After months or days of planning the perfect trip, the last thing you ever want to happen is a flight delay or cancellation. Even worse if you have connecting flights, or you’re flying with a group of people. However, flight disruptions happen regardless, and there are now established firms like Flightright helping passengers fight for their rights. This article highlights some of the next best things you can do if your flight ever gets disrupted.
Flight disruptions can come in different ways, whether it is a delay, cancellation, or denied boarding due to overbooking. Each of these situations is covered under the EC 261 regulation for air passengers.
1. Know the EC 261 regulation
The EC 261 regulation was passed in 2004 to protect the rights of air passengers in the case of severe flight disruptions. It is for flights flying from EU member states or arriving there, as long as it’s a European airline. Under this law, you are entitled to compensation of €250 – €600 based on the flight distance. You are also entitled to free meals and drinks when delayed for at least two hours.
In some severe cases where you may have to spend the night at the airport, you are entitled to a free hotel booking. Long delays of over 5 hours also mean you can reschedule or cancel the flight with a full refund, at no extra cost to you. Airlines often try to avoid this, but they are also obligated under the law to inform you of your rights.
2. Check in on time
Even if you guessed that the flight might be delayed or cancelled, you should still check in on time. This means you should have checked in at least 45 minutes before departure, as this is one of the criteria for being eligible for compensation.
3. Insist on your rights
Airlines will do whatever they can to save money, but at the same time, you should do whatever you can to get compensated according to the law. If you are stuck at the airport for long hours or the flight was suddenly cancelled without any prior notice, you have your rights. Insist on having complimentary meals and drinks, access to the internet and telephone, and also plans to receive monetary compensation.
4. Act quickly
Now that you know you can get compensated, you don’t have to waste any more time. Start getting your documents together in preparation for filing a complaint. You can also contact the airline to find out the cause of the delay, and preferably, have them put it in writing. While you are at it, avoid accepting random vouchers at the airport or signing any document carelessly. You might accidentally waive your rights to compensation if you’re not careful.
As frequently as flight disruptions happen, no one can get used to them, as it causes great inconvenience to the passenger. On the good side, the EC 261 law protects you and you can claim compensation if you are ever faced with severe flight disruptions.