Published On: Sat, Jul 9th, 2016

Contractual Obligations in the Air: All About EU Regulation 261/2004

Have you ever been bumped? If so, you could be entitled to financial compensation, but the problem is it’s not so easy to get compensated under regulation 261. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Here’s what savvy passengers do that most don’t.

Know Your Rights

First, know your rights. The European Commission made sure your rights on an airline are fair when the airline fails to meet their contractual obligations. The legislation, known as EU Regulation 261/2004, protects you. It applies to cancellations, rerouting, delays, and denied boarding.

You also could have the right to fair financial compensation if your flight is cancelled or if the airline bumps you. But, it’s not exactly straightforward when you’re entitled to this compensation. This is why Bott & Co flight compensation specialists work closely with passengers who may be due financial compensation, but are being denied by the airlines.

Airlines often claim problems with flights due to extraordinary events, which are excluded under the regulations. The reasoning may or may not be true, but it’s a way to avoid compensating passengers. Sometimes, when they do agree to pay compensation, it’s in the form of vouchers for future ticket purchases.

Bagagge in airport

But, this goes against the rules of the EU regulation. Airlines must offer you information outlining your rights and they must also offer you a refund or cash compensation if they’re liable. They must also tell you when they’re experiencing delays, cancellations or rerouting. This rarely happens, but passengers receiving proper care and assistance is even rarer.

The regulation applies to all flights in the EU, and all flights departing from the EU to a country outside of the Union. It doesn’t matter where you’re travelling. All flights arriving in the EU and carried out by an EU airline are also subject to the regulation.

Filing a Complaint

If you think you’ve been wronged, you can file a complaint. You may be entitled to a financial compensation of up to € 600 per passenger. To submit a claim form, you’ll have to fill out the EU-Complaint Form and get it to the airline, quickly.

When You Can’t Make a Claim

While you can make a claim under a variety of instances, there are some where you cannot. If your flight is delayed by more than three hours, you can. If your flight is late, you should be compensated. You can even get a flight back to your point of departure or get the proper accommodations if the airline has you stuck mid-way through your trip. You can also be refunded for the cost of your ticket, even for the amount you’ve already used if the flight being delayed no longer serves your original plans.

On top of this, you may be able to claim overnight accommodations and travel to and from the airport. Remember, airlines can refuse your flight if it’s delayed due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, like bad weather or civil unrest.

Travelling should be worry-free, but often it is not; however, there are ways to recover any duress due to a delayed or cancelled flight. Use a flight claim calculator to find out if you may have a case for reimbursement.

Vivian Cowley has worked in the travel industry for years. In her younger days she worked as a rep and tour guide and is now a travel planner. She writes on a range of travel topics for destination blogs around the web.