Passenger Rights

As travellers we’ve all had our shares of flight delays. As if a prolonged wait at a cramped airport isn’t frustrating enough, a delay or cancellation of flight costs you precious money and time, especially when it’s critical to get to a business meeting, a friend’s wedding or a child’s graduation or when you are just on a holiday. Are you aware that you have certain rights when things wrong at the airport. These rights vary based on factors likes airlines, source aiprort, distance of the journey and times of delay etc.

Flying from Europe or flying on a European carrier

Since you were traveling from Europe or on a European Carrier, you come under the jurisdiction of Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 . It is a regulation under EU law for protecting passengers in case of flight delay, cancellations or when a passenger is denied boarding (due to overbooking).

When does EC 261/2004 apply?

  • If you are flying from an EU member state on any airline - it doesn’t matter whether the flight is scheduled, charter or low-cost.
  • If you are flying an EU member airline anywhere in the world.
  • If you are flying to and from Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.
  • You have a valid ticket (not take on tariff that is unavailable to the public directly)
  • You have checked-in at least 45 minutes before the departure of your flight (or as stated by the airline)

Tell us what happened

The aviation sector is expanding at a very fast pace. As a result, thirty percent of the flights flying everyday suffer delays. Waiting at the airport in case of a flight delay could be quite frustrating. As a passenger , you should be aware that you have certain rights in case your flight suffered a long delay.

In case of flight delays, passengers are entitled to get refreshments, compensation and accommodation (in case of overnight delays). The amount of compensation depends on number of hours by which the flight is delayed and the flight distance.

Hours delayed Compensation
2 hours or more Refreshments
3 hours or more Refreshments + compensation as per the table below
5 hours or more Refreshments + compensation + right to leave the flight and get full refund
Compensation amount if flight was delayed by 3 hours or more:
Flight Distance Compensation Amount*
Less than 1500 km 250 EUR / US $272
Between 1500 km and 3500 km 400 EUR / US $436
Greater than 3500 km 600 EUR / US$ 653
*Note: Compensation is given in Euros. We used 1.09 (Euro to US$ conversion) to calculate the amount in US$.

Nothing can be more frustrating than a cancelled flight. If your flight is cancelled, the airline should provide you with a rerouting or refund or return to the original airport based on your convenience. You are also entitled to refreshments, communication, as well as accommodation. The airlines also owe you monetary compensation in the case of cancellation.

When are you eligible for compensation for cancellation?
When were you informed? Alternate flight details Compensation Due?
Not before two weeks from day of flight - Yes
Within 1-2 weeks of the flight Doesn't depart within 2 hours and Doesn't land within 4 hours of the scheduled time Yes
Within a week before flight Doesn't depart within 1 hours and doesn't land within 2 hours of the scheduled time Yes

Compensation amount if your flight was cancelled:
Flight Distance Compensation Amount*
Less than 1500 km 250 EUR / US $272
Between 1500 km and 3500 km 400 EUR / US $436
Greater than 3500 km 600 EUR / US$ 653
*Note: Compensation is given in Euros. We used 1.09 (Euro to US$ conversion) to calculate the amount in US$.

Note: The airline has to give you compensation only if the delay was not because of an extraordinary circumstance like weather.

In case you miss your connecting flight because of the delay caused in the first leg you are still eligible for compensation For eg; if you are flying to Delhi from San Francisco Via London. Your flight from San Francisco to London is delayed; causing you to miss your onwards flight from London to Delhi booked (with the same carrier) you have following rights.

  • The airline has to provide you alternate ticket to your final destination
  • If you reach your final destination later than three hours of the scheduled time you are eligible to get compensation.
Compensation amount if your were denied boarding:
Flight Distance Compensation Amount*
Less than 1500 km 250 EUR / US $272
Between 1500 km and 3500 km 400 EUR / US $436
Greater than 3500 km 600 EUR / US$ 653
*Note: Compensation is given in Euros. We used 1.09 (Euro to US$ conversion) to calculate the amount in US$.
Your rights in case of denied boarding

When you are forced to give up your seat because of overbooking, it’s called denied boarding. You are eligible to get on the spot compensation in case of denied boarding. Things to do in case of denied boarding:

  • Think before you accept the airline voucher. Because once you accept the voucher, you are volunteering to give up the seat and you are not eligible for claim.
  • Arrive on time for checkin: Apart from having a valid ticket to avail these rights, and you also should’ve arrived at the airport well in time (as required by the airline) for your check-in. Arriving in time is important! Remember, the passengers who come late, get bumped first.
  • Keep your paperwork handy: Never lose your boarding pass and receipt and ticket. They would be very important for availing your rights.
Downgrade the ticket

If a passenger is placed in a lower class than that for which a ticket was purchased, the airline must refund 30/50/75% of the cost of the ticket depending upon the flight distance. If a passenger is placed in a higher class than that for which a ticket was purchased, the airline may not request any additional payment.