Passenger Rights

Before going on a trip you usually plan and check a lot of details.  But do you as thoroughly check your passenger rights?

If you use the services of airlines you are, as every consumer, entitled to a number of rights. Here are the basic rights of passengers traveling within the European Union (remember that air carriers have a legal obligation to inform about your rights):

• The right to a full, fair and true information;

• The right to information about the extract from key provisions;

• The right to information about the total price;

• The right to withdraw from the contract in the event of an increase in the price;

• The right to compensation in case of cancellation or long delay of flight and denied boarding;

• The right to reimbursement of the cost of the ticket plus eventually free return transportation in case of cancellation or long delay of flight and denied boarding;

• The right to change the itinerary;

• The right to care;

• The rights of persons with disabilities and reduced mobility;

• The right to compensation and advances for personal injury;

• The right to compensation for damage to luggage.

Airline passenger traveling to / from any country of the European Union / EEA / Switzerland is protected by EC Regulation 261/2004 of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or delay. Regulation shall apply to:

  • Passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State of the EU / EEA or within the territory of Switzerland;
  • Passengers departing from an airport located in a third country and an airport situated in the territory of a Member State of the EU / EEA or located in Switzerland, unless they received benefits or compensation and were given assistance in that third country, and if the carrier the flight concerned is a carrier of a Member State of the EU / EEA / or from Switzerland.

Long flight delay

The passenger has the right to receive care from the airline (phone call, place for rest, food, accommodation, transportation to accommodation) if the delay is:

  • 2 hours or more hours for flights up to 1,500 kilometres;

  • 3 hours or more for flights within the European Union of more than 1500 km and all other flights between 1500 and 3500 km;

  • 4 hours or more for flights outside the European Union of more than 3500 km.

If the delay is greater than five hours, the passenger, who chooses not to continue the journey is also entitled to a refund for the ticket and return trip to the place of departure.

If your flight is delayed by at least three hours, passengers are entitled to the same compensation as that granted in the case of the cancelled flight, unless the airline can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, airlines can be held liable for damages resulting from delays.

Denied boarding

After denying passengers boarding the aircraft carrier is required in the first place to find people who agree to give up their reservation in exchange for certain benefits. In addition, the carrier must also offer volunteers the opportunity to choose between full reimbursement and choice of a different flight.

This may involve the right to compensation in the amount of 125 to 600 euros, depending on the length of the flight and the delays that occurred before choosing a different flight. For people who decided to change the flight, the carrier must ensure, if necessary, help, e.g. Meal, access to the phone, one or more nights at the hotel and transport between the airport and place of accommodation.

Cancelled flight

Also in this case the passenger is entitled to compensation in such amount as that in situation of refusing for boarding, unless the passenger has been informed of the cancellation at least 14 days prior to departure or flight date has been changed to close to the original, or if the airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by exceptional circumstances.

In addition, the airline must present the offer which allows for:

  • Ticket refund within seven days or;
  • Changing the flight to the final destination under similar conditions;
  • Ensuring, if necessary, care (phone call, place for rest, food, accommodation, transportation to accommodation).

Other Passenger Rights

Baggage

In case of loss or damage to baggage or if there was a delay in baggage delivery the passenger may be entitled to compensation in the amount of maximum EUR 1220. Airlines, however, are exempt from liability if they have taken all the necessary steps to prevent the damage or when they were unable to take such steps. After finding out that the baggage was lost or damaged it is necessary to:

  1. Fill in the form at the airport called PIR (Property Irregularity Report);

  2. Then file a claim with the carrier paying particular attention to the claim submission date:

  • In the case of damaged baggage the complaint must be filed within 7 days of receiving the damaged  baggage.

  • In the event of a delay in the baggage delivery - within 21 days of receipt of delayed baggage.

Obligations of air carriers in case of delay, loss or damage of baggage is regulated by the Montreal Convention.

Disabled and reduced mobility passengers

EU legislation protects people with disabilities and with reduced mobility against discrimination during making a reservation and boarding the plane. These people also have the right to receive assistance at airports (on departure, on arrival and in transit) and on board the aircraft. It is recommended that passengers notify about their needs in advance in order to facilitate the appropriate assistance.

The principles of the transport of persons with reduced mobility is covered in the Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when traveling by air.

Pricing transparency

According to EU law, each time you purchase your ticket for travel starting at any EU airport, the passenger must be informed on the applicable regulations. The final price of a ticket should always include air fare, taxes, fees and surcharges, which are unavoidable and known at the time of publication.

In addition, these data should be properly presented showing division into air fare, taxes, airport taxes, fees and surcharges.

Information about optional parts of the price should be communicated in a clear and unambiguous way at the beginning of the booking process, and the passenger should have the opportunity to accept it or decline it. 

The identity of the airline

Passenger must be informed in advance which airline operates his flight. Hazardous airlines activity is banned or restricted within the European Union.

Recommended action for infringement of passenger rights

If you believe your rights have been violated under the laws governing the rights of air passengers you must first contact the carrier, e.g. via NICE FLIGHT platform, and in the case of problems concerning people with disabilities - the airport.

If you do not get a satisfactory response, you can take advantage of the expertise of Air Passenger Watchdog "Friendly Flying".