The European Union (EU) provides a host of unified guidelines and restrictions imposed upon airlines that consolidate rules and procedures for airlines travelling to/ from Europe. Whilst these details go very deep down to the intricate commercial and economic conditions, there are some rules regarding compensation that may certainly provide you with relief should you find yourself in a tough situation.
For a start, these provisions apply for any flight DEPARTING from an EU city, OR any flight ARRIVING into an EU city on a European, Icelandic, Nordic or Swiss airline. This means something like Singapore Airlines flight SQ 26 from Frankfurt to New York will be covered under these rules.
What to do following overbooking, cancellation or denied boarding
In this instance, your airline must provide some alternate transport to reach your final destination OR refund your ticket and return you to your departure point, free of charge.
Refunds can be claimed for delays over 5 hours, however this removes the liability for the airline to provide any onward service.
When you can receive compensation
As well as what is above, if you are denied boarding, have a cancelled flight, or arrive at your ticketed destination over 3 hours late, the airline is liable to compensate you, based on the flight distance.
Flights within EU:
- 1,500 km or less ➔ €250
- Over 1,500 km ➔ €400
Flights between EU and elsewhere:
- 1,500 km or less ➔ €250
- 1,500 km – 3,500 km ➔ €400
- Over 3,500 km ➔ €600
Also note that the compensation can be reduced up to 50% if you are OFFERED an alternative routing.
When you can’t receive compensation
Compensation is not extended to situations involving poor weather/ extraordinary circumstance cancellations; cancellation when informed of change more than 2 weeks before flight; an alternative route with a very similar schedule was offered.
Whilst compensation does not have to be paid for cancellations due to poor weather/ extraordinary circumstances, the airline must still offer: a refund; alternative transport; OR rebooking to a later date.
Whilst it’s better to claim sooner, “Compensate My Flight” explains that it’s even possible to retrieve compensation for flights up to 6 years in the past!
Compensation isn’t automatic
The airline will not automatically provide you with the funds that they are liable to pay, and you must hence actively lodge a complaint to retrieve the payable funds. Click here to retrieve the EU complaint form.
If you’re unsure about how to handle this yourself, there are many companies that offer their services to carry out the claim, such as Compensate My Flight.
Compensation for baggage
Loss, damage or delay to the delivery of your baggage can entitle you to up to €1220, under the Montreal Convention on Air Carrier Liability. The payout will depend upon various factors, but it will not exceed that amount unless prior extra coverage was taken out. Luggage valued at over this amount should be insured through private travel insurance, or through extra coverage with the airline. Airlines may offer free increased liability limits so long as you inform them of higher value of your baggage prior to the flight (at check-in at the latest).
So there you have it. If anything goes wrong on eligible flights to/ from the EU, don’t just let it sit! Be proactive and you could be entitled to some generous compensation to set you straight.