Your Flight has been Delayed or Cancelled: What Next?
What happens when your flight gets delayed or canceled? Many travelers tend to be clueless about the next best steps to take when faced with such. Flight delays and cancellations have become so common that there are now agencies like Flightright helping passengers exercise their rights and get duly compensated for any inconvenience caused. Any frequent traveler would tell you how frustrating flight disruptions can be. It can mess up with your travel plans eventually and could even make you miss connecting flights. These disruptions are due to several reasons such as bad weather conditions, strikes, knock-on effects from other delayed or canceled flights, air traffic control restrictions, and lack of aircraft space, among others. If you’re flying from an EU member state or arriving in one, you may be entitled to some compensation under the EU 261/2004 regulation.
What is the EU 261/2004 Regulation?
The EU 261/2004 regulation is there to protect passengers if their flight gets delayed or canceled and ensure they get compensated for inconveniences caused. Under this regulation, affected passengers may be entitled to compensation of up to €250 – €600, depending on the flight distance. While a short distance flight would attract €250 compensation, a medium distance flight would attract €450 and €600 for a long-distance flight. Apart from monetary compensation, you may also be entitled to other things. This includes the right to care that covers free meals and refreshments, access to a telephone, and hotel booking if you experience long flight delays. You may also be entitled to a refund of your flight ticket or a free flight rescheduling option.
However, to qualify for this compensation, you must meet the eligibility criteria. This includes:
- Your flight kicks off from an EU airport or lands in one, provided that the airline is headquartered in an EU member state.
- You were informed of the delay or cancellation less than 14 days to the original departure date, which is the ideal timeline to be notified of such disruption.
- If it is a flight delay, you must have checked in early – at least 45 minutes to the departure time.
- The reason for the delay or cancellation is within the airline’s control and not due to some extraordinary circumstances.
- You have a valid booking ticket and didn’t use a discounted ticket unavailable to the public.
Exercise Your Rights and Get Compensated
It’s not just enough to know your rights, you should also take action to get compensated properly for any inconvenience caused as a result of the airline’s incompetence. Start by contacting the airline to find out the reason for the flight disruption, after which you can request the next steps to take. Most times, airlines would reschedule a canceled flight to a later date. You can either choose to reschedule or request a refund of your ticket. In the process of getting compensated, ensure you read every document provided to you by the airline before you sign. This is to avoid waiving your rights unintentionally or ending up accepting vouchers that are not valued as much as the compensation you would receive under the EC 261 law.
No one should have to suffer for the incompetence of any airline. If you find yourself in such a situation, try to make the most of it and kick-start the process of getting compensated in due time.