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EU Regulation on Flights: Quick Tips You Need to Know



The European Union (EU) Regulation 261/2004 is a significant law for air travellers. This regulation ensures passengers’ rights are protected when flying with airlines from the EU or on flights departing from EU airports. It is a key piece of legislation that has transformed air travel within and from the EU and there are now agencies like Flightright helping air passengers fight for their rights under this law. 

What Does the EU Regulation 261/2004 Entail?

The EU Regulation 261 was passed in 2004 to protect passengers’ rights regarding flight delays, cancelations , and denied boarding due to overbooking. Under this regulation, airlines are obligated to assist and, in certain cases, provide compensation to passengers. 

The regulation covers flights within the EU, flights leaving the EU, and flights arriving in the EU with an EU-based carrier. Under this law, you may be entitled to monetary compensation, based on the flight distance and the length of the delay. You may also have access to other rights, including rights to information, and care (like meals and accommodation).

How Does the EC 261 Law Benefit Me?

The primary benefit of EC 261 is passenger empowerment. It ensures travellers are not left stranded or suffer due to flight disruptions, especially if the reason is well within the airline’s control. 

Passengers can claim compensation ranging from €250 to €600, depending on the flight distance and delay duration. Additionally, the regulation mandates airlines to provide meals, refreshments, and accommodation if necessary, making travel disruptions less stressful.

Who is Entitled to Compensation Under the EC 261 Law?

Compensation under EC 261 applies to passengers on flights departing from an EU airport or arriving in the EU with an EU-based airline. This includes EU citizens as well as non-EU citizens. 

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However, compensation is not guaranteed in every case. Exceptions include circumstances beyond the airline’s control, like bad weather or air traffic control strikes. The key is the reason for the disruption: if it’s within the airline’s control, passengers are likely entitled to compensation.

How to Claim Compensation

To claim compensation, contact the airline directly. You can reach out to the helpdesk if you’re already at the airport or contact them via their email or telephone number. First, find out the reason for the flight disruption, to give you an idea whether or not you are entitled to compensation. 

In many cases, the airline would typically have a form on their website that you can fill or you will be required to send a direct email with the necessary information. This includes:

  • Details of the flight disruption, including flight number, scheduled and actual departure times, and the reason given by the airline for the disruption.
  • Records of any expenses incurred due to the delay.

If the airline fails to respond or rejects the claim, you can then escalate the matter to national enforcement bodies or seek legal advice.

Bottom Line

The EU Regulation 261/2004 is a law that supports passenger rights in the event of flight delays, cancelations , and denied boarding. This regulation has significantly improved passenger experiences in air travel within and from the European Union, making it a vital piece of information for travellers to be aware of.

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