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EU Regulation 261/2004: Flight Passenger Rights in the EU

Flight passengers are protected by EU law, under EU Regulation 261/2004. The regulations, which were introduced in 2005, enhanced and enforced the rights of passengers who are faced with cancellations or long delays, or are denied boarding or downgraded when flying. The regulations enforce compensation for passengers for the cost incurred, the loss of time and inconvenience suffered as a result of a flight delay or cancellation.

A number of test cases since 2005 have given more clarity to the regulations since they were introduced. One such clarification where airlines were able avoid paying out if the delay is caused by an extraordinary circumstance, such as bad weather or crew strikes. Previously, Airlines would routinely refuse to pay out for delays caused by a technical fault, claiming they counted as extraordinary events. A Supreme Court ruling in 2014 (Huzar vs Jet2) ruled that European airlines can no longer claim technical faults as extraordinary circumstances, and must pay out compensation for flight delays of longer than three hours in such cases.

Who do the EU Flight Delay Regulations apply to?

The Flight Delay Regulations apply to any passenger whose flight departs from an EU country or whose flight arrives into an EU country, where the airline registered in an EU country. That means any flights taking off from the UK, or landing in the UK on an EU airline are always covered.

What Rights does EU Regulation 261/2004 Give Passengers?

The Regulations offer protection to passengers so that they may be compensated when flights are delayed, denied or cancelled. The length of your delay and the distance of your flight is taken into account, however, passengers have three main categories of rights in relation to flight delays:

Right to Reimbursement or Re-route

If your flight is cancelled, the airline may offer find you an alternative flight, or if you have missed your connecting flight the airline may book you onto the next flight leaving for your end destination. If you are delayed overnight the airline should give you hotel accommodation and pay for transport to/from the airport.

Right to Care & Assistance

You have a right to care and assistance if your flight has been delayed after two hours for flights up to 1500 kilometres; after three hours for flights between 1500-3500 kilometres; and after four hours for flights over 3500 kilometres. This entitles you to; a reasonable offering of meals and refreshments; Hotel accommodation if there is an overnight stay, and transport to and from the accommodation to the airport; two telephone calls/telex/fax messages/emails. These rights apply even if the delay or cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances.

Right to Compensation

includes industrial action, extreme weather, terrorism or sabotage.

Flight Claims Solicitors Scotland, UK

If you have been in a situation where your flight was cancelled, delayed, you were denied boarding or if you missed a connection, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Flight Delay Reclaims who can help you get the compensation you deserve. With over fifty years' experience, our expert solicitors will take the stress out of making a claim, and with our no win no fee service, you have no worries about upfront costs, and you only need to pay us a fee if your claim is successful. Get in touch with us today via our online contact form or give us a call on 0800 038 7999.


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