare while traveling by air is the dreaded delay. No one wants to be stuck at the airport for hours or to have to stay overnight in discomfort. Just like with a cancellation, though, there are ways of coming through this sticky situation and, depending on the specifics, you can find yourself with a little extra spending money in your pocket. Firstly, when assessing what your options are, the flight route and distance are again important points to note down.
Secondly, the length of the delay is, of course, a key factor here. Here’s something a lot of people don’t know – when we talk about the delay time, we’re referring to the delay at the destination, not departure. So, in theory, your flight could land perfectly on time, but if you’re sitting on that tarmac for over 3 hours, you can get compensation.
#3 Denied Boarding
We’re certainly not saving the best for last here. This is one irritating issue that is, unfortunately, becoming more and more common these days. Of course, the airline is perfectly within their rights to deny boarding to anyone posing a health or security risk, as well as if the passenger turns up late or doesn’t have their passport.
However, the most common reason for denied boarding – overbooking – is where your rights kick in. This is when airlines sell more tickets than are actually available, relying on the fact that many passengers are ‘no-shows’ and do not take the flight they’ve paid for. Great for the airline, not so great for you. Just like with the previous two problems, the flight route and distance are necessary to know if you have a claim or not.
Flight Route and Distance
We’ve mentioned the importance of the flight route and it’s also equally important which airline you’re flying with. It all depends on the EU.
To simplify, here are the flight routes where passengers are protected and can claim compensation:
- Flights within and from the EU, regardless of where the headquarters of the airline is.
- Flights into the EU with an airline headquartered in the EU.
So, a flight from New York to London with Delta would not qualify, as it’s flying from a non-EU country and the airline has its headquarters outside the EU.
Now onto the distance, an equally crucial factor to know when asserting your passenger rights. The easiest way to explain is to break it down into possible compensation amounts related to distance:
- 3 500 kilometers (past the EU border) – 600 €
- 1 500 kilometers within the EU, any flight between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometers – 400 €
- Up to 1 500 kilometers – 250 €
With all these points to consider before you even make a claim, it can seem overwhelming and complicated.
However, pursuing your rights doesn’t necessarily mean paying expensive legal fees or going through an intimidating court case. These days, you can easily check online if you have a case against the airline and, if so, how much compensation you can expect to receive. Moreover, the entire process of claiming against the airline can be done electronically. After all, when you’ve gone through the stress of your flight being delayed or canceled, or being denied boarding, you deserve to get that compensation from the airline without adding any extra frustration.
And remember, don’t panic!
Have you ever experienced that your flight got delayed or canceled? How did you deal with that?