Thousands of Indians travel to Europe every year for leisure or work. But, not every journey is plain sailing. Hundreds of flights get delayed or cancelled due to one issue or another. Most passengers do not go beyond yelling at the ground staff for such issues! Stay informed and know that there’s more you can do when your Europe bound flight gets cancelled or delayed.
A set of rules called the EC261 (or the EU regulation 261/2004), is in place to safeguard the rights of a person travelling from Europe. These are a comprehensive set of rules, applicable to anyone flying in and out of Europe. This law holds the airline accountable in case of flight cancellations, long delays and denied boarding due to overbooking.
The good news is that you can do it all by yourself. You just need to be aware of your passenger rights.
If you don’t wish to file a claim by yourself, you can hire a lawyer who’s an expert in the European Aviation Law to do it for you. This will be expensive.
Your best bet is to submit an issue via Resolver. The automated tool will manage your complaint for free. Start your case here-
EC261 covers all flights departing from European airports, regardless of an airline’s nationality. You are eligible for compensation under the following circumstances –
You can claim compensation for-
The compensation amount depends on the distance of your flight, regardless of the amount you paid to buy your ticket.
|Flight distance||Length of Delay||Compensation|
|Any distance||5+ hours||Full ticket refund if you don’t take the flight|
|More than 3500 km||4+ hours||600 Euros|
|More than 3500 km||3-4 hours||300 Euros|
|More than 3500 km||Less than 3 hours||0|
|1500- 3500 km||4+ hours||400 Euros|
|1500- 3500 km||3-4 hours||400 Euros|
|1500- 3500 km||Less than 3 hours||0|
|Less than 1500 km||4+ hours||250 Euros|
|Less than 1500 km||3-4 hours||250 Euros|
|Less than 1500 km||Less than 3 hours||0|
If you were flying within Europe, you cannot claim more than 400 Euros even if the flight is longer than 3500 km.
You can receive the compensation through-
Under extraordinary circumstances, no passenger is eligible for compensation. This includes events that are not under the control of the airlines, like-
When the airline goes bankrupt, it’ll be difficult to claim compensation as you’ll be considered as a creditor of the company instead of an aggrieved passenger. To claim from a bankrupt airline, you will have to file a civil case.
Apart from the monetary compensation, you also have the following rights-
The airline must inform you about your right to claim compensation under the EC261 guidelines. Every airline has to display the rules and regulations of EC 261 on the check-in counters.
The airline must make reimbursement within seven days. If not, the airline should arrange a return flight for you at the earliest.
If the class of the alternative flight is lower, you can get a reimbursement between 30% to 75% of the price you originally paid!
The silver lining is that if the airline has placed you in a higher class than the original flight, they cannot charge you for the price difference.
Additionally, if you end up paying for the above privileges by yourself, keep the receipts and claim the costs later from the airlines.
You are eligible for these services when –
|Carrier||Distance||Hours of delay|
|All flights||1500 km or less||2 hours or more|
|Internal EU flights||Over 1,500 km||3 hours or more|
|Non-internal EU flights||1,500 km to 3,500 km||3 hours or more|
|Non-internal EU flights||Over 3,500 km||4 hours or more|
The right to compensation under EC261 is not decided by your nationality. It is determined where the headquarters of the airline are. Also, the time limit varies from country to country:
Lastly, do not accept any alternate offer the airline makes. You have rights, exercise them. You don’t have to compromise. Moreover, the airline may try to lie and deny you of any compensation. In such a case, you can approach Resolver to make a claim for free. You will receive timely updates on your case and possible steps towards escalation.
So, if you are travelling to the EU anytime soon, keep these flight compensation pointers in mind. Might come in handy!
Start your complaint now: claim flight compensation