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Passenger rights in flight delays to be expanded

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brussels - Air passengers may very well soon receive additional rights in filing for compensation when they have experienced flight delays or cancellations. This is included in a confidential report that will be presented to the European Ministers of Transport this spring. 

Regulation 261/2004 will possibly be revised in the months to come. This law protects passengers when their flight has been cancelled or overbooked. Air passengers can claim for compensation of 250, 400 or 600 euros if one of either occurs. As of October 2012, flight delays are also included in the legislation, where previously, only flight cancellations entitled passengers to compensation. The proposal will contain an amendment that will state that delays of over five hours legally entitle passengers to compensation, and possibly also to a refund of their ticket.

The second important revision within the new regulations is that technical errors will mostly not be considered to be force majeure anymore. Airlines often try to evade paying compensation by invoking 'force majeure', which means mysterious 'technical errors' have been blamed for a disproportionate amount of delays in the past years. The revision will put an end to that. The new legislation will also include missed connections due to a delay of a previous flight. The European Court of Justice delivered a verdict on this issue last October. However: the decision is not yet being enforced by all courts and enforcement authorities throughout Europe. The item will now be added to the revision of Regulation 261/2004.

Was your flight delayed or cancelled due to a volcanic eruption or a blizzard? This delay does not entitle you to compensation, but does entitle you to receive an overnight accommodation, food and transport to the hotel (if applicable). The duration for which passengers will be offered hotel accommodation will be limited to a maximum of three nights.According to Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf, KLM, Transavia and trade association Barin declined to respond to the news yesterday. 'We will wait to comment until the proposal will be officially published next month', Barin director Frank Allard stated.

Written by: Flight-Delayed