What are my rights as a plane passenger?

When we travel by plane nobody guarantees the success of our getaway. We never know what surprises we can find before or after arriving at our destination. When our transport is the plane, not everything depends on our decisions and desire to travel, but some issues are beyond our control. It is probable that our suitcase is lost, that we are denied boarding or that even our flight is delayed or canceled.

Since 2004, of Regulation (EC) No. 261/the European Parliament and of the Council guarantees the basic rights of all air passengers. This European Union legislation applies to passengers leaving airports located in the territory of a Member State and all those arriving at these airports from a third country when the flight is operated by an EU company. But what rights do these rules give us compared to airlines? To know them or to have clear where to inform us about them should be among our plans before traveling so that, in case we have any incident, we will not be caught by surprise. Below we show you the most common contingencies and what are the regulations that you can accept and which airlines must comply with.

Loss or deterioration of luggage
Baggage problems are regulated in the same way, whether you are traveling within the European Union or an international flight, since all the countries that signed the Montreal Convention are covered. In case of problems with your luggage, the airline must take care of them while they are in your custody. This means that:

  • If your bags, whether cheked-in or hand luggage, have been damaged or broken, the company must repair or replace them. If you are going to file a complaint, you must do so within seven days of receiving it.
  • In case of delay (it takes up to 21 days to deliver your luggage), the airline must reimburse you for the cost of the products you need and that they traveled inside. In this case you must keep your purchase receipts to justify the cost.
  • If your luggage has been lost (after 21 days, even if it appears later), they must compensate you for the suitcase and its contents, provided you can provide documentation of the lost items and their value.

    In total you can claim up to 1,131 special drawing rights (SDRs) per passenger. But in order to claim rights for an incident with baggage, it is necessary to previously fill in the Baggage Irregularity Part (PIR) to record the incident, because if it is not processed it is presumed that the baggage has been delivered correctly and in good condition . Although you have different deadlines to do so, we recommend that you do so before leaving the airport.

    Denied boarding
    The denial of boarding is the refusal to transport a passenger on a flight, despite having submitted to boarding in compliance with the requirements, unless there are reasonable grounds for such denial. Normally this problem is caused by overbooking, that is, it occurs when the airline sells more seats than the plane has capacity. If you are denied boarding against your will, the rights that assist you are:

  • Right to information, which consists of the delivery by the airline of a form with the conditions of assistance and compensation.
  • Right to necessary assistance. The airline must provide you with food and drink, access to communication, accommodation (if necessary) and transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation.
  • Right to reimbursement or alternative transport, where the passenger can choose between the refund of the ticket within seven days, transportation to the final destination as quickly as possible and in comparable transport conditions or transport to final destination on a date later that suits the passenger.
  • Right to be compensated immediately, between € 250 and € 600, depending on the distance of the flight. These amounts can be reduced by 50% if the airline offers alternative transport and meets the delay in arrival at destination.

    Flight delay
    If the incident you have is due to a delay in your flight, your options vary depending on where you are. That is, if it is delayed in the departure or arrival. In the case of departure, you have the right to information, assistance and compensation in similar terms to the denial of boarding (food, drink, communication, accommodation and transportation if you have to sleep outside during the delay). This right is given under the following conditions:

  • Compensation of 250 euros for delays of two hours or more on flights of 1,500 kilometers or less.
  • Compensation of 400 euros for delays of three hours or more in intra-Community flights of more than 1,500 kilometers and of all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers.
  • Compensation of 600 euros for delays of four hours or more on flights over 3,500 kilometers.

    If your flight has been delayed more than five hours, you are also entitled to a refund of the ticket amount.
    If instead your delay occurs at the time of arrival, as long as you are at the final destination three or more hours after the time scheduled by the airline, you may be entitled to compensation identical to that which would correspond to you. denial of shipment case.

    Flight cancellation
    If you cancel the flight for which you bought a ticket, the rights that you can accept are similar to those of denied boarding. You have the right to receive information, assistance and to be reimbursed for the cost of the ticket or offered an alternative transport. All this is valid, unless you have been informed of the cancellation 14 days before the scheduled flight or that, with the modification of the route, you have arrived near the initially scheduled time. Neither can we accept these rights if the airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by other circumstances, such as bad weather, security risks or unexpected deficiencies in flight safety.

    As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, some issues of our trips are beyond our control. In case of any unforeseen event that may arise, it is important that you obtain detailed information about the incident and that you keep your boarding pass and any useful documents in the future (such as luggage storage or receipts of possible expenses). Meanwhile, at WePark we will put all the facilities in our hands so that everything goes according to plan.

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