Had you faced problems with your flights, delays in departures or arrivals, missing baggage, overbooked flight or cancelation of flights? If such a situation arose, you may have the right to claim compensation or refund of ticket cost depending upon the situation. Different sets of rules apply no matter where and when you fly. Get wise about passenger rights in the EU, US and IN.
The prevailing scenario of passenger rights in the EU
Besides air passenger rights, even if you traveled by bus, train, and boat in the EU, similar rights have been put in place. Concerning the EU, look them up on the website (www.eutravelrights.eu).
EU Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 being very comprehensive, sets out separate articles for each aspect of flight associated problems. Read in details here: EU 261 Rule.
About flight departure delays, a three-tier system helps compensate affected passengers.
If departures are delayed by two hours or longer, passengers get free meals and telephone, telex, email or fax facilities.
If departures are postponed to the next day, passengers receive hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the hotel. The airline pays special attention to passengers with reduced mobility and unaided children.
If the flight gets delayed five hours or longer, passengers can claim reimbursement of the ticket cost along with a return flight refund if applicable. The reimbursement of the full ticket cost should be paid within seven days. Further, if travel plans have been disrupted, the earliest return flight to the starting point is also paid for by the airline.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in October 2012 regarding compensation for flight delays. Airline companies may challenge the conditions but compensation must come if the cases meet certain criteria. Since then, more of the people received compensation for flight delays using the free flight delay claim letters or through claim companies such as Claim Flights, Flight Right, Airhelp and many more renowned claim firms.
Claims procedures have loopholes like airlines objecting to claims over two years old and unknown technical faults arising in the plane. Court cases objected to that twice, at 2014 end and in September 2015. Claims extending backwards and including 2011 would still be legally acceptable.
Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 includes Article 7 that concerns the Right to compensation and Article 8 about the Right to reimbursement or re-routing. Article 9 concerns the Right to care and Article 14 deals with the Obligation to inform passengers of their rights. Some claims cases turn out to be sensationally successful while others may be given up halfway.
The Court of Justice of the European Union ushered in a new system in September 2014. The repeal of Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 meant that the arrival time indicated the point when an aircraft door was opened after touchdown. Articles 2, 5 and 7 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament besides the Council of 11 February 2004 put the rules in place. Victims of denied boarding, cancelations and long delays stand to benefit.
The absolutely relevant question of compensation
Booked flights canceled call for compensation besides the greater than three hour flight delay in landing. EU rule 261/2004 indicates compensation extending between 110 pounds and 520 pounds, according to certain conditions.
Do you pay fees for claiming and receiving compensation? Claims involve no expense. As in all walks of life, appropriate compensation comes according to the nature of the loss. If the airline company loses a passenger’s baggage, compensation would be awarded. While such occurrences have become rare with the sophistication of service delivery, flight compensation results from delayed flights. Claiming and obtaining compensation can sometimes turn into a hassle.
Just imagine flight delays and what they mean to the international traveler. If the flight originates in London and you fly to Sydney via Amsterdam, the delay of the first flight could mean missing the connecting flight. Immense stress results besides the financial loss since new flight tickets involve hassles. Family vacation plans get upset and business meetings missed.
While flights delayed may be comparatively uncommon, many suffer! Claims to obtain compensation follow the prevailing rules. Even if the delayed arrival took place in 2012, claiming compensation can still happen, up to six years in retrospect.
Why the delay? Human error, management problems, bad weather and instrument and technical failure turn out to be some unforeseen problems. Some flight delays occur due to extraordinary circumstances like natural disasters. Certain airline companies let down passengers with too many delays!
Is the compensation culture growing after 2012?
Ethically speaking, you deserve to receive compensation that really belongs to you, like in the cases of canceled flights and lost baggage. The EU regulations certainly put airlines in a soup. It appears that flight ticket costs do not relate to the compensation amount. If you paid 20 pounds for a cheap flight and experienced several hours of delay, should you get compensated with 310 pounds? That kills airline interests effectively and don’t forget that they already struggle with several problems like high fuel costs.
For the sake of fairness to both passengers and the industry, compensation could be the cheaper amount. A 50-pound flight with a 310-pound compensation would bring 50 pounds as compensation. If the flight costs 250 pounds, you get 300 pounds as compensation.
On the other hand, don’t push claims if you had a fantastic party at the airport bar after a three-hour ten-minute delay. Consider those who spent thousands of pounds on flight tickets. Additionally, they remained stuck with children over twelve hours. They slept on airport chairs or the plane. Such passengers certainly deserve a lot of compensation.
Consider several factors in terms of the compensation battle and how much entitlement exists according to the rules. Ethical awareness matters.
Do you know the rules and procedures to claim compensation for delayed flights?
While people want to avoid legal hassles, technology has certainly eased the process of redress of grievances.
It applies only when a delay in landing is three hours and greater. The quantum of compensation depends upon the length of delay and the number of passengers affected.
Loopholes exist and airline companies certainly try to avoid paying anything at all. Dragging the company to court happens though not over a small sum of money. Delayed compensation often results in great harassment too when you approach many persons and offices.
Flight delay compensation up to the extent of 520 British pounds per person appears a big deal. That amount means nothing in the case of lengthy flights across the world when flight tickets cost huge amounts.
Yet, a family of five receives over 2500 pounds, a large amount. Besides, the claim extends back to 2011. Think back. If such unpleasant events occurred a few years ago, claims would still be admissible. Procure the evidence and follow the procedures.
Though not an easy process, some turn out lucky. Why do few claim compensation? It appears a tedious process. You succeed if you know the right way. Does it consume lots of time? Yes.
Care and Compensation
According to EU Regulation 261/2004, a delayed departure beyond 2 hours calls for care. It applies to departures from an EU airport on any carrier or arrival at an EU airport on an EU carrier. The airline needs to cater food and drink according to the time appropriate.
Further, the airline pays calling expenses to the family or office. If the delay happens overnight, hotel accommodation should be provided too. According to the situation, perhaps the passenger makes the booking and claims reasonable payment based on receipts.
If longer delays occur, what compensation amounts will be paid?
Beyond a three hour delay, the compensation amounts to a cash payment of 250 euros for short flights. Payment amounts to 400 euros for a flight distance of 1,500-3,500 km. Over 3,500 km, the payment would amount to 300 euros for a delay of 3-4 hours and 600 euros beyond four hours.
The time calculation depends upon the opening of the first door after the touchdown, not the touching down time. Delays sometimes happen even after touchdown and boarding.
When your flight arrives, not when your flight leaves
Imagine that you fly on a plane that departs three hours late. As a result, the plane touches down 2 hours and 50 minutes late. The late arrival has not breached the three-hour minimum delay limit for compensation.
The time calculation depends upon the opening of the first door after touchdown. The three-hour rule applies to compensation for delay and not refunded ticket costs. Flight distance and length of delay decide the compensation amount.
Web Flyer indicates the distance covered. Compensation amounts refer to individuals. A family of four receives four times the amount due. A passenger traveling free of charge receives no compensation though. Compensated in euros, the sterling value fluctuates according to exchange rates at the time of payment.
US Air Passenger Rights
The Tarmac Delay Rule
While flight conditions may be similar on all the continents, regulations and compensation amounts differ. Tarmac delays happen mysteriously and often enough. With such a large number of flights and passengers commuting daily, some ups and downs would probably arise.
American flyers particularly deserve their rights to compensation for flight landing delays and late departures. Difficult weather conditions or mechanical problems sometimes leave passengers stuck within the plane for hours.
Airline companies certainly cannot compel passengers to spend several hours on the tarmac. The regulations specify that they cannot. The airline needs to extend certain facilities and pay compensation according to the extent of delay.
Read in detail in our previous post on US Flights Passenger Rights.
Would you be willing to fight for your US Air Passenger Rights?
Especially for frequent flyers, get to know the variety of difficult situations and amounts of compensation due to suffering air passengers in America. The application and claim procedure gets quite annoying and nasty occasionally. Since nothing comes without a struggle, roughing through the claims process may not be acceptable to some people.
Settle for whatever the airline offers perhaps and avoid the fuss? Anyway, get to know what the law entitles you to receive. Get into the mood to fight. Like every consumer complaint, determined follow-ups often lead to a positive decision.
Yet most people want things easily done by filling a form or calling somebody by phone. That approach may not suffice nowadays with all the cumbersome procedures. Several authorities may need to be approached. You need the infinite patience to wait. Some give up but the few who succeed surely deserve the reward.
The 24-hour refund rule
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) enacted this rule in 2012. Make a booking at least seven days in advance of the flight. Cancel the reservation within 24 hours of buying it without a penalty.
The rule applies to non-refundable bookings too. Many more specifications apply nowadays that make flying less of a nightmare.
Problems posed by airline companies during flights
It gets nightmarish for passengers to wait for hours, in the plane on a lonely tarmac. Children, the aged and the handicapped would suffer greatly indeed. Not only is it an inconvenience but a bitter nightmare. Missing business appointments can be bitter. Late departures mean late arrivals.
As a booked passenger perhaps weeks in advance, denial of seats at the last moment certainly counts as injustice. Overbooking! Baggage sometimes disappears in transit or gets delayed and you need to wait until the next day to receive it. What happens to all the travel plans you made?
The many reasons that cause tarmac delays
Tarmac delays affect departures and arrivals alike. Airports overcrowded with excessive flights and too many passengers get suffocating. Things do not happen quickly when it comes to complex airport procedures.
After all the boarding procedures get completed, permission for the plane to take off is due from the airport authorities. On the other hand, the just landed flights need to unload passengers and baggage, before getting ready for yet another flight.
What exactly could be the problems for delay in both cases? Airports observe mysterious protocols and quick action is hard to come by, not only in airports but elsewhere too, wherever complex infrastructure is involved.
Problems the affected passengers suffer!
What would you expect when such delays happen? The phenomenon appears rather common after all, though we wish it to the contrary. Well, many beat the monotony with books and music, maybe social media. You certainly need refreshments and toilet facilities to get over such stifling delays. Not only does tiredness creep in but you get very irritated too.
The U.S. Department of Transportation new rules governing tarmac delays
Regulations and policies framed by the concerned department wish to protect the disadvantaged passengers. The USDOT framework lays down how long passengers may be made to wait on domestic flights. It lays down the facilities that need to be provided to passengers in the case of two-hour delays and longer. Airlines that do not heed the requirements would face action in the form of fines.
Considering the happenings in the past indicates the way the winds might blow in the future! The year 2009 witnessed three hour delays with about 500 flights. A group of 47 passengers once experienced a six hour delay. The following year also saw hundreds of three hour delays.
The excessive delays prompted the authorities to frame the new rules.
In cases of tarmac delays of three hours, the airlines need to release passengers and return to the gate.
If the delay extends to two hours, appropriate refreshments of food and water need to be supplied. Adequate toilet facilities must be made available.
The concerned airline needs to entrust an employee to record cancelations and delays and attend to complaints. Passengers receive information regarding how to file complaints.
For the general information, airline companies must record flight delay information on their websites. The information concerns domestic flights and indicates frequently delayed flights for the public information. Accordingly, you could avoid certain flights in fear of regular delays.
The three hour compulsory deplaning rule applies under normal security conditions. While returning to the gate, planes must avoid disturbing airport routines.
Penalty for tarmac delays
Airlines pay high prices if they do not observe the tarmac delay specifications. The large fine stands at $27,500 for each passenger. The commercial jets often carry 200 passengers. In such a situation, the fine at that rate comes to $5 million for a single flight! Airline companies definitely want to avoid getting bankrupt through delays.
Does some clever approach exist by means of which airlines could avoid the penalty? Some people perhaps rightfully believe that the airline companies pass on the fines to passengers. They claim that operating expenses have increased and charge higher prices. Don’t you think that the companies would rather cancel flights than run risks of delays under unfavorable conditions?
Many agree that such rules in favor of the passengers deserve to punish the money making airlines. Companies often treat people unfairly as if they were not human. Airline companies are certainly getting richer by the minute with their millions! On many an occasion, frequent flights on over busy routes sacrifice passenger comforts and delay departure and arrival timings according to their convenience.
The truth remains that airline companies usually hand over electronic vouchers in the case of refunds for canceled or changed tickets. The voucher not being very useful, it helps only when you book a ticket in the same name as the original passenger.
An award ticket is not the same. The refunded points in your award ticket account can be used to book a journey for anybody. Such award tickets on Southwest possess great value indeed. If you have a Southwest Companion Pass, remove companion bookings before changing or canceling tickets and add them again later to the new reservation.
What action do you contemplate?
You can stay ahead in the game and avoid such problems. How? Research the websites with some time and patience to know which companies and flights experience the most frequent delays. The new rules require airlines to indicate flight delays on websites.
Compare several websites and know the delay trends according to flight numbers. If you turn out to be unlucky like many other flyers and get stranded on the tarmac for two hours, you now know what facilities you should be getting. Report shortcomings to the airline or file a complaint. Check out the FAQs at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/.
Further US Passenger legal rights
The nature of existence makes us vulnerable to a number of dangers at all times, though we hope for the best to happen. As airline passengers, flights canceled, boarding denied and luggage lost happen rather commonly. Regulations, laws and airline procedures ensure that adequate compensations come. Know your rights before booking flights.
After you book the flight, regulations allow you to lock the fare for 24 hours with no payment done. Book the ticket on the concerned airline and decide within 24 hours whether to avail. Call, lock, and reserve meanwhile for that particular price. Prices change by the moment and something more attractive often comes your way when it would be possible to change journey dates, airlines or flights.
Get compensated in cash for boarding denied and luggage delayed. Boarding prevented after booking god knows how long in advance and luggage delayed at the destination call for cash compensation. Airlines favor vouchers and discounts, but avoid vague promises relating to the future.
The new rule specifies short delays between one and two hours for domestic flights and one to four hours for international flights. Victims of short delays receive double the ticket price with a $650 limit. Long delays attract compensation of four times the ticket price with a ceiling of $1,300. Inflation adjustments happen every two years. Canceled tickets call for a full refund, even on non-refundable flights.
The USDOT regulations spell out particular compensation amounts for lost baggage. That includes all the parts of the journey and includes the interline and code share partners. Airlines pay reasonable compensation for baggage damage, loss, and delay. The compensation amounts to $3,300 for domestic flights and $1,500 for international flights. The compensation amounts vary according to the luggage value and the duration of the delay.
Redress must come but how
We realize that getting the compensation will not be an easy task though it exists in the rule books. A certain procedure has to be followed and you need to ask and fight if need be. Courtesy pays rather than irritated arguments. Demands create complications and solutions attract support. Airline officials deal with many such problems on a daily basis. Many sufferers like you crowd around the counters though everything looks fine at airports.
- A talk over the phone with the airline customer service might help. They would be more cooperative compared to the gate agents who suffer many airport pressures.
- The social media could result in exchanges of ideas and connections. The power of the Twitter and Facebook capabilities could be used to vigorous effect in making an impact. Look for the two-way communication devices while the broadcast pages would not help. Wall posts and public messages effectively highlight grievances.
- USDOT possesses a list of consumer contacts with phone numbers and addresses. When you find that other approaches are not getting anywhere, put up the matter to them.
- If you wish to complain to the FAA or the Federal Aviation Administration, they accept complaints concerning airlines whenever they are sent. They remain reachable during office hours too. Send written complaints to the mailing address or communicate through the internet.
Distressed passengers amidst all the frustration often settle for a provisional arrangement. The airlines makes an offer and the passenger accepts. The compensation may not be fair but the headache is gone for the moment. The deal keeps you happy maybe with vouchers instead of cash payments or gives discounts on later flights.
Annoyance and irritation often bother those who insist upon compensation. Pushing the matter means piling up reminders. Phone calls and interviews may become necessary. If you decide to give up, you stand to lose the compensation you thoroughly deserve. Know the procedure and connect with the right people. Agents deliver such services of claiming compensation and subtract a fee from the claim amount. The aged and the infirm would require such services more than the others.
It becomes absolutely necessary to remain calm and patient in spite of anger and irritation. Professional and family life creates enough tensions. Courtesy often makes the difference in claiming compensation quickly. Collect your thoughts and speak politely. Try and reach an amicable solution rather than demand, fume and threaten. Remember that many probably face the same situation. The airline staff just wants to get rid of you if they can. Avoid anger, shouting and rudeness that would greatly reduce the chances of getting at compensation.
Compensations in the form of cash payment bring many benefits as compared to vouchers and discounts. Cancelations that happen due to overbooked flights result in refunds also. Airlines make an attempt to put passengers on a later flight or maybe a different airline. Canceled passengers can refuse such an arrangement and insist upon cash payment.
What the US-DOT rules state?
In terms of the 24-hour rule, American allows you to hold the booking free for 24 hours. US Airways avoids the rule for award bookings. The rule allows passengers to avoid cancellation charges.
In terms of the 24-hour rule, American allows passengers to hold the booking without payment for 24 hours. US Airways does not observe the rule where award bookings are concerned. With such an existing rule, passengers do not have to pay cancelation charges.
The new rules stipulate that the airline puts all the taxes and fees in black and white. Airlines cannot follow the practice of including fuel surcharges and calling them taxes in order to increase ticket prices.
Denied boarding compensation criteria refer to passengers holding boarding passes who reached the airport well in time for departure. If overbooking occurs with excess tickets sold, denied boarding compensation should be awarded.
Flight cancelations and change of aircraft concern other situations and cannot result in such compensation. When such a situation occurs and it happens rather frequently, the regulations specify that the airline inform passengers of procedures. The airline needs to hand over a copy of their rules and policies in order to claim compensation. Delayed arrivals attract compensation according to the number of hours of delay.
Southwest Airlines does not charge fees for changes of flights and cancelations. It becomes a great benefit for passengers. You only need to pay the difference in fare if you decide to change flights. Later flights may cost more, but when a sale takes place, the opposite happens. A refund would have been paid. Refund payments given as electronic vouchers would help book new tickets only in the same name.
What compensation does lost baggage attract? The existing rules cover the depreciated value to the extent of $3,300 each. That amount covers the depreciated value, not the replacement value. Airline contracts do not include payments for electronics, jewelry, and money.
If you make a claim at an international destination, the compensation may very well be only half the sum. Delayed baggage involves different rules, according to the airline. Airlines require that passengers file a claim and retain a copy for the record. The last airline you flew carries the responsibility. Payment arises for lost luggage only, and not mere delay.
In this regard, Alaska Airlines guarantees a 20-minute baggage claim after the plane parks at the gate! If delayed beyond 20 minutes, passengers get a $25 Discount Code for a future AA flight. Alternatively, passengers avail the 2,500 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ Bonus Miles.
The fight for reimbursement
As air passengers normally expect, hundreds of flights go fine. Suddenly, a problem erupts with an unlucky flight. Though we wish to be positive, the media informs of lots of dangers. The authorities have framed regulations to protect consumers and flyers. Problems plaguing flyers regularly include denial of accommodation in overbooked flights, delayed departures and arrivals, parking too long on the tarmac and lost baggage.
Though entitled to large enough amounts as compensation, the problem is to realize it. Seek compensation through certain procedures of applications and redress. It is only natural that the airlines run a business and wish to maximize profit by denying compensation even if it is justified and valid. Unless pushed and compelled, no airline will pay a dollar!
Should your compensation claim reach the court? Many sufferers finally reach an understanding with the airline and accept whatever the airline offers. Yet if the case concerns a group, the compensation would amount to a large sum. Delays and baggage losses would result in hefty compensation. Why not hand over the matter to an agent who does the dirty work in exchange for a fee?
Flight Delay & Cancellation Compensation Claims In India
Every country and continent probably suffers flight cancelations, delays, and denial of boarding rights to a lesser or greater extent. What would you think happens in India? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) states that over 5 lakh passengers suffered such problems during the first four months of 2017! The compensations paid by airline companies amounted to about Rs.22 crore during that period.
Overbooking causes the denial of boarding and mighty inconvenience for lots of passengers. Getting stranded in unfamiliar locations, perhaps with children and the aged can be quite a trial. Yet compensation is due in such cases as in flight delays, according to certain criteria.
Consider the case of January 17 when 2,598 cases of denied boarding took place. Cancellations numbered 20,010. Flight delays numbered 239,454. Compensation for denial of boarding amounted to Rs.170 lakhs. Rs.76 lakhs was the amount paid as compensation for cancellations. Delays cost the airline companies Rs.146 lakhs.
With the monsoon setting in, greater disruptions may be predicted during the months of June-September. Regarding the denial of boarding, you have a right to compensation if you hold a valid ticket and are present at the proper flight time.
Yet the fact remains that compensation will not be awarded if the passenger does not carry the right travel documents. Besides, the airline need not pay compensation if they arrange an alternative flight that departs within an hour of the original flight departure time.
How Is Compensation Paid and How Much?
If the company cannot arrange an alternative flight, you can claim compensation. Compensation for denied boarding comes as cash, through bank transfers or travel vouchers, if the passenger so desires.
If the flight delay extends to less than 24 hours, the airline supplies food. For delays beyond 24 hours, the airline arranges hotel stay and transport. Compensation for flights delayed within 24 hours amounts to 200% of the basic fare along with a fuel surcharge up to Rs.10,000.
If the alternate flight is scheduled after 24 hours, compensation amounts to 400% of the basic fare and a fuel surcharge up to Rs.20,000. If a passenger does not opt for the alternate flight, the ticket is refunded fully and a compensation of 400% of the basic fare is paid along with a fuel surcharge up to Rs.20,000.
The airlines must inform passengers of canceled flights at least two weeks before the scheduled date of departure. The passenger enjoys the choice of a refund or an alternate flight. If the airline fails to inform two weeks in advance, DGCA guidelines stipulate the extent of compensation added to the refund of the ticket price.
Delay and cancelation compensation amounts
A flight delay of one hour block time attracts a compensation of Rs. 5,000 along with a refund of the ticket fare. The delay between an hour and two hours means a Rs. 7,500 compensation along with a refund of the ticket fare. A delay beyond two hours attracts a compensation of Rs.10,000 along with a refund of the ticket fare.
Urgent travel can also result in accommodation on a different airline in cases of delayed or canceled flights. In such cases, the airline pays the additional expenses. Each airline may have its own rules regarding compensation and redress. Get to know the procedures in case things go wrong and you end up with delays, cancelations, denial of boarding, or lost baggage.
Certain circumstances beyond the control of the airline result in no compensation being paid. Don’t blame the airline for delays and cancellations due to a natural disaster, bad weather, political or labor problems. Pray that they do not affect your flight schedule.
Fly safe, whichever part of the world you travel in.