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Flight Delay

The Regulation introduces a three-tier system:

1-in the event of long delays (two hours or more, depending on the distance of the flight), passengers must in every case be offered free meals and refreshments plus two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails;

2-if the time of departure is deferred until the next day, passengers must also be offered hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation;

3-when the delay is five hours or longer, passengers may opt for reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure.

Important rulings:

The 4 September, 2014 the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on a definition for arriving at a destination. Articles 2, 5 and 7 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91, must be interpreted as meaning that the concept of ‘arrival time’, which is used to determine the length of the delay to which passengers on a flight have been subject, refers to the time at which at least one of the doors of the aircraft is opened, the assumption being that, at that moment, the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft.

In a ruling, November 2009, the Court of Justice of the European Union changed the interpretation of Regulation (EC) 261/2004 regarding flight delays, to include cash compensation similar to flight cancellations if the delay is three hours or longer at the destination. However, this unless the airline can prove that the delay was caused by ‘extraordinary’ circumstances. Before the ruling cash compensation was only rewarded for cancelled flights but not for delays.Flight delays prior to the ruling gave the passenger the right to assistance free of charge as mentioned above. These rights still apply to the air passengers when faced with a delay.

This Regulation is applicable to all worldwide airlines when departure takes place within the EU and, in the case of flights from outside the EU to a destination within the EU, only to airlines licensed in a Member State of the EU.

 

Article 6 Delay

  1. 1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure:
    (a) for two hours or more in the case of flights of 1500 kilometres or less; or
    (b) for three hours or more in the case of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and of all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; or
    (c) for four hours or more in the case of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),
    passengers shall be offered by the operating air carrier:
    (i) the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2); and
    (ii) when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the day after the time of departure previously announced, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and
    (iii) when the delay is at least five hours, the assistance specified in Article 8(1)(a).
    In any event, the assistance shall be offered within the time limits set out above with respect to each distance bracket.

Article 7 Right to compensation

  1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall receive compensation amounting to:
    (a) EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;
    (b) EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;
    (c) EUR 600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b).
    In determining the distance, the basis shall be the last destination at which the denial of boarding or cancellation will delay the passenger’s arrival after the scheduled time.
    2. When passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination on an alternative flight pursuant to Article 8, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked
    (a) by two hours, in respect of all flights of 1500 kilometres or less; or
    (b) by three hours, in respect of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; or
    (c) by four hours, in respect of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),
    the operating air carrier may reduce the compensation provided for in paragraph 1 by 50 %.
    3. The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.
    4. The distances given in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be measured by the great circle route method.

Article 8 Right to reimbursement or re-routing

  1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:
    (a) – reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan, together with, when relevant,
    – a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;
    (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or
    (c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.
    2. Paragraph 1(a) shall also apply to passengers whose flights form part of a package, except for the right to reimbursement where such right arises under Directive 90/314/EEC.
    3. When, in the case where a town, city or region is served by several airports, an operating air carrier offers a passenger a flight to an airport alternative to that for which the booking was made, the operating air carrier shall bear the cost of transferring the passenger from that alternative airport either to that for which the booking was made, or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.

Article 9 Right to care

  1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered free of charge:
    (a) meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
    (b) hotel accommodation in cases
    – where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary, or
    – where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary;
    (c) transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other).
    2. In addition, passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails.
    3. In applying this Article, the operating air carrier shall pay particular attention to the needs of persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them, as well as to the needs of unaccompanied children.

Article 14 Obligation to inform passengers of their rights

  1. The operating air carrier shall ensure that at check-in a clearly legible notice containing the following text is displayed in a manner clearly visible to passengers: “If you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least two hours, ask at the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance”.
    2. An operating air carrier denying boarding or cancelling a flight shall provide each passenger affected with a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance in line with this Regulation. It shall also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least two hours with an equivalent notice. The contact details of the national designated body referred to in Article 16 shall also be given to the passenger in written form.
    3. In respect of blind and visually impaired persons, the provisions of this Article shall be applied using appropriate alternative means.

Baggage Claims

The new Montreal Convention of 1999 introduced a uniform legal framework to govern air carrier liability in the event of damage caused to passengers, baggage or goods during international journeys.

At Community level, and to ensure a uniform system, Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 imposes unlimited liability on Community air carriers in the event of death or injury to passengers. This Regulation was amended by Regulation (EC) No 889/2002, which applied the rules of the Montreal Convention to all flights, whether domestic or international, operated by Community air carriers.

The new agreement introduces a new comprehensive legal framework, the most important contributions of which are as follows:

  • uniform liability limits for loss of, damage to, or destruction of, baggage and for damage occasioned by delay, which apply to all travel on Community carriers, will ensure simple and clear rules for both passengers and airlines and enable passengers to recognise when additional insurance is necessary.
  • ‘baggage’, unless otherwise specified, shall mean both checked and unchecked baggage with the meaning of Article 17(4) of the Montreal Convention;
  • the liability of a Community air carrier in respect of passengers and their baggage shall be governed by all provisions of the Montreal Convention relevant to such liability.
  • the supplementary sum which, in accordance with Article 22(2) of the Montreal Convention, may be demanded by a Community air carrier when a passenger makes a special declaration of interest in delivery of their baggage at destination, shall be based on a tariff which is related to the additional costs involved in transporting and insuring the baggage concerned over and above those for baggage valued at or below the liability limit. The tariff shall be made available to passengers on request.
  • all air carriers shall, when selling carriage by air in the Community, ensure that a summary of the main provisions governing liability for passengers and their baggage, including deadlines for filing an action for compensation and the possibility of making a special declaration for baggage, is made available to passengers at all points of sale, including sale by telephone and via the Internet.
  • the applicable limit for that flight on the carrier’s liability in respect of destruction, loss of or damage to baggage and a warning that baggage greater in value than this figure should be brought to the airline’s attention at check-in or fully insured by the passenger prior to travel.

Higher limits for baggage

A passenger can benefit from a higher liability limit by making a special declaration at the latest at check-in and by paying a supplementary fee.

Complaints on baggage

If the baggage is damaged, delayed, lost or destroyed, the passenger must write and complain to the air carrier as soon as possible. In the case of damage to checked baggage, the passenger must write and complain within seven days, and in the case of delay within 21 days, in both cases from the date on which the baggage was placed at the passenger’s disposal.

Time limit for action

Any action in court to claim damages must be brought within two years from the date of arrival of the aircraft, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived.

Package travel

A package requires the following two conditions to be met: the service provided must cover a period of more than twenty-four hours and must be sold at an inclusive price. Any brochure made available to the consumer must indicate clearly and accurately:

  • the price;
  • the destination,
  • the itinerary and the means of transport used;
  • the type of accommodation;
  • the meal plan;
  • the passport and visa requirements;
  • the health formalities;
  • the timetable for payment;
  • the deadline for informing the consumer in the event of cancellation.

The information contained in the brochure is binding on the organiser. Before the contract is concluded, the organiser is required to provide, in writing, certain information on passports, visas (periods for obtaining them) and health formalities.

Before the start of the journey, the organiser must supply in writing:

  • the times and places of intermediate stops and transport connections as well as details of the place to be occupied by the traveller;
  • the name, address and telephone number of the organiser’s local representative or, failing that, an emergency telephone number;
  • certain additional details in the case of journeys involving minors;
  • information on optional contracts covering insurance or assistance.

The terms laid down by the Directive are to be set out in writing in the contract. The consumer may transfer his or her booking to another person. The prices stipulated in the contract may not be changed unless the contract expressly provides for the possibility. In such a case, only variations in transportation costs, dues, taxes or fees chargeable and exchange rates may be reflected in the price. If the organiser alters the contract significantly, the consumer may either withdraw from the contract without penalty or accept a rider to the contract.

If the consumer withdraws from the contract or if the organiser cancels the package, the consumer is entitled either to take an alternative package or to be reimbursed the sums paid. Where appropriate, the consumer is entitled to be compensated for non-performance of the contract.

The organiser is responsible for the failure to perform or the improper performance of the contract, except where the consumer is at fault or for reasons of force majeure.

Packing your liquids

Air passengers can only take liquids with them in individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100 milliliters each. These containers should be packed in one transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of not more than one litre capacity per passenger. Passengers are only allowed bringing liquids in small quantities or if these are really needed during the journey for example medicines or baby food. All other liquids have to be packed in the checked baggage.

These rules apply to all passengers departing from airports in the EU whatever their destination. At security checkpoints, you and your hand luggage must be checked for liquids in addition to other prohibited articles.

However, the new rules do not limit the liquids that you can buy at shops located beyond the point where you show your boarding pass or on board an aircraft operated by an EU airline. The new rules apply from Monday, 6 November 2006 at all airports in the EU and in Norway, Iceland and
Switzerland until further notice.

So what are considered liquids?

Liquids include :

  • water and other drinks, soups, syrups
  • creams, lotions and oils
  • perfumes
  • sprays
  • gels, including hair and shower gels
  • contents of pressurised containers, including shaving foam, other foams and deodorants
  • pastes, including toothpaste
  • liquid-solid mixtures
  • mascara
  • any other item of similar consistency

When you are packing

You are only allowed to take small quantities of liquids in your hand luggage. These liquids must be in individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100 millilitres each. You must pack these containers in one transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of not more than one litre capacity per passenger.

Airport security

To help screeners detect liquids, you must :

  • present all liquids carried to the screeners at security checkpoints for examination;
  • take off your jacket and/or coat, belt etc. They will be screened separately whilst you are screened;
  • remove laptop computers and other large electrical devices from your hand luggage. They will be screened separately whilst you are screened.

You can still

  • pack liquids in bags that you check in – the new rules only affect hand luggage;
  • carry in your hand luggage medicines and dietary requirements, including baby foods, for use during the trip. You may be asked for proof that they are needed;
  • buy liquids such as drinks and perfumes either in an EU airport shop when located beyond the:
    • point where you show your boarding pass or on board an aircraft operated by an EU airline.
    • If they are sold in a special sealed bag, do not open it before you are screened – otherwise the contents may be confiscated at the checkpoint. (If you transfer at an EU airport, do not open the bag before screening at your airport of transfer, or at the last one if you transfer more than once).

All these liquids are additional to the quantities in the resealable plastic bag mentioned above.

If you have any doubts, please ask your airline or travel agent in advance of travel.

Duty free liquids purchased from any airport or airline may be carried as hand luggage as long as the item and the receipt remain sealed inside the security bag (with a red border) provided at the time of purchase. You may not open the security bag until arrival at your final destination. However, security officers may need to open the bag and the bottles for screening. If this happens, and you have a connecting flight at another airport, tell the security officer so the liquids can be re-sealed in a new security bag.

Any sharp objects that might be used as weapons are not allowed in the aircraft cabin. These could be everyday objects such as corkscrews knives and scissors of a certain size, which should be packed in your hold luggage.

Limits on the size of cabin baggage and the number of items you are allowed to take on board are set by the airlines so check with your airline before you travel.

Explosives and inflammable items – fireworks or aerosol spray paint for example, and other inflammable and toxic substances such as acids – are prohibited on flights. They may not be carried in either cabin or checked baggage.

No weapons of any kind are allowed on board the aircraft.

Rights of Air Passengers With Reduced Mobility

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 is part of a general plan to reinforce passenger rights on all forms of transport. Persons placed at a disadvantage by reduced mobility, whether caused by disability, age or another factor, should have opportunities for air travel comparable to those of other citizens. The Regulation on the rights of persons with reduced mobility when using air transport prohibits operators from refusing reservation or boarding to persons because of their disability*.

There are certain exceptions and derogations, however, particularly for justified safety reasons established by law. An air carrier may refuse to accept a reservation from or to embark a person with reduced mobility or request that a travelling person with reduced mobility must be accompanied by another person, in order to meet applicable safety requirements duly established by law or if the size of the aircraft makes it physically impossible to embark that person.

Within five working days of refusing a reservation or embarkation or requiring a person with reduced mobility to be accompanied, the air carrier must inform in writing the person concerned of its reasons for doing so.

Persons with reduced mobility are entitled to receive assistance free of charge in airports (on departure, arrival and during transit) and on board aircrafts (for example, the transport of wheelchairs and the carriage of guide dogs for the blind). The managing bodies of airports should provide this assistance and fund the services by levying charges on airlines.

*”Disabled person” or “person with reduced mobility”: any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and the adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service made available to all passengers.

Up & down grading

  1. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class higher than that for which the ticket was purchased, it may not request any supplementary payment.
    2. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), reimburse

(a) 30 % of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less, or

(b) 50 % of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, except flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres, or

(c) 75 % of the price of the ticket for all flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments.

Air carrier liability in case of accidents

Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 defines and harmonises the obligations of Community air carriers as regards the nature and limits of their liability in the event of accidents to passengers. The Regulation applies to damage sustained in the event of death, wounding or any other bodily injury to a passenger if the accident in question took place on board an aircraft or during any of the embarking or disembarking operations. The liability of an air carrier (air transport undertaking) for damage sustained by a passenger or a passenger’s baggage in the event of an accident cannot be subject to any financial limit defined by law, convention or contract. The carrier can be discharged of his liability only by proving that the damage was caused by the negligence of the injured or deceased passenger. The Community air carrier is obliged to pay the victims or those entitled to compensation an advance proportional to the damage sustained not later than 15 days after identification of the victim.

Community air carriers must inform passengers of the provisions relating to their liability in the event of accident and the compensation of victims, in particular by including them in the conditions of carriage.

Regulation (EC) No 889/2002 brings the Community arrangements fully into line with the new international rules (Montreal Convention). The aim is to harmonise liability limits and legal defences in respect of European carriers, irrespective of the route (internal, intra-Community, international) on which the accident occurs. A new Convention unifying certain rules relating to international carriage by air was signed in Montreal on 28 May 1999, setting new global rules on liability in the event of accidents in international air transport. This Convention provides for a regime of unlimited liability in the event of the death or injury of air passengers and lays down a number of additional provisions.

Accordingly, Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 has been amended to bring it into line with the provisions of the Montreal Convention, by setting up a uniform system of air transport liability. The obligation of insurance is to be understood as requiring that a Community air carrier must be insured up to a level that is adequate to ensure that all persons entitled to compensation receive the full amount to which they are entitled in accordance with the Regulation.

Air carriers must provide each passenger with a written indication of:

  • the applicable limit, for the flight in question, on the carrier’s liability in respect of death or injury;
  • the applicable limit, for the flight in question, on the carrier’s liability when baggage is destroyed, lost or damaged;
  • the applicable limit, for the flight in question, on the carrier’s liability in respect of damage occasioned by delay.

Any action in court to claim damages must be brought within two years from the date of arrival of the aircraft, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived.

Source: EUR-Lex

About Zahra Eghbalpoor

Zahra Eghbalpoor
Managing Member, Board of Directors

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