When passengers are denied boarding on a flight, airlines are obliged to first seek volunteers to give up their reservation in exchange for certain benefits. In addition, the air carrier must also offer volunteers the choice between a full refund and re-routing.
You may be entitled to compensation of between €125 and €600 depending on the distance of the flight and the delays experienced before being re-routed. Where volunteers choose re-routing, the airline must also provide assistance if necessary, for example – food, access to a telephone, hotel accommodation of one or more nights if necessary and transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation.
You are also entitled to identical compensation to that offered when you are denied boarding, unless you were informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before the flight, or you were rerouted close to your original times, or if the airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.
In addition the airline must offer you the choice between:
- reimbursement of your ticket within seven days;
- re-routing to your final destination under similar conditions;
- and if necessary, care (phone call, refreshments, food, accommodation, transportation to the accommodation).
You are entitled to care by the airline (phone call, refreshments, meal, accommodation, transportation to the place of accommodation) if the delay is:
- two hours or more for flights of 1,500 km or less;
- three hours or more for longer flights within the European Union or for other flights of between 1,500 and 3,500 km;
- four hours or more for flights of over 3,500 km outside the European Union.
If the delay is more than five hours, and you decide not to continue your journey, you are also entitled to have your ticket reimbursed and be flown back to where you originally started your journey.
If you get to your final destination with a delay of three hours or more, you may be entitled to identical compensation to that offered when your flight gets cancelled, unless the airline can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, airlines can be held liable for damages resulting from delays.
If your baggage is lost, damaged or delayed, you may be entitled to compensation limited to about €1,220. However, airlines shall not be liable if they have taken all reasonable measures to avoid the damage or it was impossible to take such measures.
For damaged baggage, you must lodge a claim to the airline within seven days of receiving your baggage.
For delayed receipt of baggage, this period is a maximum of 21 days.
People with disabilities and people with reduced mobility
Under EU legislation people with disabilities and/or reduced mobility are protected from being discriminated against during reservation and boarding. They are also entitled to receive assistance at airports (on departure, on arrival and in transit) and on board airplanes. In order to facilitate the provision of assistance, it is recommended to pre-notify your needs.
See the airline Conditions of Carriage here
For details of legislative obligations under EU regulation click here
NOTE: Conditions of Carriage refer to the country of origin and may not be applicable to all jurisdictions.
To lodge a complaint with the airline, click here
To lodge a complaint with the EU click here
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