So how do passengers go about getting reimbursement?

(21 Apr 2010)

As flights around Europe return to normal, passengers whose flights have been cancelled will be anxious to begin the process of getting reimbursement for expenses incurred.

Before setting out guidelines to assist with obtaining reimbursement, it is important to clarify exactly what expenses are refundable. EC Regulation 261/ 2001 states that in the event of a flight cancellation, the air carrier is obliged to offer passengers the choice between:

  • an alternative flight at the earliest opportunity;
  • an alternative flight at a later date which is at the passengers convenience; or
  • a refund. 

Understandably, most of those passengers affected by the recent volcanic activity in Iceland have chosen the first option - an alternative flight at the earliest opportunity. The Regulation goes on to state that air carriers must provide accomodation and meals and refreshments to passengers whilst waiting on this alternative flight. Given the scale of the disruption we understand that air carriers have not been able to arrange this care for every individual passenger. Therefore passengers who have had to make arrangements for their own care and assistance while awaiting a return flight are entitled to reimbursement of their reasonable expenses provided they availed of the alternative flight arranged by the air carrier.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) advises those passengers who incurred expenses recoverable under the Regulation, to follow the guidelines set out below: 

  • Passengers should submit their claim directly to their air carrier in the first instance. Submissions should include copies of all relevant receipts, booking references, passenger names, original flight details and new flight details in your correspondence. CAR recommends that passengers complete the EU complaint form (accessible by clicking on this link) to ensure that all relevant information is given.
  • Passengers are asked to exercise a degree of patience in their dealings with the airlines in recognition of the volume of reimbursement requests that airlines will be required to process over the coming weeks. In that context passengers are requested to allow a reasonable time on the part of the airline to review requests for reimbursement and respond to passengers.
  • Where no response is received from the air carrier or the response received does not comply with the rights of the passenger as set out in the EC Regulation then passengers are entitled to make a complaint to the CAR - the national enforcement body for this Regulation - which will take the matter up on their behalf. It is important to remember that the CAR is only responsible for enforcing infringements which arise from the cancellation of flights which were scheduled to depart from Irish airports or complaints which arise from arrivals into such airports from third countries on air carriers licensed within the European Union.
  • Where your cancelled flight was scheduled to depart from an airport in another Member State, the competent authority to deal with your complaint will be the body designated for that purpose in that country. A full list of these organisations can be accessed by clicking here.
  • It is the policy of the CAR that where complaints in relation to events outside of this jurisdiction are received, to forward those complaints directly to the national enforcement body of that country.

If, after reading the above, passengers still have queries about their entitlements or about obtaining reimbursement of their expenses they should contact CAR on 01 6611700 or 1890 787 787.

© 2020 Commission for Aviation Regulation
  • 3rd Floor Alexandra House Earlsfort Terrace Dublin 2 D02 W773
  • Phone: +353-(0) 1-6611700, Fax: +353-(0) 1-6611269, Email: info@aviationreg.ie