EU Regulation 261/2004
EU regulation 261/2004 establishes rules on compensation for passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations or delayed flights. The regulation was created in 2004 and enforced on 17 February 2004, and applies to all members of the EU and the airlines that reside within them.
Who does this apply to?
The regulation applies to any passenger of any age and nationality, whose flight departed from any airport which resides in the European Union or; was en-route to an EU member state whilst travelling with an airline operated in the EU.
To be eligible under regulation 261/2004, you must have a confirmed reservation on the flight and arrived on time for check-in.
When does this apply?
Regulation 261/2004 protects your airline rights and states that you, as a traveller, are entitled to compensation in the following scenarios:
- A flight delayed by three or more hours
- A cancelled flight
- An overbooked flight
The following situations and reasons for the scenario are fully protected by the regulation:
- Technical faults
- Poor weather on a previous flight which in turn affected your flight (so called knock-on effect)
- Denied boarding due to an overbooked flight
What am I entitled to?
The amount of fixed compensation for delayed, overbooked, or cancelled flights ranges from €250 to €600 per passenger, as it varies according to the length of delay and distance of your flight.
Your owed compensation is in addition to extra entitlements, which should include:
- Overnight accommodation (if applicable)
- Transport to and from accommodation
Which extraordinary circumstances are not covered?
There are certain exceptions under which compensation is not due. These so called extraordinary circumstances imply that airlines cannot always be held accountable, for instance when a situation is beyond their control.
The following situations are considered extraordinary:
- Industrial action: Strikes by ground staff and/or air traffic control
- Adverse weather conditions: Heavy rains, snow, storms etc
- Political circumstances: Terror attacks, political unrest, security risks
- Illness: Sick crew member or passenger
- Other: Delay caused by the airport staff (long queues during security checks)