Any flight leaving from a UK destination, wherever it may be flying to, is regulated under the European law EU 261/04. Many passengers aren’t aware of their rights, and find it difficult to claim individually. Many, for example don’t know they have two years in which to claim.
Since the approval of law EU 261/04, travelers have left more than 3.500 million euros unclaimed, and only 2% of passengers have been successful in their claims! Ryan and Vueling were the airlines that received the most claims for compensation in 2013. These claims forced both airlines to withdraw eight abusive clauses after passengers put in claims against them to the OCU (Organisation for Consumer’s and Users).
So, what are our rights as Airline Passengers?
Delays: Passengers have the right to receive information from the start. They have a right to assistance after 2 hours and financial compensation after 3 hours: 250€ on short haul, 400€ for mid haul and 600€ on long haul.
Cancellations: The compensation is the same as with delays, depending on distance. The airline should also offer the passenger the option of having their money refunded in total within 7 days, and a ticket back to their original starting point as quickly as possible, or similar transport to their destination.
Passengers should also be offered food and drink depending on the time they need to wait, hotel rooms and transport to the hotel should it be necessary to stay overnight for one or various nights. The cost of this is additional to the refund of the ticket monies.
Overbooking: If you are unable to board because of overbooking, the EU law also provides for these cases. The airline must offer the passenger different options: the refund of their ticket, transport to their final destination as soon as possible, travel cheques, seats in first class, etc. Should the passenger not voluntarily accept any of these offers, he has a right to compensation of between 250€ – 600€, according to the distance, as well as alternative transport or the refund of his ticket.
Loss of luggage: The passenger may claim up to 1300€ for damages, delays or incidents involving their luggage, but it is necessary to present a Property Irregularity Report (P.I.R.) at the airline flight desk. This is most important, because if this is not presented it is taken that the baggage has reached its destination correctly and you will be unable to claim at a later date. The period in which to present the P.I.R. is 7 days for damages, 21 days for delay or loss of luggage; however we recommend that this is done before you leave the airport.