Air passenger rights

 

Today traveling by plane already have become a routine matter. However, many have faced the need to take some adjustments to its rest of travel plans, because the intended flight was delayed, cancelled or passengers were denied boarding.

 

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Regulation) lays down common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delayed and sets minimum rights for passengers when:

  • passengers against their will are denied boarding on a flight;
  • a flight is cancelled;
  • a flight is delayed.

If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled or delayed, the air carrier operating your flight must offer you financial compensation and assistance. These rights apply to all passengers departing from an EU airport and from an airport in a third country to an airport in EU, operated by EU air carrier.

 

Denied boarding

If the flight is overbooked or passenger cannot board the plane for another reasons, for instance, due to errors by ground staff, it is called denied boarding. In accordance with Regulation air carrier must first call for volunteers, who are willing to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits agreed by passenger and air carrier. In addition, volunteers are entitled to another flight as soon as possible or at a later date, or a refund of the cost of the ticket.

If there are not enough volunteers, air carrier may deny boarding to passengers against their will. In such situation passengers are entitled to reimbursement of the cost of the ticket or re-routing, as well as to monetary compensation.

The amount of compensation:

  • EUR 250, in the case of flights of 1500 km or less;
  • EUR 400, in the case of flights between 1500 and 3500 km;
  • EUR 600, in the case of flights exceeding 3500 km outside the EU.

 

Delay

 If the flight is delayed an air carrier shall provide passengers with:

  • free of charge meals and refreshments;
  • possibility free of charge to make 2 telephone calls, send 2 fax messages or e-mails
  • if the time of departure is at least on the next day after previously scheduled time of departure – hotel and transport to the hotel
  • if the flight is delayed at least for 5 hours- reimbursement of the cost of the ticket.

Application of the clauses shall be dependant from the time of delay and distance of the flight.

If you reach your final destination three hours or more after the arrival time originally scheduled, you are entitled to financial compensation, unless the air carrier can prove that the long delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances.

The amount of compensation:

  • EUR 250 in the case of flights of 1500 km or less;
  • EUR 400 in the case of flights between 1500 and 3500 km;
  • EUR 600 in the case of flights exceeding 3500 km outside the EU.

 

Cancellation

In case of cancellation of a flight an air carrier shall offer:

  • reimbursement of the cost of the ticket or re-routing;
  • in addition - free of charge meals and refreshments, possibility to communicate, as well as, if the departure of the new flight is at least on the next day after the cancelled flight departure – hotel and transport to the hotel;
  • monetary compensation.

Amount of the compensation:

  • EUR 250, in the case of flights of 1500 km or less;
  • EUR 400, in the case of flights between 1500 and 3500 km;
  • EUR 600, in the case of flights exceeding 3500 km outside the EU.

Passengers shall not be entitled to the compensation if the air carrier can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of the air carrier. Such circumstances may occur in cases:

  • unstable political situation,
  • bad meteorological conditions,
  • security risk,
  • unexpected flight safety risk,
  • strikes

According to the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union a technical problem, which has occurred unexpectedly, does not fall within definition of “extraordinary circumstances”.

 

Where to turn in case of problems ?

If the air carrier does not comply with your rights under Regulation and/or you are entitle to monetary compensation, then first you should submit a written complaint to the air carrier. The complaint to the air carrier can be sent either in a free narrative form or by filling out complaint form available on the home page of the European Commission Directorate – General for Energy and Transport.

If the air carrier fails to respond or rejects performance of your claim, you should apply for assistance to Regulation supervisory authority of the Member State, where incident took place. The list of supervisory authorities is available on the home page of the European Commission – General for Energy and Transport.


If your complaint relates to a flight with AS “Air Baltic Corporation” (Air Baltic) flying in/out of the United Kingdom you may lodge your complaint to the Consumer Rights Protection Centre (CRPC). We will consider your complaint in our role as an approved Dispute Resolution entity under the EU Directive on Consumer ADR[1]. Information regarding how your complaint is considered can be found here.

We can consider your complaint in either Latvian or English. If you wish to raise your complaint about Air Baltic with us please do so via sending us an e-mail to this address: ptac@ptac.gov.lv.

We will accept complaints about Air Baltic in relation to the following issues: denied boarding, delay, or cancellation; destruction, damage, loss, or delayed transportation of baggage; destruction, damage, or loss of items worn or carried by the passenger; problems faced by disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility when using air transport services; and any more general disputes arising where the consumer alleges that the business is not trading fairly.

 

Baggage

In case of problems with a baggage the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, signed in Montreal on 28 May 1999, shall be applied.

Passengers may claim up to 1000 SDR (1 SDR = 1,18 EUR) for damages caused by destruction, damage, loss or delay of their baggage on a flight by an EU air carrier. If the air carrier does not agree with passengers claim, passengers are entitled to go to court.

For damage to checked-in baggage, you must claim in writing within 7 days of its return and for delayed baggage within 21 days of its return.

You can claim from the air carrier with which you have a contract or from that actually operating the flight, if they are different. 

 


[1] Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22 EC (Directive on Consumer ADR)