Air Passenger Rights
Definitely we all know that millions of passengers travel each other and you might be one of them. But are you aware that every passenger has some air passenger rights which can protect you while in transit. Thus Bargainairticket will help you to explain these rights and help you claim the compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
What Are Air Passenger Rights?
Air passenger rights involve specific laws that support and protect the travelers and compensate them in case of any flight disruptions. Although the situation varies from country to country. Like in the United States, the law protects the travelers in situations like overbooked flights and tarmac delays. Likewise in Europe, the EC 261 laws are more comprehensive and offer compensation for flight delay or cancellation in a range of situations to the passengers.
Speaking of the truth, people are unaware that there are air passenger rights or the law is on their side. Because of which approximately 85% of air passengers do not know their rights. Airhelp helps you to file your claim and get compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
Air Passenger Rights & Regulations You Should Know
It won’t be incorrect to say that individual countries abide by their own laws. The major laws which are practiced are Europe’s EC 261, Brazil’s ANAC 400, the Montreal Convention and various US laws. Few laws prove to be more beneficial and have wider reach than others.
It really gets difficult to understand and remember all the policies of these various countries’ laws, hence, Bargainairticket is there to help you, to get gompensation for flight delay or cancellation. We are dedicated to serve the travel community with up-to-date information regarding travelers’ rights. We have partnered with Airhelp who simplify specific legal statues that are on your side, so that you know what the laws do and how you can effectively approach a wide variety of flight disruptions beyond your control. Airhelp helps people to get compensation who experience flight delays, flight cancellations, denied boarding, baggage problems, and missed connections.
Let’s Learn About These Rights
It is good to remember that disrupted flight circumstances can differ significantly and it’s best to know which strengths you can rely on. Although certain regulations have a wider reach and prove to be more beneficial than others. Hence, we will learn about these rights in little details so we can understand them.
In Europe – EC 261
What is EC 261?
EC 261/2004 is a regulation in EU law that favors the passengers. It holds airlines financially accountable when any air disruption is caused under the airline’s control. Any circumstances outside the airline’s control is not included in air passenger rights.
In comparison to other laws, EC 261 is one of the most comprehensive. Therefore the law plays a vital role for passenger rights which is not limited to only European travelers. In fact all the passengers departing from a European airport are covered under EC 261. Also in some cases, passengers who are flying into Europe from other international destinations may be covered as well.
EC 261 Compensation
In many instances, airlines are legally and financially responsible for flight issues, but not many travelers are aware about it. The compensation will be depending upon your flight, flight scenario and destination. If you understand the air passenger rights and file for EU airline compensation, you can get upto $700 per person as reimbursement.
To make an EU 261 claim, AirHelp can assist with our staff of legal experts to iron out the finer details and legal jargon.
Just select what happened on your disrupted flight:
However the amount of compensation which you are entitled to as a passenger will depend upon many factors like distance traveled and amount of time you are delayed reaching your destination.
EC 261 Airline Compensation for flight delay or cancellation
This information will really help to know which airlines are covered by EC 261. Most routes within Europe and many international flights are covered as well. If your flight departs from an airport in the EU, it’s covered. If your flight departs from elsewhere but your destination is in the EU, coverage depends on the airline ⎯ if it’s a European carrier, you’re covered.
Here’s a chart to help :
|ITINERARY||EU AIR CARRIER||NON EU AIR CARRIER|
|From inside the EU to inside the EU||Covered||Covered|
|From inside the EU to outside the EU||Covered||Covered|
|From outside the EU to inside the EU||Covered||Not Covered|
|From outside the EU to outside the EU||Not Covered||Not Covered|
In some cases, disrupted flights outside the EU may be eligible under EC 261 if they connect to a covered flight that is with the same carrier and part of the same flight reservation (under one booking reference number).
What’s not Covered under EC 261?
Any extraordinary circumstances which are outside the control of the airlines, are not covered under the EC 261. And in such cases airlines do not pay any compensation. You will not be eligible for compensation if your delay was because of one of the following reasons. Although, the airlines should show that they have taken measures to prevent the delay.
|Strikes initiated by airport employees or air traffic control|
Your rights under EC 261
In addition to the compensation, EC 261 includes other rights relating to your treatment. Here are some:
Obligation to inform passengers for their rights
The first and foremost right is to be informed about the content of EC 261. As a rule every airline is supposed to display information on air passenger rights at their check-in counters in every airport. You can read the actual text of EC 261 as well.
Right to reimbursement or re-routing
In case if your delay exceeds 5 hours, you are entitled for a partial or full refund of your original cost of ticket with a return ticket to your point of departure, if needed.
Right to care
When any interruption occurs and you are waiting for the airlines to get back to you towards your destination, you’re entitled to a number of amenities, depending on your flight details. Plus you can claim for addtional compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
The airline must provide you with:
- Firstly, meals and refreshments during the delay
- Secondly, Access to communications, including two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, and emails
- In case, if overnight accommodations are necessary, they must provide you with a hotel room and transportation to and from the airport.
The following chart explains when passengers become eligible for these:
|Flight Details||Length of Delay|
|All flights 1500km or less||2 hours or more|
|Internal EU flights over 1500kms||3 hours or more|
|Non-internal EU flights between 1500km and 3500km||3 hours or more|
|Non-internal EU flights over 3500kms||4 hours or more|
Upgrading or Downgrading
If you have booked a flight and offered an alternate flight in higher class, the airlines cannot charge you anything extra. On the other hand, if the class is lower on the alternate flight then you are entitled to get a reimbursement between 30% and 75% of the original price you paid.
Passenger’s right to compensation under EC 261 does not affect your right to request further compensation. However, this will only apply in case any passenger surrenders his or her reservation voluntarily.
EU 261 Claim
Now there is a time frame wherein you need to file for the compensation. The time limit varies from one country to another. It is to be noted that the country you claim in is not decided by your nationality, but is determined by where the headquarter of the airlines is, or what court has jurisdiction.
There is a handy chart below for your reference:
|Czech Republic||3 years|
|United Kingdom||6 years|
* For Germany, the limitation period expires the last day of the third year (for example, the limitation period for a flight on 25/2/2016 expires on 31/12/2019).
US Air Passenger Rights
Unfortunately, the US laws regarding air passenger rights in case of flight delays or cancellation are not as beneficial as European or International laws. The rights are only beneficial to individuals who are denied boarding, tarmac delays or any luggage problems, and receive compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
Airlines in the United States overbook their flights than airlines in Europe. There are strong laws in place governing your right to be compensated.
If you are denied boarding or bumped off due to overbooking, you could get a compensation of upto $1350. Read more on overbooked booking.
US laws do not address delayed flights, but there are laws concerning what happens if your flight is delayed on the tarmac. Read more about tarmac delays in order to know your rights.
Passengers on US flights are given a number of rights when it comes to banged-up, delayed and lost bags on US flights. More details on baggage compensation page.
Which Flights are Covered by US Regulations?
Any tarmac delay regulations apply to flights departing from or flying to a US airport while in case of denied boarding regulations apply to flights with US carriers originating in the United States.
The laws regarding luggage problems deal with domestic flights with US carriers between US cities. And in case of international flights originating in the United States are covered by the Montreal Convention, in most cases.
In Brazil – ANAC 400
Air Passenger Rights in Brazil?
Any traveler flying in Brazil is protected by the legislation from Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). The laws regarding air passenger rights are important in Brazil, they have made it clear that in case of any disruption what care the passenger will get from the airline. Failing to do so on the airline part, the passenger can get upto $1,300 as compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
The laws that are most relevant to air travelers are known as ANAC Resolution Nº 400. These laws clearly set out airlines’ responsibilities to their passengers whenever there are flight issues. They offer air passengers a great deal of consideration, specifying exactly what care airlines must provide, and when.
Where an airline has failed to care for their passengers, Brazil’s Consumer Code allows passengers to claim compensation for the inconvenience.
Compensation for Flight Issues in Brazil-
|Flight Delay||Upto $1300 per person|
|Flight Cancellation||Upto $1300 per person|
|Denied Boarding||Upto $690 per person|
How Airhelp can benefit you –
- Your flight was canceled at late notice – OR – Your flight was over 4 hours late arriving at your destination.
- You were not adequately looked after by the airline.
- Your flight landed or took off from a Brazilian airport.
- The issue occurred on a flight within the last 5 years (2 years for international flights)
Explanation of Air Passenger Rights:
Right to information: In case your flight is delayed at the airport the airline is required to let you know about it promptly. They must inform you about the flight’s new departure time. Along with this, the airline must provide an update on the delayed departure time every 30 minutes. As a rule the airline must provide you with a written explanation about the delay if you request it.
Right to care: The airline must provide their passengers with material assistance if flights are delayed or canceled . What care the passenger will get will depends on how long the passenger is waiting after their original departure time:
Over 1 hour: Passengers must be provided with access to communication – for example, a telephone call or Wi-Fi access for emailing, etc.
Over 2 hours: Passengers must be provided with meals appropriate for the time of day. The airline may either provide food, or it can hand out meal vouchers to waiting passengers.
Over 4 hours: If the delay is 4 hours or more then passengers have 2 important rights.
1. Reimbursement or rebooking – The airline must look to get you to your destination as soon as possible.
2. Accommodation – If the airline cannot get you to your destination any sooner, they must provide you with suitable accommodation.
However, the airlines will offer accommodation in case an overnight wait is required (so if you have a 5-hour wait during the day, no accommodation will be offered). Airlines will also provide transfers to the accommodation. And in case you live in the city of departure the airline doesn’t have to offer you accommodation – but they must offer you the transfers to your home.
Right to reimbursement or rebooking:
When flights are severely delayed (over 4 hours) or are cancelled, passengers have the right to choose what happens to them next. The passengers are offered with the following choices:
- A ticket on another flight.
- A refund of the fare – including airport taxes and fees.
- A way of getting to their destination via other means – e.g. a bus ticket plus transfers.
Rights if the airline changes your flight:
Generally, sometimes airlines may need to make changes to your flight – for example, the departure time could be later, or they may change your direct flight to a connecting flight. If this happens to you, ANAC 400 offers some protection.
The airline can make the following changes, so long as they let passengers know about the change at least 72 hours before the original departure time.
|Flight Type||Change in time|
|Domestic flights||+/- 30 minutes|
|International flights||+/- 1 hour|
In case if your flight changes by more than this, or if the airline does not inform you of a change more than 72 hours in advance, the airline must offer you either:
- An alternative flight
- A full refund
If you’re not advised about the flight change and turn up at the airport for your original departure time, the airline must rebook or reimburse you for your flight. In addition, they must take care of your food, drink, and accommodation where necessary. Every disruption which is under airline’s control will travelers Compensation for their flight delay or cancellation.
Rights for passengers with additional needs:
Brazilian laws offer additional protections for air passengers who may require assistance because of any disruptions:
Another ANAC resolution, Nº 280, covers the rights of air passengers with additional needs and offer more assistance when they fly:
- Passengers aged 60 and over
- Pregnant and breastfeeding passengers
- Passengers accompanied by an infant (a child under 2)
- Passengers with reduced mobility
- Any passenger with a specific condition that limits their autonomy
The airline is required to offer these passengers appropriate care and assistance while they are at the airport and during the flight.
In the event of flight issues:
Passengers with additional needs, as defined above, have priority when flights are delayed or canceled.
If passengers are offered a new flight, passengers with additional needs will be reallocated first. And also they are offered with accommodation if there is a wait of 4 hours or more, even if there is no overnight wait.
Your rights if you’re denied boarding:
Brazilian laws act to discourage airlines from overbooking flights, which can lead to denied boardings.
If you are on a flight which has been overbooked, the airline will look for volunteers to give up their seat. These passengers must still be compensated – though, the passenger and airline are free to agree exactly what that compensation looks like.
In case no volunteers are found, airlines are able to deny boarding to some passengers. These passengers must be offered an alternative flight, the care, and additional compensation. This compensation is set under ANAC 400 and is payable immediately.
|Compensation amount (USD)||Compensation amount (SDR*)|
|Domestic flights||$345||SDR 250|
|International flights||$690||SDR 500|
*SDR = Special Drawing Rights. ANAC 400 lists all compensation amounts in SDR. The approximate USD amounts are calculated here.
Please note: Sometimes airlines will ask you to sign a volunteer overbooking form. Don’t do that unless you voluntarily give up your seat. Ask instead to sign for involuntary denied boarding.
What situations are covered?
Just like the other laws, Brazilian law covers the travelers who are affected by the flight issues that are outside of their control. If you have missed your flight because of any delay or cancellation, the passenger is covered for the compensation for flight delay or cancellation. In case, if you miss your flight or decide to take a later one, then these laws will not come into effect.
Nevertheless, there are extraordinary circumstances which are outside of the airline’s control like bad weather or a strike by air traffic control and under these the airline will not provide compensation but yes they are entitled to take care of the passengers as per the law.
Although there is one exception to this, if the airline neglects their duty of care while extraordinary circumstances occurred. In this case, passengers that were affected can file a claim for compensation.
Which Flights are covered?
The ANAC 400 air passenger rights in Brazil applies to :
- Domestic flights within Brazil.
- International flights that depart from a Brazilian airport.
- International flights that arrive at a Brazilian airport.
- Flights that connect via a Brazilian airport.
- Any flight ticket issued in Brazil (eventhough if the flight is operated abroad).
What is the time limit?
Indeed it is really important to know the time limit between which you can file the claim for compensation. Here is the information:
|Flight Type||Time Limit For Claim To Be Filed|
|Domestic Flights||5 years|
|International Flights||2 years|
Airhelp advise in case your Brazil Flight is Disrupted:
- Ask for the care you need – communication, food and drink, and accommodation.
- Let the airline know if you require additional assistance.
- Keep hold of your flight boarding pass.
- Ask for a statement from the airline about the flight delay or cancellation.
- Also, hold on to any additional documentation the airline gives you regarding the disruption.
- Take pictures of conditions at the gate and of any vouchers or assistance you are offered.
- Keep all receipts from the expenses you occur as a result of the disruption.
- Record the names of the airline staff – particularly if they refuse your request for assistance.
International Right – The Montreal Convention
What is the Montreal Convention?
The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty adopted by over 130 countries globally. Overall the aim of the treaty is to establish airline liability in case of flight delay and for damage or loss of baggage.
However, the treaty is not so comprehensive on flight disruptions as compared to EC 261. It offers passenger rights on international flights between the large number of nations that abide by the regulation.
What Rights are covered by the Montreal Convention?
The 2003 Montreal Convention covers many air passenger rights like delays, flight cancellation or boarding denials.
Indeed the treaty also protects travelers in case of luggage issues, it can be damaged bags, delayed bags or lost baggage. But there are time restrictions to these, a damaged baggage claim needs to be submitted within 7 days, delayed baggage within 21 days. And in case of lost baggage, you have 2 years to file the claim.
Besides if you miss any prepaid booking and because of any air travel disruption, you have to pay for an extra night at a hotel or any other unforeseen expenses, you will get reimbursed. Also you need to attach the proof of expenses and necessary documents of the booking.
Which flights are covered by the Montreal Convention?
The treaty was signed and approved by over 130 countries around the world. And equally it applies to international flights between nations that honor the regulation. Major airline markets are members with few exceptions like Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The list keeps on changing as nations join in.
The Montreal Convention also applies if your departure and destination are within a single member nation, but only when there are planned stopover in a different country. For example, imagine that you’re flying between cities in a member nation such as China with a stopover in India. Your flight would be covered. In case if you had a direct flight instead, with no stopover, it would not be an “international” flight and would not be covered.
In conclusion at Bargainariticket, we connect passengers to Airhelp who are expert in filing the compensation claim for you. You just need to visit their website and follow the instructions on the form. Overall their mission is to help the traveler community and keep you updated with the information regarding air passenger rights. You can get compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
Legal Achievement of Airhelp:
Importantly, since its launch in 2013, AirHelp’s legal team has successfully challenged airlines that attempt to dodge their liability using unfounded arguments and passenger have received compensation for flight delay or cancellation . For instance:
Disruptions on multi-leg flights: AirHelp has won a case where a passenger claimed compensation for their disrupted multi-leg flight that had a delay on the second leg. Thus the airline only paid out compensation for the second leg, not for the whole route. The court decided that it is irrelevant which leg is affected; compensation is due for the whole route. Admittedly this decision is likely to be followed by other courts.
Drunken passengers and broken windows: AirHelp won a case where a delay was caused by the offloading of two drunken passengers, as well as the crew needing to fix a broken window. As a result, the court decided that neither of these causes fell under “extraordinary circumstances.”
Refusing Re-Routing: In case if passengers don’t accept the rerouting schedule offered by the airline following the cancellation of their flight and decided not to go at all, they are now considered to be entitled to compensation even when the passenger was already reimbursed for the flight ticket by the airline.
To end, you can also read which airlines have waived change fee due to coronavirus in our article.