What are My Rights with Flights in the EU?

Knowing your rights under the EU regulation is important, as it can come in handy when you least expect it. Many people in the UK and EU member states are not aware of this regulation, which means they might be leaving a lot of money on the table. 

What is the EU Regulation About?

The EU regulation 261/2004 is the flight compensation regulation that protects the rights of air passengers. This applies when there’s a flight delay, flight cancellation, missed connecting flight, or denied boarding. Under this law, you may be entitled to up to €250 – €600 in compensation. To be eligible, your flight must be departing from an EU member state or landing in one with a European airline. Keep reading to find out about specifics.

Flight Delays and Cancellations

Flight delays and cancellations are quite common, but the law protects you when faced with one. You are entitled to complimentary food and drinks for a delay of over two hours. The monetary compensation applies if you reached your destination three or more hours later than the scheduled time or if the flight eventually got cancelled. For a delay of more than 5 hours or a cancelled flight, you can book a seat on another flight at no additional cost or get a full ticket refund. 

If the delay would last through the night, and you have to sleep at the airport, the airline is obligated to provide you with a free hotel booking. 

Note that this applies only if you checked in at least 45 minutes before the initial time of departure. The reason for the delay or cancellation must also have been within the airline’s control. 

Missed Connecting Flights

It’s possible to miss a connecting flight due to a delay on the previous flight, in which case you are entitled to compensation. In addition to the above compensation when there’s a flight delay, the airline is obligated to book a seat for you on another flight. If there’s a flight available with the same airline, they should get you a seat on another flight with a different airline. 

Denied Boarding

Denied boarding often happens when the flight is overbooked and as a result, the airline is forced to leave some people behind. If you have a valid ticket and booking confirmation, checked in on time, and didn’t do anything against the law, yet you were denied boarding, you should be compensated. You are entitled to monetary compensation and should also be served food and drinks immediately. You will then be rescheduled on a different flight as soon as possible. 

Bottom Line

Flight disruptions can come in different forms, as explained in this article. However, the good part is that you don’t have to be frustrated and bear the inconvenience without taking any action. Exercise your rights under the EC 261 regulation and ensure you get compensated. Contact the airline and get them to put you through the process. You also have to be careful not to sign any document without understanding it, so you don’t accidentally waive your rights. 

Rachel Bartee

Rachel Bartee is a blogger and freelance writer dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and studies Interpersonal Relationships.