Flight cancellations often result in inconveniences for passengers and as a result, the EU 261 regulation was passed in 2004 to protect passengers’ rights. If you have ever had to deal with cancelled flights, especially at die minutes, you must know how frustrating it is. But then, how do you know if you are entitled to compensation if any?
Know the EU 261/2004 Regulation
The EU 261/2004 regulation protects the rights of passengers if their flights are disrupted in any way. This way, they can get flight cancellation compensation. The law requires airlines in the EU to compensate passengers properly should their flights be delayed or cancelled for reasons within the airline’s control.
What are the Eligibility Criteria of the EU 261 Law?
The EU 261/2004 regulation applies to any air passenger starting their trip from an EU airport or landing in an EU airport with an airline headquartered within the EU. The compensation stands if you were informed of the cancellation less than 14 days from the scheduled date of departure. The reason for the cancellation must also be within the airline’s control. Airlines are not in any way obligated to compensate passengers when the reason for cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances that they couldn’t have taken care of.
What Are You Entitled to?
For cancelled flight compensation under the EU 261/2004 law, you may be entitled to monetary compensation of €250 to €600, depending on the flight distance, as explained below.
- Short distance – Below 1500km (e.g. London – Edinburgh) – €250 compensation
- Medium distance – Between 1500km and 3500km ( e.g. London – Athens) – €400 compensation
- Long distance – Over 3500km (e.g. London – Tokyo) – €600 compensation
You are entitled to a partial or full refund of your flight ticket alongside monetary compensation. You may also choose to reschedule your flight on the same airline for free. If the flight was cancelled after you have arrived at the airport, you may be entitled to the right to care, such as free refreshments and beverages and hotel booking if you have to spend the night.
How to Claim Compensation for a Cancelled Flight
After your flight has been cancelled, you need to check if you fit into the eligibility criteria under the EU 261/2004 regulation. If you do, you can then kick off the process of getting compensated.
Start by asking the airline the reason for the cancellation and demand that they put it in writing. Then proceed to gather relevant documents like your flight ticket and receipts and gather evidence such as replacement flight tickets, expense receipts, vouchers, and more. Putting these documents together will make it easier for you to claim your compensation.
Some airlines have a form on their websites that you can fill to get the process started. You can also contact them directly on the next best steps to take.
Travelling is already stressful and no one deserves to be inconvenienced for no tangible reason. If your flight was cancelled unjustly, exercise your passenger’s rights under the EC 261 law and claim your compensation in due time.
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