The EU regulation 261/2004 is the flight compensation regulation that protects air passengers’ rights in EU member states. This protects passengers against several flight disruptions such as a flight delay or cancellation, especially if the cause was within the airline’s control. A recent scientific report shows the statistical characterization of airplane delays in the UK between 2018 and 2020, further establishing that it’s not a rare occurrence.
The EC 261 law establishes the need for passengers to be compensated for any inconvenience they might face from a flight delay or cancellation. While this law has been in place since 2004, not every passenger understands what it means and what their rights are. Knowing your rights along this regulation will help ensure you get compensated accurately if you ever have to deal with a flight disruption. This article seeks to explain what your rights are with flights in the EU.
Know if You Are Eligible
Before you can claim your rights, you must first be certain that this law applies to you. As juicy as this compensation looks, it doesn’t apply to everyone and every flight.
Use the checklist below to know if the EC 261 law applies to you:
- You have a valid ticket and booking confirmation.
- Your flight is departing from an EU/EEA member state or landing in one and the airline is headquartered within the EU.
- Delay: Your flight arrived at its destination 3 or more than 3 hours late.
- Cancellation: The airline informed you of the cancellation less than 14 days before the original departure date.
- The reason for the flight disruption is within the airline’s control.
The EC Regulation 261/2004 does not apply to you if:
- You are travelling on a discounted ticket that is not available to the public.
- You did not check in on time, which should be at least 45 minutes before departure time if the flight is not cancelled.
What Are You Entitled To?
The law states that a passenger may be entitled to compensation of €250 to €600, which depends on the flight distance, as explained below.
- Short distance (e.g. London – Edinburgh) – Below 1500km – €250 compensation.
- Medium distance (e.g. London – Athens) – Between 1500km and 3500km – €400 compensation.
- Long distance (e.g. London – Tokyo) – Over 3500km – €600 compensation.
Other Rights Under EC 261?
While you are entitled to monetary compensation for a flight disruption, you also have other rights under the same law which a lot of people tend to overlook. This includes:
- The right to be informed of your rights.
- Rights to reimbursement.
- Right to care, including access to a telephone, meals, and refreshments, and a hotel booking if it lasts the night.
How Can You Claim Your Flight Compensation Rights?
Once you are certain that the law applies to you and your complaints are covered in the EU 261/2004 regulation, you can begin the process of filing compensation. Gather all your documents, including receipts of expenses accrued as a result of the flight disruption. Contact your travel agency and preferably, work with an agency like Flightright to make the process easier for you.