As the Title suggests this is a regulation which establishes common rules on compensation and assistance given to passengers in the rare event of denied boarding, flight cancellations, or long delays of flights.
The above regulation repealed the Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 and went into effect on 18 February 2005.
It fully sets out and establishes the entitlements of air passengers when a flight that they intend to travel on is delayed and/or cancelled, or when they are deprived of boarding onto such a flight due to either over-booking or when the airlines are unable to accommodate them in the class they had booked. If your flight is delayed, you could be entitled to damages or a refund so don’t be left out of pocket and make sure you know your rights in this respect. You the travelling consumer are fully protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation if you’re flying with an EU based airline, or a non-EU airline flying from an EU airport.
How does it all this work in Practice
Problems with delays
Each and every European consumer intending to take holiday (which require travelling to your destination by aircraft) can suffer from delays and/or cancellations. Each and every year consumer’s holidays can start badly as a direct result of delays and/or cancellations and therefore to address the issue the EU brought in particular regulations so that those who cause the problems are (by law) required to pay the travelling consumer compensation.
Denied Boarding Regulation
As stated if you’re travelling with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport, then you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation.
The regulation states that the airline has an obligation to offer you assistance if your flight materially delay or is expected to go beyond a certain point.
If you’re travelling with a non-EU based airline flying and from a non-EU destination, the airline doesn’t have the same duty to look after you and or compensate you.
Check the airline’s Condition of Carriage to see what compensation you are entitled to if in doubt.
The Denied Boarding Regulation applies if:
you have a confirmed booking.
you checked in on time, or if no check-in time was given, then at least 45 minutes before your flight was scheduled to depart.
you’re departing from an EU airport, or from a non-EU airport and flying into an EU airport on a ‘community carrier’ (an airline with its headquarters and main place of business within the EU. This includes all European discount and no-frills airlines).
You’re not entitled to compensation if the delay was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as severe weather
You may be entitled to compensation if your delay was more than two hours and you were travelling more than 932 miles.
Your Entitlement for Flight Delays
Under the Denied Boarding Regulation, what you’re entitled to will depend upon the length of your delay and the length of your anticipated flight mileage.
You’re fully entitled to all meals, refreshments, phone calls and emails if one of the following occurs.
A flight under 932 miles (for example, London to Venice) is delayed for at least two hours.
A flight within the EU that is more than 932 miles (for example, London to Rome) is delayed by at least three hours.
A flight that isn’t within the EU but is between 932 and 2,174 miles is delayed for at least three hours
Any other flight delayed for at least three hours.
Providing you qualify in one of the above categories you are entitled to two free phone calls, faxes or emails
Free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay.
Free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required.
You can also choose not to travel, and get a refund of your ticket cost if the delay lasts for five hours or more (but the flight is not cancelled).
Am I entitled to compensation?
Compensation for delayed flights is dependent on the reason for the delay.
If the airline can prove that the delay was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’, then no compensation is payable.
Extraordinary circumstances are situations beyond the control of the airline, for example, security risk, political instability or severe weather that makes flying dangerous. Strikes are also usually included in this category.
Although you are not entitled to financial compensation for flight delays in these circumstances, you are fully entitled to the meals, refreshments, accommodation and hotel transfers depending on the length of your flight and delay.
It’s worth challenging and engaging with your airline if you don’t agree that there were extraordinary circumstances.
For example, if you are told you can’t fly due to weather conditions, but other flights are departing. Airlines may stretch the truth as to the definition of extraordinary circumstances further than they should or are permitted to do.
If you still feel aggrieved by the airline or its rejection, then you should contact the Civil Aviation Authority and seek their assistance. They may be able to intervene on your behalf.
Note the Civil Aviation Authority can only help you if the flight was cancelled or delayed within the UK.
If your flight was cancelled or delayed outside the UK, you will need to complain to the airline regulator in the country the delay occurred in.
Flight delay compensation table
Compensation for delay
|Flight distance||How late arriving||Entitlement|
|Up to 1,500km (932 miles)||More than 3 hours||€250|
|Any flight within the EU over 1,500km (932 miles) or any other flight between 1,500km-3,500 km (2,175 miles)||More than 3 hours||€400|
|More than 3,500km (2,175 miles)||Between 3-4 hours||€300|
|More than 3,500km (2,175 miles)||More than 4 hours||€600|
Court Ruling on Compensation
This right to compensation is not set out specifically by the Denied Boarding Regulation but was upheld by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 23 October 2012.
The 2012 ruling upheld an earlier ECJ decision of 19 November 2009 and stated that the Denied Boarding Regulation must be interpreted as giving passengers the right to compensation for delays of three or more hours.
Three British companies – British Airways, Easy-Jet and Tui Travel – had disputed the 2009 decision and claims from UK customers were put on hold, meaning airlines could not be compelled to pay compensation for delays.
Cases that were on hold should now be dealt with, and airlines should no longer argue they do not have to pay out if you claim for compensation after a flight delay of three or more hours.
However, they can still argue that they do not have to pay compensation as a result of extraordinary circumstances in the same way they can with cancelled flights.
In the first test case since the 2012 ECJ decision, in January 2013, Stoke-on-Trent county court ruled that Thomas Cook is required to pay compensation to passengers who, in 2009, had experienced a 22-hour delay caused by a mechanical fault.
November 2014 Update
A court ruling in June 2014 against airline Jet2 helped clarify the situation for extraordinary circumstances – with a consumer winning a case after a flight delay was caused by faulty wiring. The airline claimed this was an extraordinary circumstance.
Jet2 applied to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court. However, the appeal has been rejected.
Many airlines had been telling passengers, who made claims after technical issues delayed or cancelled their flight that a decision on paying compensation was on hold until this ruling.
The hold on these claims has now been lifted, potentially opening the floodgates for many more new claims.
Smartphone app for passenger rights
The European Commission has launched an app for passengers travelling in the EU.
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Last modified: 24th October 2017