In order to protect Passengers’ Rights when travelling by air, the European Union (EU), since 2004, has established common rules for compensation and assistance in cases of disruption of your travel due to:
This is European Regulation (EC) 261/2004, which provides detailed instructions on your rights as a passenger or else the airlines’ obligations for each of the above cases.
You can also find out about your rights when it comes to traveling by air through the special forms or electronic notices available at the airport ticket counters as well as online.
Additionally, the airline must in writing notify you of your rights in any case of denied boarding, flight cancellation, or long delay.
You should keep in mind that, if there is a disruption to the air travel of persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them as well as unaccompanied children, the airlines should serve these persons as a matter of priority and provide them with care as soon as possible.
Each EU country has designated a national body as responsible for the enforcement of EC 261/2004 provisions. A full list of national enforcement bodies for each EU country can be found in the following address: https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-themes/passenger-rights/national-enforcement-bodies-neb_en
In Greece, Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) is the designated national authority for the enforcement of EU Regulation 261/2004, through its Air Passenger Rights Section.
You can therefore contact national enforcement bodies whenever you have not received the compensation or the assistance or the care established by the Regulation, if your flight was canceled, long delayed or you were denied boarding, by submitting a complaint.
It is important to note that in the event of a violation of your rights, you should first contact your airline by filling out and submitting the relevant EU form. A complaint can be submitted to the relevant authorities if the company does not respond within a reasonable time or you feel that you do not agree with the way your request was handled.
Which passengers are covered by the regulation?
Regulation EC 261/2004 applies to all air passengers departing from European Union airports.
It also applies to all passengers departing from third counties (ie non EU) provided that their flights:
- arrive into airports located within the EU and
- are operated by air carriers which are licensed within the EU
unless they have already received compensation or assistance in that third country.
Which passengers are not covered by the regulation?
The airline is not obliged to pay compensation or provide assistance, if the passenger:
- travels for free or at a reduced fare that is not available to the general public
- has no confirmed reservation
- did not arrive at the boarding gate at the appropriate time
- does not have the appropriate travel documents (visa etc)
- raises safety issues for the airline