It’s been a while: know your travel rights edition

Well, it’s been a really long while since I posted. I guess a lot of that has to do with travel. I don’t know what it’s like for others, but doing the whole travel thing throws my rhythm totally off. This is both a blessing, especially when it comes to cranking out the theories, and a curse, as in the case of regular blogage goodness.

Anyway, seeing as travel is on my mind but mostly because it’s 5:30 AM and my girlfriend is stuck at the airport due to a canceled flight I thought I’d point people to a VERY USEFUL little EU regulation, EC 261/2004 (wiki version). Basically, EC 261/2004 is a kick-ass little regulation that was designed to discourage airlines from screwing over passengers. Some of the handy things in this regulation include:

  • If your flight is cancelled for a reason that has been caused by the airline then they owe you a flight.
  • On top of that, if they haven’t given you enough notice (14 days) or your travel plans get screwed about they owe you €. What’s more the amount they must pay you, in some circumstances, be much more than the cost of the ticket.
  • This holds for all carriers operating in the EU. That is, even if the airline is some bodgy budget thing they still have to abide by the regulation.
  • The airline is supposed to offer the compensation to you and make you aware of your rights.
  • They can’t opt out by offering you flight vouchers etc. If they owe you, they owe you money in € as this is compensation and it is not a gift from the airline (as some airlines will try to tell you).
  • Oh, and if you are delayed by more than a few hours they owe you food and accommodation on top of the € and the flight that you’ve already paid for.

Essentially, if you are traveling in an EU country and your flight is unexpectedly delayed (by more than a couple of hours), cancelled, or overbooked because of something within the airline’s control then you should always enquire about compensation under EC 261/2004!

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4 thoughts on “It’s been a while: know your travel rights edition

  1. I was vaguely aware of this, but it doesn’t always help. On my way back from QEC I got stuck in Heathrow airport due to fog. This was the 23rd of December and so the place was packed. The airlines were canceling flights left, right and center, but I was lucky to only be delayed by about 10 hours. Unfortunately the airline didn’t tell us anything, and simply pulled away all their staff, so that once you had gone through security there was noone about from whom you could get information, let alone the statement of your statutory rights (which you are entitled to, as numerous signs about the airport tell you). It seems that if the airline really wants to dodge this, they can, since your unlikely going to put in the effort to force them into action.

  2. Yea, it sucks when the delays are weather related. Basically you’ve got next to no rights in that situation from what I can tell.

    What’s more, I think that a number of the airlines use bad weather as an opportunity to optimize their profits by cancelling flights and packing out others…

    I was soooo lucky after QEC, if my plane was a little bit later I would have had all sorts of dramas.

  3. Well, I was lucky that my plane was able to take off at all. I made it back to Dublin early on Christmas eve. Had it been canceled, I suspect I’d have been stranded over Christmas.

  4. Dude I wish they had something like that in the US – and I’m a libertarian. Instead corporations are given free reign to screw us in as many ways as possible while our individual liberties are simultaneously stripped away.

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