4 Tips: If Your Flight is Cancelled, Delayed, or Overbooked
Many travellers have been faced with unpleasant situations while travelling, be it a flight delay, cancellation, or overbooking, all of which result in an inconvenience. While the overall delays in European flights seem to have reduced, air passengers are still sometimes faced with inevitable disruptions. Some common reasons for flight delays or cancellations include air traffic control restrictions, bird strikes, waiting for crew or cargo, knock-on effects from other delayed flights, mechanical issues, and security threats. What do you do if you ever find yourself in such a situation? This article points out some quick and easy tips to guide you if your flight ever gets cancelled, delayed, or denied due to overbooking.
Know Your Rights Under the EU 261 Law
The EU 261 law was passed in 2004 to protect the rights of air passengers in cases of flight disruptions. This includes flight delays, flight cancellations, and denied boarding due to overbooking. You are entitled to monetary compensation between €250 and €600 under this law and the specific amount depends on the flight distance, which ranges from short to medium to long. In addition, you are also entitled to the right to care. This includes being properly taken care of and granted access to a telephone, internet, and complimentary food and drinks. You can also get a free hotel booking if your flight is delayed overnight or eventually got cancelled and it's late at the airport.
Check-in On Time
One of the criteria to claim flight delay compensation is that you must have checked in for your flight on time. The ideal time is at least 45 minutes before the departure time. If you weren't checked in by that time, you may lose your right to claim compensation. So, whether or not you think the flight would be delayed, you should still check in on time unless you were notified at least 14 days prior.
File a Complaint
Take active steps to file a complaint as soon as possible for the inconvenience caused by the airline. You can always contact the airline to get the process started or go through your travel agency. For a seamless process, get a lawyer or reach out to agencies like Flightright who are professionals in this.
Don't Be Misled
Airlines would always do what they can to save money, so you must also be careful not to accidentally waive your rights. Read through every document carefully before signing and ask questions for further clarifications on anything. Be careful not to accept vouchers that might be tagged as a substitute for your compensation claims. In addition, if you are travelling as a group, don't be deceived to think the compensation is for the entire group. Each passenger is entitled to as much as €600.
No one should have to deal with flight disruptions that they have zero control over. However, with laws like the EC 261 in place, air passengers can get properly compensated for severe inconveniences caused by the airline. Know your rights and exercise them.
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