Trouble with a cancelled flight? You can get up to 600 € in compensation
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Compensation for cancelled flight – in recent weeks this phrase has been misplaced in all cases. Numerous strikes by aviation industry workers caused a number of difficulties throughout Europe and will also be the case  later this summer unfortunately. A longer time to return home from vacation is not pleasant. However, it is worth remembering about passenger rights. Travellers are entitled to compensation for a cancelled flight.

Sometimes it may turn out that the flight which is initially delayed by several hours  is given a “cancelled” sticker. If your flight is cancelled, it’s good to know your rights and what action to expect from the air carrier. If the airlines do not ensure the basic passenger rights, travellers should keep receipts for e.g. meals, drinks, accommodation or a new ticket. On their basis, you can apply for reimbursement. Check what to keep in mind if your flight is cancelled. 

Cancelled flight – airline obligations

Cancelling a flight is just the beginning of worries when we stand with our luggage and we are aware that the next day at eight in the morning we should check in at the workplace after the holiday. What is worth remembering? First, let’s start with the passenger rights. Experts from the European Consumer Centre was asked for practical advice in the event of flight cancellation, among others what benefits travellers can expect from airlines.

– Passengers who found out about the cancellation while at the airport, if they still want to reach their final destination, should contact an employee of a given airline as soon as possible, requesting a rebooking for the first possible date.

There are situations where passengers buy a new ticket on their own , then request a refund for it from the airline that cancelled their original connection – we do not recommend this solution.

Passengers may then have a problem with getting a refund for a ticket they have purchased, because it has not been assigned to them by the carrier – in such a situation they will be able to receive a refund for a cancelled connection – points out Joanna Izdebska, PR and communication specialist at ECK at UOKiK.

How to get your money back?

The rights of airline passengers also apply to the need for the air carrier to provide care for travellers  –  e.g. while waiting for a replacement flight at the airport or offering accommodation if an alternative flight to the destination is scheduled for the next day. Customers should receive instructions from employees of the airline or airport operating the flight.

If the air carrier does not provide on-site care for passengers, travellers who face additional costs as a result of flight cancellation should keep receipts and invoices. On their basis, you can apply to the airlines for a refund. 

– If the carrier does not take care of passengers while waiting for a replacement flight and they will bear the costs of meals and accommodation themselves – then they should keep the receipts and then send the airline’s complaint demanding a return – says Joanna Izdebska and adds that travellers can use the templates Complaints prepared by the European Consumer Centre – available HERE

Flight cancellation and refund

In addition, the European Consumer Centre, operating at UOKiK, has prepared a list of complaint forms for most European airlines. You can find them  in the forms tab on the ECC website.

– The above rights apply to situations in which independent passengers bought tickets from the airline . If our flight was part of an organised trip, then the traveller may have claims against the travel agency – emphasises  Joanna Izdebska, PR and communication specialist at ECC at the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection .

Three options for return

To sum up, when an airline informs passengers about the cancellation of a flight, travellers have the right to choose one of three options to reach their final destination. They have the right to:

  • reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket,
  • changing the travel plan to a convenient date ,
  • re-routing at the earliest possible date .

Passengers who are already at the airport and decide to change their travel plan to the earliest possible date – while waiting for the replacement flight, are entitled to assistance in the form of meals and drinks, and, if necessary, also accommodation. They also have the right to make two phone calls, send two text messages or emails. The implementation of the above-mentioned rights should be guaranteed by the organising airlines.

Compensation for cancelled flight

In addition, passengers may also be entitled to monetary compensation of between 250 and 600 euros  for a cancelled flight – the amount depends on the length of the trip, according to the European Consumer Centre. 

Compensation for cancelled flights depends on the distance of travel. The amount of compensation ranges from EUR 200 to 600, i.e. between PLN 1,180 and PLN 2,830 . Compensation for cancelled flights is paid “per ticket”, ie one person. In the table above, we present detailed information on the amount of compensation for individual routes.

Flight cancellation and travel class

In some situations, a passenger may count not only on compensation for a delayed flight. In addition, airlines should reimburse part of the ticket costs if, due to the cancelled flight, the traveller was placed in a class lower than the one for which the ticket was purchased . In the case of flights up to 1,500 km, it will be 30%. the ticket price, with a length between 1,500 and 3,500 km, is 50 percent. ticket price.

However, in  the case of flights with a length of more than 3,500 km, the carrier is obliged to return 75 percent. the ticket price to the passenger. The rules do not apply to flights between the European territory of EU countries and French overseas departments. 

The situation is different when the passenger, due to the flight cancellation, was placed in a class higher than the one for which he purchased the ticket. In this case, the airlines are not entitled to expect an overpayment from the traveller. 

Passenger rights in the event of flight cancellation

The rights of airline passengers in the event of flight cancellation, including the right to compensation and to receive assistance from the air carrier, are governed by the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of February 11, 2004. In accordance with the applicable regulations, a traveller may apply for compensation for a cancelled flight if:

  • the flight was entirely operated within the EU,
  • the flight started within the EU,
  • the flight departed outside the European Union but ended in the EU – provided it was operated by an EU carrier.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that, legally, a cancelled flight takes place when the plane has taken off, but due to the circumstances it has returned to the place of departure or has been redirected to another airport and a flight that has not started at all.

When will the airlines not pay out my compensation?

It is worth remembering that compensation for the cancelled flight is not due if the carrier informed passengers about the flight cancellation in advance , i.e. less than 2 weeks before the planned departure date. The same is true when the airline cancels the flight connection within 2 weeks, but offers alternative flights under the conditions specified in the regulations.

It is worth noting that you can apply for compensation for a cancelled flight by sending a complaint to the airline operating the flight. On the other hand, tourists who travel as part of a package trip also have the option of submitting their claims to a travel agency.

Source: Bankier

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I am from Denmark but have lived and done business in Poland since the Spring in 2008. I have had a webshop with Scandinavian designed products, and event company in Poland. Today I am a business consultant and b2b IT consultant plus sales agent on the Polish market. I have lived/done business in 3 different cities and in 3 different regions (voivodeships) in Poland. My business network and knowledge about doing business in Poland and about Poland are therefore very big.

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