Air transport rights

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A) Rights of air passengers departing from an EU airport or arriving at an EU airport, in the latter case if the airline is an EU airline, according to Regulation 261/2004 on Air Passengers' Rights:

1. Flight cancellation

In case of cancellation of a flight the airline is obliged to offer the passenger the following options:

  • The reimbursement of the ticket within 7 days.
  • The carriage to the final destination under comparable transport conditions, as quickly as possible.
  • The transfer to the final destination under comparable transport conditions, at a later date at the passenger's convenience, depending on the availability of seats.

In addition, the airline is obliged to provide the passenger with the following assistance:

  • Sufficient food and refreshments during the waiting time.
  • Two telephone calls, telex or fax messages or e-mails.
  • Hotel accommodation and transportation between hotel and airport in case the scheduled departure is at least the following day.

The passenger is also entitled to compensation based on the distance of the flight (the last destination at which the passenger will arrive late will be taken as a reference):

  • 250€ for flights up to 1,500 km.
  • 400 for all intra-Community flights over 1,500 km and for all other flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km.
  • 600 for all other flights.

If passengers are offered to be driven to the final destination by an alternative transport with a difference in arrival time compared to the scheduled arrival time of the initially booked flight:

  • no more than two hours, for all flights of 1500 kilometers or less;
  • or no more than three hours, for all intra-Community flights over 1500 kilometers and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers, or
  • not more than four hours for all flights not falling under a) or b),

The operating air carrier may reduce the compensation by 50%.

Compensation shall not be payable in the following cases:

  • If the airline can prove that the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
  • If the airline has informed of the cancellation at least 2 weeks before the scheduled departure time.
  • If the airline has informed between 2 weeks and 7 days in advance of the scheduled departure time and has offered an alternative transport with departure no more than 2 hours in advance and arrival at the final destination less than 4 hours late.
  • If the airline has informed of the cancellation less than 7 days prior to the scheduled departure time and an alternative flight has been offered with departure no more than 1 hour in advance and arrival at final destination less than 2 hours late.

2. Flight delay

2.1. Delay of less than 2 hours

There is no obligation to provide assistance to the passenger by the airline.

2.2. Delay of 2 hours or more

a. Assistance

In case of delay of 2 hours or more on flights of 1,500 km, 3 hours or more on intra-Community flights of more than 1,500 km and all flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km or 4 hours or more on all other flights the airline is obliged to assist the passenger by offering free of charge:

Sufficient food and refreshments during the waiting time.
Two telephone calls, telex or fax messages or e-mails.
Hotel accommodation and transportation between hotel and airport in case the scheduled departure is at least the following day.

b. Compensation

If the delay is equal to or more than 3 hours on arrival at the final destination the passenger is entitled, in addition to the assistance of the previous point, to the compensation established in case of flight cancellation, i.e. to be compensated according to the distance of the flight (the last destination to which the passenger will arrive late will be taken as a reference):

  • 250 € for flights up to 1,500 km.
  • 400 for all intra-Community flights over 1,500 km and for all other flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km.
  • 600 for all other flights.

The compensation may be reduced to 50% in the same cases described in the cancellation section above.

Compensation will not be paid if the airline can prove that the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

c. Refund

The passenger is entitled to reimbursement of the ticket within 7 days when the delay is at least 5 hours and the passenger decides not to travel.

3. Denied boarding

Denied boarding is when the airline does not allow a passenger to fly when all documentation is in order.

3.1. Voluntary waiver of reservation:

Before proceeding to deny boarding the airline must ask for volunteers who agree to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits to be agreed between the passenger and the airline.

The passenger who accepts will also be entitled to choose from the following options:

  • Refund of the ticket within 7 days.
  • Driving to the final destination under comparable transport conditions, as fast as possible.
  • The carriage to the final destination under comparable transport conditions at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to seat availability.

3.2. Compulsory waiver of the reservation:

Only when the number of volunteers is not sufficient the airline may deny boarding to the passenger against his will, in this case the airline is obliged to immediately provide the passenger with the following assistance:

  • Sufficient food and refreshments during the waiting time.
  • Two telephone calls, telex or fax messages or e-mails.
  • Hotel accommodation and transportation between hotel and airport in case the scheduled departure is at least the following day.

In addition, the airline is obliged to offer the passenger the following options:

  • Refund of the ticket within 7 days.
  • Driving to the final destination under comparable transport conditions, as fast as possible.
  • Re-routing to the final destination under comparable transport conditions at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to seat availability.

The passenger is also entitled to be compensated according to the distance of the flight (the last destination at which the passenger will arrive late will be taken as a reference):

  • 250€ for flights up to 1,500 km.
  • 400 for all intra-Community flights over 1,500 km and for all other flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km.
  • 600 for all other flights.

4. Change of class

The passenger is entitled to reimbursement of the following amounts within 7 days:

  • 30% of the passenger's ticket price for all flights of 1,500 km or less, or.
  • 50% of the ticket price for all intra-Community flights over 1,500 km, except flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas territories, and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km, or
  • 75% of the ticket price for all flights not included in the above cases, including flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas territories.

B) Rights granted to air passengers on all other flights (flights not originating in the EU or operated by a Community airline departing from a third country to a Community country), in accordance with the Montreal Convention:

In the event of delay, denied boarding or cancellation of the flight the passenger is entitled to compensation from the airline for damages caused by the delay in arrival.

The airline's liability is limited to a maximum of 4,694 SDRs per passenger (the Special Drawing Right is a unit defined by the International Monetary Fund. Its equivalence in Euros can be found on the Bank of Spain website).

Such liability shall cease if the airline proves that it and its servants and agents took all measures that were reasonably necessary to avoid the damage or that it was impossible for it and others to take such measures.

C) Rights of air passengers in case of baggage incidents, according to the Montreal Convention.

In the event of any incident with checked baggage, the passenger must first complete the Baggage Irregularity Report (PIR) at the airline counter before leaving the airport.

Each airline has its own compensation policy for baggage incidents, therefore, the policy of the airline operating the flight must be consulted in each case in order to know the corresponding compensation.

Currently, the Montreal Convention establishes a maximum liability limit of 1,131 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per passenger, unless a special declaration of value is made.

1. Damage to baggage

Once the PIR has been made, the passenger must file the corresponding claim with the airline company in writing within a maximum period of 7 days from the delivery of the baggage.

The damage must occur from the time the baggage is delivered to the airline, at the time of check-in, until it is picked up by the passenger.

2. Delay in baggage delivery

Once the PIR has been made, the passenger must file the corresponding claim with the airline within a maximum period of 21 days from the delivery of the baggage.

In the event that the passenger must purchase essential goods, it is essential to keep all original receipts or invoices in order to request reimbursement from the airline once the baggage has been delivered.

3. Loss of baggage

Delay in delivery of baggage for more than 21 days is considered lost baggage for compensation purposes.

In the event that the airline does not compensate the passenger for baggage incidents the passenger has a maximum period of 2 years to claim via the courts.

Documentation:

Reglamento 261-2004

Convenio de Montreal

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