Table of Contents

Informal dispute resolution for consumers

As a first step, approach your trader’s customer service department – contact details are normally on the trader’s website. Tell them they’ve failed to comply with EU or national law, and ask them to resolve the problem. You can refer them to their obligations, as summarised on this page. It’s always a good idea to back up your claim with evidence (invoice, contract, etc.). If this approach doesn’t work, consider taking the matter further.

Sample story

Customer service teams can often solve your complaint

Jutta, from Germany, was dissatisfied with her internet connection speed, which was lower than that stated in her contract.

She contacted her internet provider to complain, which prompted them to increase their connection speed. Jutta didn’t need to take any further action.

If you and the trader cannot settle your contractual dispute directly, the trader has to inform you about further steps, such as:

  • filing a formal complaint
  • initiating alternative dispute resolution procedures

Contact a consumer organisation or regulatory authority

Consumer organisations in your country can usually also:

  • provide more information on your rights
  • take action to help you enforce them

If you have a problem with a service provider, you can also contact the competent national regulatory authorities. Each sector has its own national regulatory authorities, whose specific remit may vary from country to country. Many regulatory authorities have specific procedures for service providers in their sector and can resolve disputes fairly and quickly.

Find out more about:

European Consumer Centres

Open as an external link

If you have any problems when purchasing goods or services abroad in the EU, Norway or Iceland, contact one of the European Consumer Centres (ECC-net). These centres can:

  • tell you about your rights under EU law and national consumer legislation
  • advise you on possible ways of following up your consumer complaint
  • help you reach an amicable settlement with traders abroad from whom you have purchased goods or services, whether online or face to face
  • redirect you to an appropriate body if the ECC-Net can’t help

European Consumer Centres can help you free of charge if:

  • you have a problem with a trader based in another EU country
  • you have already complained to the trader in writing
  • you are complaining as an individual, not on behalf of a company

Sample story

Sofia, from Portugal, bought a laptop from a Spainish online retailer. Unfortunately, when the laptop arrived she discovered that it didn’t work properly. The trader advised her to send it back to the manufacturer for repair. She did so, but it wasn’t long before she had the same problem again.

Sofia contacted the trader again to ask for a refund, but was told this wouldn’t be considered until the laptop had been repaired 3 times. She decided to contact ECC Portugal for help. The Portuguese office shared the case with its counterpart in Spain, which contacted the trader. Following the intervention of the Spanish ECC, the trader collected the laptop and gave Sofia a full refund of €445.92

If you contact the trader or a European Consumer Centre, as described above, you still have the right to bring a case before a court at a later stage.

Air passenger rights

From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of denied boarding, cancellations or delays to flights from the UK to the EU if your flight was operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier, even if you booked your flight before this date. However, EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if your flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU carrier, unless you have already received compensation or benefits under UK law.

EU means the 27 EU countries, including Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion Island, Mayotte, Saint-Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands (but not the Faeroe Islands). EU rules also apply to flights to and from Iceland , Norway and Switzerland.

Warning

The outbound and return flights are always considered as two separate flights even if they were booked as part of one reservation. In some cases the airline operating the flight (also known as the operating air carrier) may not be the same as the one from which you bought your ticket. In case of any difficulties only the airline which operates the flight can be held responsible. In cases where an airline hires (under a wet lease) an aircraft including crew from another airline, the airline which hires the aircraft has operational responsibility for the flight and is regarded as the operating airline under EU rules (specifically Regulation 261/2004).

What went wrong?

  • Your flight was cancelled
  • Your flight was delayed
  • You were denied boarding
  • Your flight was overbooked
  • Your flight was upgraded or downgraded
  • You missed your connecting flight
  • Your luggage was lost, damaged or delayed

How to claim your rights?

Denied boarding

You may be denied boarding by the airline:

  • For safety, security or health reasons (for example if you did not inform the airline in advance of any severe infectious diseases or allergies) or if you don’t have the correct travel documents (more information on documents you need for travel in Europe)
  • If you didn’t take the outbound flight of a reservation which included a return flight
  • If you didn’t take the other flight(s) included in a reservation with consecutive flights
  • If you don’t have the relevant documentation for your pet when it is travelling with you

If you have presented yourself on time for check-in with a valid flight reservation and travel documentation and you’re denied boarding by the airline due to overbooking or for operational reasons, and you don’t voluntarily give up your seat, you are entitled to:

  • compensation
  • the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking at a later stage and
  • assistance

Travelling from the UK to an EU country

From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of denied boarding, cancellations or delays to flights from the UK to the EU if your flight was operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier, even if you booked your flight before this date. However, EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if your flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU carrier, unless you have already received compensation or benefits under UK law.

Warning

A printed or electronic notice informing you of your EU air passenger rights must be clearly displayed at the airport check-in desk, at check-in kiosks and on-line. If you were denied boarding, your flight was cancelled, you experienced a delay of more than 2 hours at departure or you arrive with a long delay at your final destination, the airline must give you a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance.

Cancelled flight

Cancellation occurs when:

  • your original flight schedule is abandoned and you are transferred to another scheduled flight
  • the aircraft took off but, was forced to return to the airport of departure and you were transferred to another flight
  • your flight arrives at an airport which is not the final destination indicated on your ticket, unless:
    • You accepted re-routing (under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity) to the airport of your original final destination or to any other destination agreed by you. In this case it is considered as a delay and not a cancellation.
    • The airport of arrival and the airport of the original final destination serve the same town, city or region. In this case it is considered as a delay and not a cancellation.

    If your flight is cancelled you have the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing or return.

    You are also entitled to assistance at the airport.

    If you were informed of the cancellation less than 14 days prior to the scheduled departure date, you have a right to compensation. The airline has the obligation to prove if and when you were personally informed that the flight was cancelled. If this is not the case you can contact your national authority for further assistance.

    However, compensation is not due if the carrier can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. The airline has to prove this by providing, for example, extracts from logbooks or incident reports. The air carrier should give this evidence to the relevant national enforcement body as well as to the passengers concerned in line with national provisions on access to documents.

    Travelling from the UK to an EU country

    From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of denied boarding, cancellations or delays to flights from the UK to the EU if your flight was operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier, even if you booked your flight before this date. However, EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if your flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU carrier, unless you have already received compensation or benefits under UK law.

    Warning

    A printed or electronic notice informing you of your EU air passenger rights must be clearly displayed at the airport check-in desk, at check-in kiosks and on-line. If you were denied boarding, your flight was cancelled, you experienced a delay of more than 2 hours at departure or you arrive with a long delay at your final destination, the airline must give you a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance.

    Delay

    If your flight is delayed at departure, you have the right to assistance, to reimbursement and a return flight, depending on the duration of the delay and the distance of the flight.

    If you arrived at your final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, you are entitled to compensation, unless the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances. The airline has to prove this by providing, for example, extracts from logbooks or incident reports. The air carrier should give this evidence to the relevant national enforcement body as well as to the passengers concerned in line with national provisions on access to documents.

    Travelling from the UK to an EU country

    From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of denied boarding, cancellations or delays to flights from the UK to the EU if your flight was operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier, even if you booked your flight before this date. However, EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if your flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU carrier, unless you have already received compensation or benefits under UK law.

    Warning

    A printed or electronic notice informing you of your EU air passenger rights must be clearly displayed at the airport check-in desk, at check-in kiosks and on-line. If you were denied boarding, your flight was cancelled, you experienced a delay of more than 2 hours at departure or you arrive with a long delay at your final destination, the airline must give you a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance.

    Your flight was overbooked

    If you have presented yourself on time for the check-in with a valid flight reservation and travel documentation and you’re denied boarding due to overbooking or for operational reasons, and you don’t voluntarily give up your seat, you are entitled to:

    • compensation
    • the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking at a later stage and
    • assistance from the airline

    Travelling from the UK to an EU country

    From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of denied boarding, cancellations or delays to flights from the UK to the EU if your flight was operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier, even if you booked your flight before this date. However, EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if your flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU carrier, unless you have already received compensation or benefits under UK law.

    Warning

    A printed or electronic notice informing you of your EU air passenger rights must be clearly displayed at the airport check-in desk, at check-in kiosks and on-line. If you were denied boarding, your flight was cancelled, you experienced a delay of more than 2 hours at departure or you arrive with a long delay at your final destination, the airline must give you a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance.

    Upgrading or downgrading

    If you are upgraded, the airline can’t request any additional payment.

    If you are downgraded, you are entitled to reimbursement of a percentage of the price of your ticket, depending on the flight distance as follows:

    a) 30% – flights of 1 500 km or less

    b) 50% – flights within the EU of more than 1 500 km (except flights between the EU and French overseas departments), and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km

    c) 75% – flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the EU and French overseas departments.

    If you have 2 or more connecting flights included in a single ticket, you can only be reimbursed for the flight which was downgraded and not for the entire journey. The reimbursement should be paid within 7 days.

    Travelling from the UK to an EU country

    From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of denied boarding, cancellations or delays to flights from the UK to the EU if your flight was operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier, even if you booked your flight before this date. However, EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if your flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU carrier, unless you have already received compensation or benefits under UK law.

    You missed your connecting flight

    Connecting flights are journeys where you have to take more than one flight to get to your final destination.

    If you miss a connecting flight, and arrive at your final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, you are entitled to compensation. This compensation is calculated according to the length of the delay and the distance to your final destination.

    You have a right to compensation if:

    • your flights were booked as part of a single reservation and
    • EU air passenger rights applyand
    • the delay to your arrival time was not caused by extraordinary circumstances

    Travelling from the UK to an EU country

    From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of denied boarding, cancellations or delays to flights from the UK to the EU if your flight was operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier, even if you booked your flight before this date. However, EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if your flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU carrier, unless you have already received compensation or benefits under UK law.

    Warning

    You are not entitled to compensation if you miss your connecting flight due to delays at security checks or if you did not respect the boarding time of your flight at the airport of transfer.

    Lost, damaged or delayed luggage

    Checked-in luggage

    If your checked-in luggage is lost, damaged or delayed, the airline is liable and you’re entitled to compensation up to an amount of approximately EUR 1 300. However if the damage was caused by an inherent defect in the baggage itself, you’re not entitled to any compensation.

    Hand luggage

    If your hand luggage is damaged the airline is liable if it was responsible for the damage.

    Travel insurance

    To ensure you have sufficient coverage when travelling with expensive items it’s advisable to take out private insurance. If you do not wish to do so you can for a fee request a higher compensation limit (in excess of EUR 1 300) from the airline you are travelling with. This must be done in advance and at the latest when you check-in.

    How to complain

    If you want to file a claim for lost or damaged luggage, you should do it in writing to the airline within 7 days, or within 21 days of receiving your luggage if it was delayed. There is no standard EU-wide form.

    Compensation – denied boarding

    1 500 km or less

    More than 1 500 km within the EU and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km

    More than 3 500 km

    If you arrived on time for check‑in, you should always receive compensation if you’re denied boarding. The only exception is if there were reasonable grounds to deny you boarding, such as health, safety or security concerns. Or if you did not have the required travel documents.

    Even in cases where such grounds exist, airlines might still offer you compensation depending on the specific terms and conditions attached to your ticket.

    Connecting flight – one reservation with a single check-in

    If you are denied boarding because the airline operating the connecting flight deemed that you would arrive too late to board this flight (as your first flight was delayed) compensation is due.

    Warning

    If the airline has offered you re-routing and you reach your final destination with a delay of 2, 3 or 4 hours the compensation may be reduced by 50%.

    Compensation – cancellation

    1 500 km or less

    More than 1 500 km within the EU and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km

    More than 3 500 km

    If your flight is cancelled, the airline must offer you, on a one off basis, a choice between:

    1. the reimbursement of your ticket and, if you have a connecting flight, a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity
    2. re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or,
    3. re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.

    As soon as you have chosen one of these three options, you no longer have rights in relation to the other two options. However, the airline carrier may still have to provide compensation

    • if you choose to have your ticket reimbursed – the compensation will depend on the type of flight
    • if you choose re-routing – compensation will depend on the type of flight and the delay in reaching your final destination, past the original scheduled arrival time.

    You’re not entitled to compensation:

    • if you are informed more than 14 days in advance
    • if you are informed between 2 weeks and 7 days before the scheduled departure and you are offered re-routing which would allow you:
      • to depart no more than 2 hours before the original scheduled time of departure and
      • to reach your final destination less than 4 hoursafter the original scheduled time of arrival
      • if you are informed less than 7 days before the scheduled departure and are offered re-routing which would allow you:
        • to depart no more than 1 hour before the original scheduled time of departure and
        • to reach your final destination less than 2 hours after the original scheduled time of arrival.

        Warning

        If the airline has offered you re-routing and you reach your final destination with a delay of 2, 3 or 4 hours the compensation may be reduced by 50%.

        A printed or electronic notice informing you of your EU air passenger rights must be clearly displayed at the airport check-in desk, at check-in kiosks and on-line. If you were denied boarding, your flight was cancelled, you experienced a delay of more than 2 hours at departure or you arrive with a long delay at your final destination, the airline must give you a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance.

        You are not entitled to compensation in case of extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

        Compensation – delay at arrival

        1 500 km or less

        More than 1 500 km within the EU and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km

        More than 3 500 km

        • If you reach your final destination with a delay of 3 hours or more you are entitled to compensation if the delay is not caused by extraordinary circumstances.
        • If you miss a connecting flight travelling within the EU or outside the EU on a flight originating from an EU country, you should be entitled to compensation, if you arrive at your final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours. It is not relevant if the carrier operating the connecting flights is an EU or non-EU airline.
        • If you depart from a non-EU country to your final destination in an EU country, with connecting flights operated successively by non-EU and EU airlines or by EU airlines only, only the flights operated by EU airlines are taken into consideration for the right to compensation in case of a long delay on arrival at the final destination.
        • You are not entitled to compensation if you miss connecting flights due to delays at security checks or if you did not respect the boarding time of your flight at the airport of transfer.
        • If you accept a flight to a different airport from the one in the original booking and it arrives late, you’re entitled to compensation. The time of arrival used for calculating the delay is the time of arrival at the airport mentioned in the original booking or the destination agreed upon with the airline. Transport costs between the alternative airport and the one in the original booking or agreed destination should be borne by the airline.

        Warning

        If the airline has offered you re-routing and you reach your final destination with a delay of 2, 3 or 4 hours, your compensation may be reduced by 50%.

        Compensation – denied boarding due to overbooking

        1 500 km or less

        More than 1 500 km within the EU and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km

        More than 3 500 km

        You should always receive compensation if you’re denied boarding.

        Connecting flight – one reservation with a single check-in.

        If you are denied boarding because the airline operating the connecting flight deemed that you would arrive too late to board this flight (as your first flight was delayed) compensation is due.

        Warning

        If the airline has offered you re-routing and you reach your final destination with a delay of 2, 3 or 4 hours, your compensation may be reduced by 50%.

        Assistance in the event of denied boarding

        Airlines should provide assistance free of charge while you wait. In the event of travel disruption, you should make yourself known to the airline, to avoid a situation where you have to make your own arrangements. Airlines should also ensure, where available, that accommodation is accessible for people with disabilities and their service dogs. The assistance to be provided includes:

        • Refreshments
        • Food
        • Accommodation (if you are rebooked to travel the next day)
        • Transport to your accommodation and return to the airport
        • 2 telephone calls, telex, fax messages or emails

        If assistance is not offered and you paid for any of the above items out of your own pocket, the airline should reimburse you, provided the expenses were necessary, reasonable and appropriate. You should keep all receipts for this purpose. You only have the right to assistance as long as you have to wait for re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or a return flight.

        In exceptional cases, the airline may decide to limit or decline assistance if it would cause further delay to passengers waiting for an alternative or a delayed flight.

        Warning

        Unless the terms and conditions of your ticket specify otherwise, you are not entitled to assistance if:

        • you were denied boarding on reasonable health, safety or security grounds
        • you did not have the required travel documents

        Assistance in the event of cancellation

        Airlines should offer you and provide assistance free of charge while you wait. In the event of travel disruption, you should make yourself known to the airline, to avoid a situation where you have to make your own arrangements. Airlines should also ensure, where available, that accommodation is accessible for people with disabilities and their service dogs. The assistance to be provided includes:

        • Refreshments
        • Food
        • Accommodation (if you are rebooked to travel the next day)
        • Transport to your accommodation and return to the airport
        • 2 telephone calls, telex, fax messages or emails

        If assistance is not offered and you paid for your own meals and refreshments etc., the airline should reimburse you, provided the expenses were necessary, reasonable and appropriate. You should keep all receipts for this purpose. You only have the right to assistance as long as you have to wait for re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or a return flight.

        In exceptional cases, the airline may decide to limit or decline assistance if it would cause further delay to passengers waiting for an alternative or a delayed flight.

        Assistance in the event of delay at departure

        If an airline expects that your flight will be delayed beyond the scheduled departure time, you are entitled to meals and refreshments, in proportion to the waiting time, and 2 free telephone calls, emails or faxes. The point at which you are entitled to these rights depends on the length of the delay and distance of your flight as follows:

        • a delay of two hours or more for flights of 1,500km or less
        • a delay of three hours or more for intra-Community flights of more than 1,500km and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,000km
        • a delay of four hours or more for all other flights

        Where the new expected departure time is at least the day after the initially scheduled departure time, you are entitled to hotel accommodation and transport to and from the airport and your accommodation (if you need to stay overnight).

        Airlines should offer you and provide assistance free of charge while you wait. In the event of travel disruption, you should make yourself known to the airline, to avoid a situation where you have to make your own arrangements. Airlines should also ensure, where available, that accommodation is accessible for people with disabilities and their service dogs.

        If assistance is not offered and you paid for your own meals and refreshments, the airline should reimburse you, provided the expenses were necessary, reasonable and appropriate. You should keep all receipts for this purpose. You only have the right to assistance as long as you have to wait for re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or a return flight.

        In exceptional cases, the airline may decide to limit or decline assistance if it would cause further delay to passengers waiting for an alternative or a delayed flight.

        Assistance in the event of denied boarding due to overbooking

        Airlines should offer you and provide assistance free of charge while you wait. In the event of travel disruption, you should make yourself known to the airline, to avoid a situation where you have to make your own arrangements. Airlines should also ensure, where available, that accommodation is accessible for people with disabilities and their service dogs. The assistance to be provided includes:

        • Refreshments
        • Food
        • Accommodation (if you are rebooked to travel the next day)
        • Transport to your accommodation and return to the airport
        • 2 telephone calls, telex, fax messages or emails

        If assistance is not offered and you paid for your own meals and refreshments etc., the airline should reimburse you, provided the expenses were necessary, reasonable and appropriate. You should keep all receipts for this purpose. You only have the right to assistance as long as you have to wait for re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or a return flight.

        In exceptional cases, the airline may decide to limit or decline assistance if it would cause further delay to passengers waiting for an alternative or a delayed flight.

        Reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking in the event of denied boarding

        The airline must offer you, on a oneoff basis, a choice between:

        1. the reimbursement of your ticket and, if you have a connecting flight, a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity
        2. re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or,
        3. re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions (i.e. ‘rebooking’), subject to the availability of seats.

        As soon as you have chosen one of these three options, you no longer have rights in relation to the other two options. However, the airline may still have to provide compensation depending on the distance of your flight and the length of the delay past your original planned arrival time.

        • If the airline does not comply with its obligation to offer re-routing or return under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity, it has to reimburse your flight costs.
        • If the airline does not offer you the choice between reimbursement and re-routing but decides unilaterally to reimburse your original ticket, you are entitled to an additional reimbursement of the price difference with the new ticket (under comparable transport conditions).
        • If you booked an outbound and a return flight separately with different airlines and the outbound flight is cancelled, reimbursement is only due for the cancelled flight.

        However, if the outbound and return flights are operated by different airlines, but were part of a single reservation, in the event that the outbound flight was cancelled, you have the following rights:

        • Compensation
        • A choice between the reimbursement of your entire ticket (outbound and return flights) or re-routing on another flight for the outbound flight

        Warning

        Unless the terms and conditions of your ticket specify otherwise, you are not entitled to reimbursement or re‑rerouting if:

        you were denied boarding on reasonable health, safety or security grounds

        you did not have the required travel documents

        Reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking in the event of cancellation

        The airline must offer you, on a one off basis, a choice between:

        1. the reimbursement of your ticket and, if you have a connecting flight, a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity
        2. re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or,
        3. re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.

        Warning

        Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, carriers are issuing vouchers you can redeem later as an alternative to reimbursement.

        In this case, as a passenger, you must always be given the choice between a cash reimbursement and a voucher.

        As soon as you have chosen one of these three options, you no longer have rights in relation to the other two options. However, the airline may still have to provide compensation depending on the distance of your flight and the length of the delay past your original planned arrival time.

        • If the airline does not comply with its obligation to offer re-routing or return under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity, it has to reimburse your flight costs.
        • If the airline does not offer you the choice between reimbursement and re-routing but decides unilaterally to reimburse your original ticket, you are entitled to an additional reimbursement of the price difference with the new ticket (under comparable transport conditions).
        • If you booked an outbound and a return flight separately with different airlines and the outbound flight is cancelled, reimbursement is only due for the cancelled flight.

        If the outbound and return flights are operated by different airlines, but were part of a single reservation, in the event that the outbound flight was cancelled, you have the following rights:

        • Compensation
        • A choice between the reimbursement of your entire ticket (outbound and return flights) or re-routing on another flight for the outbound flight

        Reimbursement and a return flight in the event of a long delay (5 hours or more) at departure

        If your flight is delayed at least 5 hours at departure, the airline must reimburse your ticket and, if you have a connecting flight, offer a return to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity.

        Reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking in the event of denied boarding due to overbooking

        The airline must offer you, on a one off basis, a choice between:

        1. the reimbursement of your ticket and, if you have a connecting flight, a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity
        2. re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or,
        3. re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.

        As soon as you have chosen one of these three options, you no longer have rights in relation to the other two options. However, the airline may still have to provide compensation depending on the distance of your flight and the length of the delay past your original planned arrival time.

        • If the airline does not comply with its obligation to offer re-routing or return under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity, it has to reimburse your flight costs.
        • If the airline does not offer you the choice between reimbursement and re-routing but decides unilaterally to reimburse your original ticket, you are entitled to an additional reimbursement of the price difference with the new ticket (under comparable transport conditions).
        • If you booked an outbound and a return flight separately with different airlines and the outbound flight is cancelled, reimbursement is only due for the cancelled flight.

        However, if the outbound and return flights are operated by different airlines, but were part of a single reservation, in the event that the outbound flight was cancelled, you have the following rights:

        • Compensation
        • A choice between the reimbursement of your entire ticket (outbound and return flights) or re-routing on another flight for the outbound flight

        Extraordinary circumstances – Cancellation

        Extraordinary circumstances can lead to more than one cancellation or delay at the final destination. Examples of events defined as extraordinary circumstances are air traffic management decisions, political instability, adverse weather conditions and security risks.

        Situations which are not considered as extraordinary circumstances include:

        • most technical problems which come to light during aircraft maintenance or are caused by failure to maintain an aircraft
        • collision of mobile boarding stairs with an aircraft
        • strikes by air carrier staff (internal strike action)

        Any strike external to an air carrier that affects the operation of the airline may be considered as extraordinary circumstances. However, to be exempted from paying compensation, the airline must prove that: i) there is a link between the extraordinary circumstances and the delay or the cancellation, and ii) the delay or cancellation could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

        If the airline does not provide you with a satisfactory explanation, you can contact your national authorityfor further assistance.

        Extraordinary circumstances – Delay

        Extraordinary circumstances can lead to more than one cancellation or delay at the final destination. Examples of events defined as extraordinary circumstances are air traffic management decisions, political instability, adverse weather conditions and security risks.

        Situations which are not considered as extraordinary circumstances include:

        • most technical problems which come to light during aircraft maintenance or are caused by failure to maintain an aircraft
        • collision of mobile boarding stairs with an aircraft
        • strikes by air carrier staff (internal strike action)

        Any strike external to an air carrier that affects the operation of the airline may be considered as extraordinary circumstances. However, to be exempted from paying compensation, the airline must prove that: i) there is a link between the extraordinary circumstances and the delay or the cancellation, and ii) the delay or cancellation could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

        If the airline does not provide you with a satisfactory explanation, you can contact your national authorityfor further assistance.

        Claim your rights

        Open as an external link

        If you think your rights have not been respected, there are several forms of redress you can can use. However you should always send your complaint to the airline first. You can also consult your local European Consumer Centre for help and advice on problems related to air passenger rights.

        Complain to the airline

        You should always send your complaint to the airline first using either the complaint form provided by the airline or the EU air passenger rights form.

        Complain to national authorities

        If you don’t receive a reply from the airline within 2 months or if you are not satisfied with the reply, you can lodge a complaint with the relevant national authority in the country where the incident took place, within a reasonable timeframe. The national authority should provide you with a non-binding legal opinion on how to proceed with your claim.

        Use Alternative Dispute Resolution Entities (ADR) / Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

        You can also try to resolve your dispute using out-of-court procedures or an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity (ADR). If you bought your ticket online, you can submit your complaint via the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform. ADR and ODR are only available to EU residents.

        Going to court

        You may wish to resort to formal legal action and present a claim for compensation under EU rules using the European Small Claims procedure. For flights operated by an EU airline, you can submit your claim either at the place of arrival or departure. The same rule applies to connecting flights, which are part of a single reservation, but which may be operated by different air carriers. You may also bring the matter before the courts in the country where the airline is registered.

        If the airline is not registered in an EU country, you can submit your case to the courts in the EU country where your flight arrived, departed or connected. The time limits for bringing an action against an airline in a national court are defined in accordance with national rules on the limitation of actions in each EU country.

        Warning

        Important information for people submitting a claim to a claims agency: Information notice on relevant EU consumer protection, marketing and data protection law applicable to claim agencies’ activities in relation to Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights.

        Passenger rights

        We all know how frustrating it can be when something goes wrong with your flight. The complexity and inconsistency in passenger rights does not make it easier. We have been campaigning for all governments to apply the same core principles on passenger rights, that have been endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

        These include the right to care and assistance in the case of delays and rerouting, and to refunds or other compensation in the case of cancellations, where the circumstances are within an airline’s control. It would be unfair, for example, to hold airlines financially accountable for delays related to air traffic control,poor weather, or airport employees strikes, that may cause flight disruptions and cancellations.​

        Find out more below about what you can do in case of travel disruption or issues with an airline or travel agent.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Can IATA help me with my airline/travel agency complaint?

        ​While we serve the airline industry, we are not a regulatory body, and cannot intervene in service disputes or other commercial matters involving airlines or agents and their customers.

        For any issue, we recommend approaching the customer service of the respective airline or agent directly.

        What are my rights with regard to an incident or accident related to a journey by air?

        ​The “Conditions of Contract and Other Important Information” details airline liability with regard to passenger death or bodily injury, loss of or damage to baggage, and for delay.

        It also defines passenger rights and obligations for denied boarding, check-in times, baggage and the transport of dangerous goods. There may be some regional adaptation of the ticket notice.

        Please check out the ticket notice applicable to the country of departure indicated on your ticket: www.iatatravelcentre.com/tickets

        Are there consumer organizations that I can contact?

        The organizations listed below can provide advice on how to proceed with travel complaints, but there may be others specific to your region or country. Your national Civil Aviation Authority may be of help.

        • EU:Passenger rights in the EU and European Consumer Association
        • UK:Civil Aviation Authority Passenger Site and UK Travel Association
        • USA:Aviation Consumer Protection Agency
        • Canada:Canadian Transportation Agency

        Is there a government authority I can contact for my airline/airport complaint?

        ​If you wish to escalate an issue related to any aspect of air travel, contact the Civil Aviation Authorities of the country in which the airline is registered. Directory of Civil Aviation Authorities

        Are there rules for persons with reduced mobility that airlines should follow?

        ​Unfortunately, there are no harmonized regulations. Please refer to what the different airlines offer.

        Source https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/consumers-dispute-resolution/informal-dispute-resolution/index_en.htm

        Source https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm

        Source https://www.iata.org/en/youandiata/travelers/passenger-rights/

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