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Flight Delays & Cancellations: What are Your Rights as a Traveler?

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Your bags are packed and, so far, everything is running smoothly as you head to the airport. You know that feeling. Whether it’s for a family vacation, a weekend getaway, or a business trip, you want getting to your gate at the airport to be a smooth process. Nothing can throw a wrench in your plans quite like flight delays or cancellations.

And then it happens. Your phone buzzes and a notification appears on the screen, alerting you of a flight delay, or worse, a cancellation. This is when you unwillingly enter the airline’s arena and begin playing their game. Getting compensation for flight cancellations or delays has never been easy, but we believe in getting passengers what is rightfully theirs.

There was a time when the passenger frequently came up empty-handed in this situation. Luckily, those days are long gone. It all started with the passing of Regulation EU 261/2004. You have rights to compensation as a passenger, and everybody here at TravelRefund is dedicated to protecting those rights. Let’s jump right in.

Air Passenger Rights

Any passenger who is facing flight cancellations or delays in the EU has the right to fair compensation from the airline. Ultimately, we fear that you may be entirely unaware of those rights. Air passenger rights were solidified with the passing of Regulation EU 261/2004, stipulating that compensation is due if there is a delay due to an error on the side of the airline.

Passengers that aren’t already aware need to be. On the flip side, passengers that are aware of their right to compensation might find the lengthy process discouraging. We want to remind you that the airline has certain obligations to fulfill. Likewise, you have certain rights to compensation in the event of a flight cancellation, rights that the airline is required to share with you.

In 2015, EU 261/2004 was solidified when the European Court of Justice passed a ruling that unforeseen technical problems were not enough to get airlines off the hook for flight delay compensation. The decision also protects passengers against more than just flight cancellations. It covers lengthy delays, missing a connection resulting from airline error, and flights that are overbooked.

Your rights don’t stop there. Airlines also accept a duty of care for passengers. In the event a delay or cancellation, you may also be entitled to refreshments, meals, and transportation reimbursement if required.

Depending on the circumstances of your delay or cancellation, you might be entitled to compensation from a European airline in return. It’s important to be aware of your rights so that you can get what you’re owed if you are eligible.

When You Are Eligible For Compensation

For starters, passengers that are eligible for compensation as a result of flight cancellations must possess a valid ticket and booking confirmation. The caveat is your flight must either begin the trip at an airport in the EU, or land at one. Another aspect that needs considering is the location of the airline’s headquarters. It must be located within the EU.

Other than the location factor, the reason for the cancellation must be within the airline’s control. The European Passenger Rights Regulation EC 261/04 protects passengers against more than just flight cancellations. It covers lengthy delays, missing a connecting flight due to airline error, and overbooked flights as well.

As for the compensation payouts, here is how it breaks down.

Payouts will range from €250-600, but that will depend on a variety of factors, the length of your journey and for how long you were delayed being chief among them. Short distance flight delays (anything below 1500km of travel), call for compensation of €250. Medium distance flight delays (between 1500km and 3500km) can mean you are due €400 in compensation. Long distance flight delays (anything over 3500km) calls for compensation of €600 per passenger.

If the delay extends past five hours, the fault falls upon the airline’s shoulders. Once you cross the five-hour threshold, the airline is required to offer a full refund for the flight, a full refund for connecting flights from the airline that are going to be missed in the same booking, or a trip back to the airport you originally departed from, if you are in the middle of your journey.

If extraordinary circumstances are the culprit, any flight cancellations might not be a responsibility of the airline. Your right to compensation relies on the reason for the cancellation, and whether or not the airline was holding up their end of the bargain. Airlines have an obligation to communicate the status of your flight as to minimize the potential inconvenience that flight delays and cancellations can cause. If you feel you have a potential claim on your hands, there are a few different courses of action.

Where You Can File a Claim

In the event of a cancellation or delay, you need to file an official claim with the airline who you booked through. If you choose to attack this process yourself, you start by appropriately contacting the airline, whether it’s by phone, online form, or some other method of contact. Once you describe your claim, you might have it approved. However, it’s more likely that they will deny your initial request at first. If that is the case, you need to advance your argument to the National Enforcement Body (NEB).

Bypassing these steps is also an option. If you choose to go with a lawyer, the costs can add up. There is still one more option, beyond hiring a lawyer. That’s where TravelRefund steps up.

TravelRefund Can Help

To process your case, we will use your personal information, trip details, and where the delay occurred. In some cases, we ask for a copy of your e-ticket to confirm the purchase, and some airlines will require a photo ID to confirm your identity. Gathering all of the necessary documents and validating your compensation claim might appear to be a daunting task, but TravelRefund is here to help make the process easier for you and simplify all that that comes with flight cancellations.

Flight Cancellations

We are constantly innovating and working to improve this process so that our clients get what they deserve in the quickest manner possible. When you look to us to assist with collecting your compensation, we see it as a simple success/fail scenario.

TravelRefund operates on a no cure, no pay basis, either you get your compensation, or you don’t. You will never get a bill from us that is not accompanied by an even larger payment from the airline.

Learn more about your options when making a compensation request for free by filling out our online form.