Q: My flight was delayed. Am I entitled to financial compensation?
A: Although the Regulation itself does not expressly state that compensation is payable in cases of delay, the ruling delivered by the European Court of Justice in the cases of Sturgeon -v- Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Bock and Others -v- Air France SA states that compensation may be payable to passengers who are delayed in arriving at their destination by 3 hours or more.
The amount of compensation payable depends on the distance of the flight. If the flight is classed as:
• short haul, the amount payable is €250 per person.
• medium haul, the amount payable is €400 per person.
• long haul, the amount payable is €600 per person.
However the amount payable may be reduced by 50% if you arrive at your destination less than 4 four hours after the scheduled arrival time.
Q: What else am I entitled to, if my flight is delayed?
A: Care and assistance should be provided as stated in Article 9 of the Regulation. This should consist of meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting period, two free telephone calls, emails or faxes and hotel accommodation where the waiting period is overnight. Where the delay is over five hours duration, reimbursement of the cost of the ticket for the part of the journey not taken can be claimed if a passenger decides not to travel. Your travel insurance may also cover delays to flights and you should check your policy for details.
Q: My flight was delayed over two hours. The air carrier said that they could not provide meals and refreshments, but that I should keep any receipts. What should I do?
A: In the event of a long delay an air carrier is obliged to provide passengers with the care and assistance specified in Article 9 of the Regulation. Failure to do so is an infringement of the Regulation. If you have incurred reasonable expenses as a result of an air carriers failure to comply with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 you must be reimbursed these expenses by the air carrier. If the air carrier fails to reimburse you within a reasonable period of time your complaint refers to a delay which occured at an Irish airport, you may send your complaint to this Office.
Q. I have been told that my flight is now operating at a different time than I when I originally made the booking. The airline says this is because of a “schedule change”. I am due a refund or compensation?
A. Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in four specified circumstances. Unfortunately the Regulation makes no reference to schedule changes. As a result these are usually governed by the terms and conditions agreed to at booking.
Q. My flight has been cancelled. I have been offered an alternative flight to a different airport in the city I am travelling to. Is the airline required to pay for onward transport to my original destination airport?
A. Yes. Where a town city or region is served by several airports, an operating carrier offers a flight to an airport alternative to that for which the booking was made, the carrier shall bear the cost of transport from that alternative airport either to that for which the booking was made or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.
Q: The airline, having cancelled my flight, only offered a flight the next day which was unsuitable. As a result I booked another flight with a different airline. What are my refund entitlements?
A: You are entitled to a refund of the unused (cancelled) flight from the airline. However Regulation (EC) 261/2004 does not provide, for example, for reimbursement of alternative travel expenses or losses incurred due to a delayed arrival at your destination. To claim consequential expenses such as these, passengers are advised to first engage with their air carrier to resolve these types of issues which come under the Montréal Convention. If the matter is not resolved directly with the air carrier, and the claim relates to amounts not exceeding €2,000, passengers may wish to avail of the services of Small Claims Court.
Q: My complaint relates to the loss of, damage or delay to my baggage. Can the Commission for Aviation Regulation help me with this?
A: The Commission has no remit in relation to baggage complaints. In the event that your baggage has been lost, delayed or damaged the Montreal Convention affords you certain entitlements. The European Consumer Centre Dublin (ECC) will explain these entitlements to you in detail and they will also provide you with the assistance and information necessary to pursue the matter. However it is important to contact them as soon as possible as under the Montreal Convention complaints relating to baggage must be submitted within certain timeframes. The ECC are located at the following address: Macro Centre, 1 Green Street, Dublin 7 and are contactable on + 353 (0)1 8797620. Please see their website for further information.
Q. I have cancelled my own flight. Am I due a refund of the full price paid or just the taxes and charges element?
Passengers who choose to cancel their own flights are bound by the booking conditions agreed to when the reservation was made. Some tickets are fully refundable while others, particularly the lowest priced tickets, may be non-refundable. The taxes and charges element of flights should be refundable however, and a claim for a refund should be made directly to the airline. Such refunds may be subject to an administration fee. Please note the Commission for Aviation Regulation has no enforcement powers regarding the level of administration fee charged. We would recommend contacting the National Consumer Agency if you have further queries in relation to this matter.
Q. The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised against all travel to a particular country due to a natural disaster. I am due to go on holiday soon to this country. If I cancel my flight am I due a full refund?
A. A refund would be due under the Regulation if the airline cancels the flight. If it does not, then you would be bound by the conditions agreed to at the time of booking. In most cases airlines will be aware of a travel advisory and will offer refunds.
Q. I was due to travel from Dublin to Moscow via London with all my flights on the same ticket. On arrival in London it was announced that the Moscow flight was cancelled. As a result I missed an important engagement in Moscow and now have no reason to go there. What are my entitlements?
A. As well as the rights described in the cancellation section you are also entitled to a free flight back to your original departure point if as a result of a cancellation of a connecting flight your journey no longer serves its intended purpose.
Q. My connecting flights were booked separately. If my first flight is cancelled am I entitled to a refund for my other flight(s)?
A. Unlikely. If the bookings were made separately they will be regarded as separate contracts and under the terms of the Regulation a refund will only be due for the cancelled flight. However if the bookings were all made with the same airline you may receive a refund at their discretion.
Q. Does the Commission for Aviation Regulation have any responsibility for safety issues which might arise onboard an aircraft?
A. No. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is the body responsible for the regulation of safety standards in Irish civil aviation. They are located at The Times Building, 11-12 D'Olier Street, Dublin 2 and are contactable on: + 353 (0)1 6718 655. Please see their website for further information: http://www.iaa.ie
Q. Does the European Commission provide standardised guidelines for National Enforcement bodies and Airlines to follow for (EC) 261/2004 complaints across all member states?
Following a series of meetings with relevant stakeholders in 2007, the European Commission has published an interpretation document which provide answers to further questions on Regulation (EC) 261/2004 and complaint handling guidelines for Airlines and Enforcement bodies. However the document in itself is not as yet legally binding. See the European Commissions Air Passenger Rights information homepage for further information.