Europe’s Air Passenger Rights For The European Union

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03/04/2009 – Europe’s Air Passenger Rights For The European Union

In the past I have discussed the important need for a Passengers Bill of Rights in the United States. While organizations such as aggressively pursue this legislation, there is a model that can be followed in the United States.

The European Commission (EC) established a common set of rules related to compensation and assistance of passengers in the event of cancellations, long delays and denied boarding, on the 11th of February 2004. The European Commission’s “Air Passenger Rights” is effective, proactive and most of all publicly posted or available for review in all airports within the European Union.

A short version of the EC’s Air Passenger Rights include the following:

-Denied Boarding
Passengers may be entitled to compensation depending on flight distance and the delayed incurred due to passenger rerouting. Compensation is as follows:
(a) €250 for all flights of 1500 kilometers or less;
(b) €400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometers, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers;
(c) €600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b).

-Long Delays
Passengers are also entitled to the following from their airline during a long delay
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.

Financial compensation for a cancelled flight is due unless the airline has informed passengers of the flights’ cancellation 14 days prior to the flight, or if the passengers have been rerouted close to their original travel times. Airlines are exempt from compensation should the cancellation be due to extraordinary circumstances.

To read the EC Transport’s Air Passenger Rights page click here:

To read the full rules related to the EC’s Air Passengers Rights click here:

For a good break down of the EC’s Air Passenger Rights, visit the web page of the EC’s Commissions for Consumer Affairs here:

Below are two image files of the EC’s Air Passenger Rights pamphlet found in most European Union airports. Traveling in Europe, to Europe or through Europe? Consider downloading them and keeping them in your bag.

Hopefully someday we will see a definitive set of airline passengers rights in the United States.

Happy Flying!
–Click Images Below To Enlarge–


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