Learn About Your Air Passenger Rights?
There are millions of people who travel each year, but many of them are unaware about their air passenger rights to protect them. WorldTravelFeed will help you understand them and help you how you can file a claim and get compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
Air passenger rights involves laws that protects and supports the travelers. In case of any flight interruptions, they get compensated.
Although the rights vary from country to country. In the United States, there are some laws that protects travelers in case of overbooked flights or any tarmac delay. But Europe’s EC 216 is more beneficial for travelers any day as it is more comprehensive and offers compensation for flight delay or cancellation in a range of situations.
Clearly as a matter of fact, 85% of travelers are unaware about their air passenger rights.
We Are Happy To Help
WorldTravelFeed is there for your help regarding any issues you face during your next air travel related to the air passenger rights. Airhelp is committed to serve the travel community with information regarding travelers rights. It is our mission to help travelers to get compensation for flight delay or cancellation. Apart from this, what’s more, Airhelp seeks to 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. Also we help people that experience flight delays, flight cancellations, denied boarding, baggage problems, and missed connections.
Individual countries abide by their individual air passengers rights. Few of these are namely Europe’s EC 261, the Montreal Convention, Brazil’s ANAC 400 and various US laws.
Airhelp says “So far, we’ve helped 16 million travelers and we also provide additional technological tools for travelers in their flight compensation quests”
Europe’s EC 261
EC 261/2004 is a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council in EU law that favors the passengers. EC 261 establishes common rules and sets the minimum standards on financial compensation and assistance to passengers in the events of denied boarding, flight cancellations, long delay and downgrade. It holds airlines financially accountable when any air disruption is caused under the airline’s control. Any circumstances, which is outside the airline’s control is not included in air passenger rights.
The law plays a vital role for passenger rights which is not limited to only European travelers. In short all the passengers departing from a European airport are covered under EC 261. Hence in some cases, passengers who are flying into Europe from other international destinations may be covered as well. In comparison to other laws, EC 261 is one of the most comprehensive.
To clarify the airlines are financially and legally responsible for the flight issues. However the compensation depends upon the flight destination and flight scenario. Under EC 261, in most cases you can get reimbursement of upto $700 per person.
The scenarios covered under the EC 261 are:
However the amount of compensation which a passenger is entitled will depend upon many factors like distance traveled and amount of time you are delayed reaching your destination.
EU Airline Compensation
Most routes within Europe and many international flights are covered under EC 261. 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 understand it better :
|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?
In case of any extraordinary circumstances which is outside the control of the airlines, will not be covered under the EC 261. And in such cases there is no compensation from the airlines.
You will not be eligible for compensation if your delay was because of any of the below reasons. Although, the airlines should show that they have taken necessary measures to prevent the delay.
|Strikes initiated by airport employees or air traffic control|
Your rights under EC 261
Here are some of the passenger rights under EC 261 relating to your treatment.
Obligation to inform passengers for their rights
Above all the first and foremost right is to be informed about the content of EC 261. Therefore every airline is supposed to display information on air passenger rights at their check-in counters in every airport. Also 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. This will be in addition to compensation for your loss of time.
Right to care
During any disruptions while 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.
The airline must provide you with:
- Firstly, meals and refreshments during the delay.
- Secondly, access to communications, including two telephone calls, fax messages and emails.
- Thirdly, 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 then the airline offers you with an alternate flight where the class is lower then you are entitled to get a reimbursement between 30% and 75% of the original price you paid. On the other hand if you have booked a flight and offered an alternate flight in higher class, the airlines cannot charge you anything extra.
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 has voluntarily surrendered their reservations. Thus the amount which you are supposed to receive under EC 261 may be deducted from whatever additional compensation you receive.
EU 261 Claim
It should be noted that your passenger rights will expire eventually in case you do not file compensation for flight delay or cancellation . However, the time limit varies from one country to another. Please note that the country you claim in is not decided by your nationality, but by where the headquarter of the airlines, or what court has jurisdiction in cases concerning the airline.
To sum up 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
What are US Air Passenger Rights?
The US laws in case of air passenger rights in case of flight delays or cancellation are not as extensive as European or International laws. The rights are limited to any passengers for denied boarding, tarmac delays or in case of luggage problems.
In the United States, overbooking is pretty common with most of the airlines. If you are denied boarding or bumped off due to overbooking, you could be entitled to compensation of upto $1350. Read more on overbooked booking. There are strong laws in place governing your right to be compensated.
US laws do not address delayed flights in general, but there are laws concerning what happens if your flight is delayed on the tarmac. Read more about tarmac delays so you know your rights.
Passengers 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?
The denied boarding regulations apply to flights with US carriers originating in the United States while the tarmac delay regulations apply to flights departing from or flying to a US airport.
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.
Brazil’s ANAC 400
What are Air Passenger Rights in Brazil?
Air Passenger Rights in Brazil are important. Passengers have rights when they fly – and in case any disruption occurs, the laws are very clear on what care passengers should expect from the airlines. In case the airline fails to provide the care, you can get compensation for flight delay or cancellation of upto $1,300.
Anyone flying in Brazil is protected by the legislation from Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC).
The laws related to air passenger rights are known as ANAC Resolution Nº 400. These laws are set out for airlines to take care of their passengers in case of any flight disruption. The law offers air passengers a great deal of consideration, specifying what care airlines must provide, and when. And when the airline fails to care for their travelers, Brazil’s Consumer Code allows passengers to claim compensation.
Compensation for Flight Issues in Brazil
|Flight Delay||Upto $1300 per person|
|Flight Cancellation||Upto $1300 per person|
|Denied Boarding||Upto $690 per person|
Role of Airhelp –
- Your flight was cancelled 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:
There are several rights which you are entitled to under Brazilian Law:
Right to information:
In case your flight is delayed at the airport the airline should let you know about it promptly. They need to inform you about the new departure time. Also, the airline must provide an update on the delayed departure time every 30 minutes. Upon request, the airline must provide you with a written explanation about the delay.
Right to care:
The airline must provide their passengers with material assistance if flight is delayed or cancelled . What care the passenger will get will depends on how long the passenger is waiting after their original departure time:
Over 1 hour: Passengers should get 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.
- Reimbursement or rebooking – The airline must look to get you to your destination as soon as possible.
- Accommodation – If the airline cannot get you to your destination any sooner, they must provide you with suitable accommodation.
But the airlines will offer accommodation only for an overnight wait therefore 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 delayed over 4 hours or are canceled, passengers have the right to choose from 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:
Moreover sometimes, airlines may need to make changes to your flight. For example the departure time could be later, or your direct flight may get changed to a connecting flight. If this happens to you, ANAC 400 offers some protection and passenger get compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
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|
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
In case 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 the flight. In addition, they must take care of your food, drink, and accommodation where necessary.
Rights for passengers with additional needs:
Brazilian laws offer additional protections for air passengers who may require assistance.
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.
In case the 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.
In case your 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 agree, airline can deny boarding to some passengers. These passengers are then offered an alternative flight, the care, and additional compensation. This compensation is set under ANAC 400 and is paid immediately.
|Flight Types||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 is calculated.
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?
Likewise the situations which is covered under the Brazilian Law is wherein the flight disruption is out of the passenger’s control and passenger gets covered. Although there are extraordinary circumstances which are outside of the airline’s control.
For example, If you miss your flight because of flight delay or flight cancellation, the passenger is covered for the compensation however if you miss your flight or decide to take a later one, then these laws will not come into effect.
If there is any delay because of bad weather or a strike by air traffic control will come under extraordinary circumstances and the airline will not provide the compensation but yes they will have to take care of the passengers as per the law.
The one exception is, if the airline doesn’t provide the care during any extraordinary circumstances then the affected passengers can file a claim for compensation.
Which Flights are covered?
The air passenger rights under Brazilian law applies to the following flights:
- 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 which is issued in Brazil (even if the flight is operated abroad).
What is the time limit?
Yes, there is a time limit and that’s why it becomes important to be aware of your rights and what is the expiration date so you are able to file the claim. Here is the time limit:
|Flight Type||Time Limit For Claim To Be Filed|
|Domestic Flights||5 years|
|International Flights||2 years|
Things to remember in case your Brazil Flight is Disrupted:
- Firstly, ask for the care you need – communication, food and drink, and accommodation.
- Secondly, let the airline know if you require additional assistance.
- Thirdly, keep hold of your flight boarding pass.
- Also ask for a statement from the airline about the flight delay or cancellation.
- Also keep any additional documentation the airline gives you regarding the disruption.
- In fact take pictures of conditions at the gate and of any vouchers or assistance you are offered.
- Also keep all receipts from the expenses you occur
- Record the names of the airline staff – particularly if they refuse your request for assistance.
The Montreal Convention
What is the Montreal Convention?
The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty signed and adopted by over 130 countries around the world. It’s aim is to establish airline liability in case of flight delay and for damage or loss of baggage. Thus provide passenger compensation for flight delay or cancellation.
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. If you miss your booking because of any air travel issues, and you have to pay for an extra night at hotel or any other unforeseen expenses, you will get reimbursed. Above all you need to attach the proof of expenses and necessary documents of the booking. Always hold onto the receipts.
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.
Which flights are covered by the Montreal Convention?
The Montreal Convention applies to international flights between nations that honor the regulation. The treaty is signed and approved by over 130 countries around the world. Few exceptions are like Sri Lanka and Vietnam. But the list keeps on changing as nations join in.
The Montreal Convention apply if your departure and destination is within a single member nation, but only when there have been 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 flights are covered. But if you had a direct flight instead, with no stopover, it would not be an “international” flight and would not be covered.
To sum up, if you have any disruptions during your travel caused by the airlines, most of the times you are eligible for the compensation/reimbursement. However, you can always check with Airhelp whether you qualify for the compensation for flight delay or cancellation or not. Alternatively, you can simply visit Airhelp.com and fill out the form with the required information and supported documents. Their legal experts will take care and if qualified you will get the compensation. Although, make sure you read the article above to understand whether you are in the category of claim or not. This will save their time and your time too. It is a great website and has been serving the traveler community since 2013. There are numerous legal achievements under their name, and they have also changed jurisdiction in several cases.
The form on Airhelp will look like this. So you can start by filling out the form and check for your compensation amount.