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Flight delays can be inconvenient for anyone, but being aware of the EU regulations on delayed flights can help reduce the frustration. The EU Regulation 261/2004 is a comprehensive law that protects passengers in the event of flight delays, cancelations, and denied boarding. This article will highlight the specifics of these regulations, focusing on your rights and the procedures involved.

What is the EU Regulation 261/2004 About?

EU Regulation 261/2004 is one law that outlines passengers’ rights when faced with flight delays. This regulation applies to all flights departing from airports within the European Union, as well as flights arriving in the EU operated by an EU-based airline. Its primary aim is to ensure that passengers are adequately compensated and assisted during delays.

Scope of the Regulation

The regulation covers various scenarios, including flight delays, cancelations, and instances when passengers are denied boarding against their will. For a flight delay, the regulation specifies the services and compensations passengers are entitled to, based on the duration of the delay and the distance of the flight.

Rights Under EC Regulation 261/2004

When a flight is delayed for more than two hours (for flights of 1500 kilometers or less), three hours (for intra-EU flights of more than 1500 kilometers and all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers), or four hours (for flights of over 3500 kilometers), passengers are entitled to certain rights under the regulation. These rights include:

  • Information: Airlines must inform passengers about their rights under EC Regulation 261/2004.
  • Refreshments and Meals: Passengers are entitled to meals and refreshments appropriate to the waiting time.
  • Communication: Two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails.
  • Accommodation and Transport: If a stay of one or more nights is necessary, or if a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary, airlines must offer hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation.

Compensation for Delays

In addition to these immediate rights, passengers may be entitled to financial compensation between €250 – €600 under certain circumstances. This compensation is determined based on the flight distance and the length of the delay. However, if the airline can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, they may not be required to pay compensation.

Claiming Compensation Under EU Regulation 261/2004

To claim compensation, you should:

  1. Contact the airline and submit a claim. Be sure to include all relevant details of your flight and the delay.
  2. Submit any relevant documentation, such as boarding passes, receipts, and proof of the delay.
  3. Follow up with the request. If the airline does not respond within a reasonable time frame or rejects the claim, you can escalate the matter to the national enforcement body in the EU country where the incident took place or in the country of destination.

Bottom Line

EU Regulation 261/2004 is designed to protect passengers in the event of flight delays. By understanding your rights under this regulation, you can better navigate the inconvenience caused by delays and ensure you receive all the assistance and compensation you are entitled to.