петък, 11 май 2012 г.

European Consumer Rights: Flight delay and cancellation compensations

Due to the increased mobility within the EU and the increased number of EU citizens traveling abroad, the European Parliament has accepted specified rights of the customers of air carriers when there has been a problem with the flight of the traveler.

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishes passengers' rights in case of:

- denied boarding against their will
- flight is cancelled
- their flight is delayed

There are standard compensations in each of the above mentioned cases:

"Denied boarding:

In the event of flight cancellation or denied boarding, the passengers concerned have the right to:
  • reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination;
  • care (refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails);
  • compensation totalling:
    - EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;
    - EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;
    - EUR 600 for all other flights.
Delays
The Regulation introduces a three-tier system:
  • in the event of long delays (two hours or more, depending on the distance of the flight), passengers must in every case be offered free meals and refreshments plus two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails;
  • if the time of departure is deferred until the next day, passengers must also be offered hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation;
  • when the delay is five hours or longer, passengers may opt for reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure.
Upgrading and downgrading
If an air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, the passenger must be reimbursed within seven days, as follows:
  • 30% of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;
  • 50% of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, except flights between the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;
  • 75% of the price of the ticket for all other flights, including flights between the Member States and the French overseas departments."
The full conditions and text of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 can be found on the European Commission web-site regarding the Denied boarding compensation system:

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/protection_of_consumers/l24173_en.htm

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