Air France is one of the largest airlines in the EU and carried over 100 million passengers in 2018 alone. With main hubs at both Paris-Orly and Paris-De Gaulle airports, Air France is well positioned to serve 195 destinations in 92 countries around the world, including nearly 50 EU cities and 26 cities in North America. Air France operates around 30,000 flights per month, and it’s on-time performance – flights that leave less than 15 minutes late – hovers around 78%, which is only slightly above average.
You may have a slightly higher chance of requiring Air France refunds for cancelled or delayed flights than you would with other airlines. It’s especially essential to be aware of your rights to Air France compensation and other accommodation you may be entitled to under EU 261. The European Union established these regulations in 2004 to help protect passengers in the event of long delays, cancellations and overbookings.
While it may not be possible to prevent or avoid cancellations and delays, EU 261 provides some monetary relief to passengers to compensate them for their troubles and to motivate airlines to be better. Any passengers should be aware of the Air France refund policy under this law so they can be prepared to make a claim.
Air France is headquartered in the EU and nearly all of its flights go to or from the EU. That means if you’re looking into Air France compensation, you’ve already checked off one of the criteria: whether your flight departs from the EU, lands in the EU, or is within the EU, you’ll always be covered under EU 261.
In addition, every claim needs to meet the following criteria, whether it is for Air France delay compensation or for a flight that was cancelled entirely:
Finally, you’ll need to determine whether there were “extraordinary circumstances.” Airlines aren’t required to pay compensation for cancellations or delays that were outside their control. This includes things like:
However, there are many situations where you will be entitled to an Air France refund and compensation under EU 261, like:
The idea behind EU 261 is to improve the flying experience in Europe by holding airlines accountable for preventable delays and cancellations. If your flight delay or cancellation was preventable, you may be able to file an Air France compensation claim. Read on.
Once you determine you meet the general criteria above, you can begin thinking about your specific situation. Under EU 261, passengers are eligible for Air France refunds for flights that are delayed three or more hours. This means that you will arrive at your destination at least three hours later than the original time. If you depart more than three hours late, but make up the time in the air and still arrive less than three hours late, you don’t meet the requirements for Air France delay compensation.
It’s a strict window: The courts have even ruled on when exactly a plane has “arrived.” Your official arrival time is when your plane has opened at least one of its doors – so stay alert to what’s going on. If no doors have opened, you haven’t officially arrived. While this may be bad news for your travel plans, it could be good news for your ability to claim an Air France refund.
If you’ve arrived at your destination more than three hours late, it’s time to determine how much Air France delay compensation you’re entitled to. This is calculated based on the length of your flight and the length of your delay.
Air France flight cancellation compensation is easier to determine. If you have a valid booking for a flight that was cancelled by the airline for a reason that was under their control, and they gave you less than 14 days notice, you’re eligible. But how much compensation will you get? That depends on the length of your flight:
Keep in mind that regardless of the reason for the cancellation, passengers are always entitled to Air France refunds of the ticket price for cancelled flights. This is a fundamental part of EU Air Passenger Rights law that is separate from filing an Air France compensation claim under EU 261.
Air France will usually offer to re-route you on the earliest available flight, but you do not have to take this option. They can also offer you a voucher for future travel – and sometimes will give incentives to make this option more enticing – but again, you don’t have to accept it. You’re entitled to receive an Air France refund for the ticket price you paid. You can then file for separate Air France flight cancellation compensation if you’re eligible under EU 261.
EU 261 has had a positive impact on the number and frequency of overbooked flights in Europe. Prior to the law, overbooking was a common tactic because it helps airlines maximize their profits. Overbooking means that airlines sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane – on purpose. They assume that not all passengers will show up. If they don’t, there still won’t be any empty seats on the plane, so the flight will be more profitable.
The problem arises when all the passengers do show up. The strategy backfires and results in an overbooked flight. If you’re the one who ends up getting bumped from the flight, you can file an Air France compensation claim. That’s because overbooking is almost always the fault of the airline and is not covered by the extraordinary circumstances clause.
There are reasons Air France may deny you boarding that don’t fall in the overbooked flight category. If the crew determines that you are inebriated, sick or don’t have the correct documents, they may not let you board. This is up the the judgement of the crew, so make sure you have everything in order – and don’t have too many cocktails before boarding! Passengers denied boarding for these reasons won’t have standing under the Air France refund policy.
EU 261 provides other passenger rights beyond the Air France refund policy and compensation for delayed or cancelled flights. For delayed flights, if the delay is longer than five hours, you don’t have to take the next available flight. You can decline the flight, and Air France must then fly you back to your origin point or arrange alternation transportation to your destination, such as by train instead of air. This is in addition to any Air France compensation you may be entitled to.
For cancelled flights, you’re not obligated to take the next available flight. If you choose not to, the airline must refund your full ticket price, and you may be entitled to additional compensation under EU 261.
If you do choose to wait for the next available flight, you’re entitled to certain care while you’re in the airport – all provided free of charge. Be sure to ask for vouchers for meals, refreshments and a phone call. If you need to wait overnight, the airline must set up a hotel reservation and provide transportation to and from the airport. Save your receipts if they don’t provide you with vouchers. You may be able to recoup this money as part of your Air France compensation claim.
Don’t let a delayed or cancelled flight ruin your trip. You may not be able to avoid it, but you can stay on top of the situation to ensure you make the most of it ¬– and that you can later make a successful claim for an Air France refund.
Don’t assume that your delay or cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances. Always ask the airline for the reason and try to get it in writing. Even if the reason given appears to fall under the extraordinary circumstances clause, it may still be open to interpretation in the courts. For example, an airline could claim a delay was due to low visibility, when in reality, there was enough visibility to land, but the pilot was unable to do so because of a mechanical failure or lack of skill. TravelRefund can help you file for Air France delay compensation and get these claims investigated by the courts.
For any investigation, documentation is always important. This is why we advise travellers to get the reason in writing if possible. You should also always save your boarding pass and booking confirmation as proof of your reservation and the date and time of your flight. If you can’t prove you had a valid reservation and that you checked in on time, your Air France compensation claim could be denied.
The process of filing a claim with TravelRefund takes just a few clicks. Just make a claim on our website. We’ll review it and contact you within a few days. However, the overall time it takes for passengers to receive Air France refunds varies depending on the circumstances of the case. If we need to go to court, your claim could take longer. We’ll always keep you updated on the status of your claim. Contact us today.