UK European Consumer Centre

Air travel

Cancelled flight? Long flight delay? Denied boarding?

Thanks to EU air passenger rights, you may be entitled to reimbursement, rerouting, compensation and more.

You will have rights under EC Regulation 261/2004 if your flight:

  • Departs from an EU country* OR
  • Arrives in an EU country* on an EU based carrier.    

* this also includes Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Flight Cancellations

If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to the following ;

Refund or re-routing – you will be given a choice between a refund of the ticket or of re-routing to your final destination. You are not entitled to reimbursement of any other components of your trip such as hotel and transfer costs.


Compensation – If there is a delay in getting to your destination due to re-routing, compensation is owed at the following levels:

 Length of journeyDelay to Destination
Compensation
 up to1500km up to 2 hours  €125
 up to 1500km
 more than 2 hours
 €250
 1500km to 3500km
 up to 3 hours
 €200

 1500km to 3500km

 more than 3 hours
 €400
 more than 3500km
 up to 4 hours  €300
 more than 3500km
 more than 4 hours
 €600

 

 The airline is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by "extraordinary circumstances, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken". Such extraordinary circumstances might occur "in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier".

Assistance at the airport - Free meals and refreshments as well as two free phone calls/emails/faxes should also be provided when waiting for the re-routed flights. In the event of re-routing when the flight is the next day free accommodation and transfer to and from that accommodation should be provided by the airline.

 

Denied Boarding

 An airline may refuse to allow you to board for various reasons and one of the major reasons is that they have overbooked your flight. Overbooking is a common industry practice and airlines do this as they rely on some passengers not showing up. When an airline overbooks, they initially ask for volunteers to not fly but will sometimes 'bump' people off a flight. If you are 'bumped off a flight, you will be entitled to compensation in line with the table above.

 To be entitled to compensation three conditions need to be satisfied:

  • You must have a valid ticket;
  • You must have a confirmed reservation;
  • You must have checked-in by the deadline given to you by the airline.

 

Flight Delays

If your flight has been delayed the airline may be obliged to provide assistance under EC Regulation 261/2004.  The length of delay and the distance of the flight will reflect the level of assistance provided. (Remember, these rights only apply to those passengers flying from an EU airport or from an airport outside the EU to an EU airport on an EU carrier).

 Length of Journey
Delay to Destination
Assistance
 All Flights
 Overnight and more than 5 hours
 Meals and refreshments in relation to waiting time.

Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes.

Hotel accommodation and transfers.
 

Reimbursement of ticket (if passenger decides not to travel*)
 All Flights
 More than 5 hours
 Meals and refreshments in relation to waiting time.

Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes.

Hotel accommodation and transfers.
 

Reimbursement of ticket (if passenger decides not to travel*)
 Over 3500km
More than 4 hours
 Meals and refreshments in relation to waiting time.

Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes.
 1500km to3500kmMore than 3 hours
 Meals and refreshments in relation to waiting time.

Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes.
 Up to 1500km
More than 2 hours
 Meals and refreshments in relation to waiting time.

Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes.

 *If you decide not to travel you are entitled to a refund, within seven days, of the parts of the tickets not used. If it is a connecting flight and you have already made part of the journey and do not want to continue with it, reimbursement of the total price of the ticket (including parts of the journey not made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to your original travel plan) within seven days and a free flight back to point of departure. You are not entitled (under Regulation 261/2004) to reimbursement of any other components of your trip such as hotel and transfer costs.