With strikes and staff shortages at airports, flight disruption figures are already higher than last year.
In this context, the AirHelp travel help site updated his “Guide to passenger rights” to travel serenely by plane. A practical manual to be informed and know how to react in the event of a flight delay or cancellation, updated with the latest regulations of the sector and the steps to take.
1-The right to be cared for
When a flight is delayed or canceled can claim rights that airlines are required to respect. If passengers have already boarded and the flight is delayed for more than two hours, the crew must provide them with water and ensure that the air conditioning is working. If the plane is more than five hours late, passengers are allowed to leave the plane and return to the gate. If the delay occurs when the passengers have not boarded, the airline is required to provide them with food, drink and access to telecommunications.
2-Right to accommodation
If the delay or cancellation of a flight forces the passenger to spend the night waiting for a new departure time, the airline must offer him a hotel room and bear the transfer costs. And this, even if the airline is not the cause of the delay.
3-Rights in the event of denied boarding
Selling more tickets than available seats on a flight is a common practice in the aviation industry known as overbooking. Thus, if the flight is finally full, some passengers are denied boarding. According to Regulation EC261, the passengers concerned are entitled to financial compensation of up to 600 euros per person, in addition, they must be re-routed on another flight or receive a full refund of their ticket.
4-Right to complain
85% of air passengers do not know their rights. In addition to relevant complaints in the event of a flight disruption, travelers can complain when an airline does not provide the expected service. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the airlines themselves to inform their passengers of their rights and their terms and conditions.
5-Right to compensation
Under Regulation EC261, passengers are entitled to compensation of up to €600 – per person per trip – in the event of a delay of more than 3 hours, cancellation less than 14 days before departure or refusal boarding, or when a delay results in a missed connection, provided that the airline is at fault. This right applies to all flights departing from a European airport, as well as to all flights landing at a European airport when operated by an airline based in the EU. Passengers can exercise their right to compensation up to three years after the date of the flight. AirHelp offers a free eligibility check on its website.
For checked baggage on international flights, the time limits for appeal and compensation depend on the convention governing the flight, Montreal convention or Warsaw convention, and which is indicated on the plane ticket (otherwise, this information must be requested from the airline). Travelers are entitled to claim compensation in different cases: delayed, lost or damaged baggage. But in any case, it is necessary to report the problem as soon as possible.
While large pets and certain “dangerous” animals must travel in the hold, small pets can travel in the cabin, provided that the animal and its transport box do not exceed 8 kg.
Assistance dogs can travel in the cabin with their handler at no additional cost. In this case, the passenger must inform the airline when reserving the seat, and he must present all the necessary documents for the animal (veterinary certificates, up-to-date vaccinations, etc.) at the counter of the airline. In the case of international flights, it is mandatory to present the documents required by the country of destination.
8-Rights in case of injury
When a passenger is injured on board an aircraft, he is entitled to financial compensation.
9-Right to offer help and to be helped
In the event of a medical emergency, any passenger, even non-medical, can help another passenger. In these situations, they are protected by law.
10-Rights of people with disabilities
Under Community law, anyone with a disability or reduced mobility is protected against discrimination, both when booking and when boarding. An airline can only deny boarding if the size of the plane or its doors makes it impossible, or if it violates safety requirements. In this case, the passenger is entitled to a refund or re-routing.