Cancelled flights - what are your rights?

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Regulation EC 261/2004 governs what individuals are entitled to when their flight to and from airports in the EU is cancelled by an airline,

Assistance: If your flight is cancelled, you must be offered a choice between:

  1. Full refund within seven days or re-routing, to your final destination (the destination on the ticket or final leg if a connecting flight), at the earliest opportunity or a later date at your convenience, subject to availability of seats.
  2. meals and refreshments reasonable in relation to the waiting time and two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails.
  3. If the new flight is at least the day after the departure you are also entitled to(b) Transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other).
  4. (a) Hotel accommodation

Exceptions to the eligibility for assistance and compensation are when you are informed of the cancellation

  1. at least 2 weeks before the scheduled time of departure; or between 2 weeks and 7 days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing you to depart no more than 2 hours before time and to reach your final destination less than 4 hours late or
  2. Informed less than 7 days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing you to depart no more than 1 hour before and arrive at your final destination less than 2 hours late;
  3. Or the airline can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

Subject as above compensation is paid to each individual affected as follows:

(a) EUR 250 for all flights of 1 500 kilometres or less;

(b) EUR 400 for all flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres;

(c) EUR 600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b) above.

When you are offered re-routing to your final destination on an alternative flight and the arrival time of the re-routed flight is not later than the flight originally booked, or late by 2 hours, in respect of all flights of 1 500 kilometres or less; or 3 hours, for all flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres; or 4 hours, for all other flights, the airline may reduce the compensation by 50%.      The assistance described above will apply without prejudice to any rights you may have under applicable law (including EU Directive 90/314 on package travel) to further compensation, or through your own travel insurance although any such assistance granted may be deducted from any such further compensation.

If you have any queries about your rights in the case of flight cancellation, please contact Maura M Lawton Solicitor Ahern Roberts O’Rourke Williams and Partners maura.lawton@arw.ie

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