Frequently asked questions about refunds and compensations
- When am I entitled to compensation and/or care?
- What does care involve?
- Is a strike an exceptional circumstance?
- Am I entitled to compensation in the event of exceptional circumstances?
- Can EU compensation be transferred to your company?
- What bank details does a supplier need in the event of compensation?
- My luggage is delayed, damaged or lost. What should I do?
- The EU regulation does not apply to me. What are my rights?
- My flight was delayed or cancelled. What is the deadline for requesting compensation?
- When does my entitlement to compensation of costs expire?
- What evidence does an airline need to be able to handle a claim?
- I have a non-refundable ticket. Am I still entitled to a refund if a flight has been delayed or cancelled?
- What are my rights if an airline changes the flight schedule?
- If I travel on two separate tickets and my flight is delayed or cancelled, does my airline refund the price of a new ticket?
- In the event of denied boarding, delay or cancellation, must I accept a voucher as a means of compensation?
Whether you are entitled to a refund, compensation and/or care depends on a number of factors. For an overview of air passenger rights, please refer to EU-regulation 261/2004. In exceptional circumstances, you will be entitled to care, but not compensation.
In the event of certain delays or cancellations, the airline must offer you care (i.e., food and drink). You are also entitled to two free telephone calls, fax messages or emails. If you need to stay overnight in a hotel due to the delay, the airline must not only arrange this accommodation, but also transport to and from the airport and hotel.
If the airline’s own staff is on strike and the strike was announced in advance, the strike does not constitute force majeure. An airline is deemed to be able to control its policies and its staff. As the strike was announced in advance, the airline can take measures to keep any inconvenience to travellers to a minimum.
However, if the airline’s staff has gone on strike unexpectedly, and no advance notice has been given, this is regarded as an exceptional circumstance.
If other staff (e.g., air traffic controllers) goes on strike, as a result of which your flight cannot get permission to depart; or if all the airport staff has gone on general strike, as a result of which your flight cannot depart, this is regarded as force majeure.
Airlines are not obliged to recompense passengers in the event of exceptional circumstances, such as the following:
- Political instability
- Security issues
- Extremely bad weather conditions
- Strike of air traffic controllers
- Other strikes affecting an airline’s flights
- Technical problems caused by an event beyond the airline’s control.
Any compensation paid under EU regulation 261/2004 may only be paid directly to the passenger. If you would prefer the airline to transfer the compensation to your company’s bank account, you will need to provide the airline with written authorisation. This authorisation, to be drawn up in English, must include the following:
- Your permission for the EU compensation to be transferred directly to your company’s bank account
- The company’s bank details (IBAN, BIC and name of account holder)
- Your signature
Important! Not every airline accepts such an authorisation.
An airline always requires the IBAN, BIC and name of account holder to be able to transfer the money.
Immediately fill in a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) at the airport. You can use this form to file a complaint, have your lost luggage traced or specify the damage incurred. Always ask for a written confirmation or a copy of the PIR form.
If you are flying outside the European Union and the EU regulation does not apply, the Montreal Convention will apply. This convention regulates the airline’s liability for international air transport of passengers. For details about this convention, please refer to the website of the relevant airline.
You can put in a request for compensation up to two years after the date of the flight.
If you book another flight or a hotel room on your own account because of denied boarding, a cancellation or a delay, you lose your entitlement to compensation of the costs for travel or accommodation. The reason for this is that the airline has not been given an opportunity to limit the costs involved.
For the successful handling of your claim, make sure you keep all travel documents and other relevant items, such as receipts, bills and credit card statements. Write down your experiences, such as details of the delay, while they are still fresh in your mind.
I have a non-refundable ticket. Am I still entitled to a refund if a flight has been delayed or cancelled?
If a flight has been delayed or cancelled, or if there is a change in the flight schedule or route (e.g., if a non-stop flight becomes a stopover flight), your non-refundable ticket entitles you to a full refund.
If an airline makes changes to the flight schedule, it will generally be obliged to book you on another flight without additional charge. If the proposed new travel times are not acceptable, you may be entitled to a full refund. Keep in mind that you will probably have to pay a little extra, because ticket prices become higher the closer you get to the date of departure. This means that your refund may not fully cover the expenses of your new airline ticket.
If I travel on two separate tickets and my flight is delayed or cancelled, does my airline refund the price of a new ticket?
No. If two or more separate tickets have been issued for your journey, the airline causing the delay or cancellation will not be responsible for booking your next flight free of charge. You will need to buy a new ticket at your own expense.
In the event of denied boarding, delay or cancellation, must I accept a voucher as a means of compensation?
No. Airlines must pay you in cash, either immediately or after the event.