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Regulation (EC) No 261/2004

Of the European parliament and of the Council

Why is the EU Passenger Rights Regulation in place?

The EU regulation is in place to protect passengers against the inconvenience caused by long waiting times or flight cancellations, which the airline had the power to prevent. This is the ruling as stated in full: “Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.” The regulation provides passengers with protection against travel disruption, and also serves as an incentive for the airlines to maintain a more punctual operation. These rights also apply for passengers travelling on a package holiday.

The EU regulation 261/2004 is concerned with the following:

  • It is intended for passengers who suffer delayed or cancelled flights, overbooking or denied boarding.
  • Depending on the circumstances, and subject to certain conditions, it may give rise to a claim for compensation of between €250 and €600 per person.
  • It provides assistance and access to basic services in the event of flights cancelled or delayed for several hours.
  • It offers the right to request a seat on another flight or to withdraw from the scheduled flight if it is cancelled or delayed by more than 5 hours.
  • It obliges airlines to inform their passengers of flight delays and cancellations and their rights.

When do I get compensation according to EU regulation No. 261/2004

Based on the 2004 EU261 ruling, your flight must either take off or land in the European Union, in the latter case the airline must also have is headquarters in the EU. Your claims are valid up to 6 years retrospectively. It does not matter whether you took the flight as business traveller or as part of a package holiday, it is the person who suffered the inconvenience of the flight disturbance who receives the compensation.

You are entitled to compensation in the following cases:

  • Delays: Your flight must have arrived at its destination 3 or more than 3 hours late
  • Cancellations: If you have been informed of cancellation less than 14 days before departure
  • Overbooking: The airline overbooked your flight and you will not find a seat on board, which is equivalent to denied boarding.
  • Missed connecting flight: If the final destination is reached 3 or more than 3 hours later due to a missed connecting flight This also applies if the connecting flight was operated by another airline as long as your ticket is valid for both legs of the flight.

The amount of compensation is dependant on the distance of the flight – not on the amount you paid for your ticket.

  • Short distance flight delays – Below 1500km – Passengers are due €250 compensation
  • Medium distance flight delays – Between 1500km and 3500km – Passengers are due €400 compensation
  • Long distance flight delays – Over 3500km – Passengers are due €600 compensation

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