Have you ever had to reschedule your travel plans due to a flight cancellation or delay? And although it may be poor consolation: An EU law clearly defines the compensation that airlines have to pay in such cases.
According to the Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 of the EU, passengers flying with airlines from EU and EFTA countries and with start or destination airport in an EU or EFTA country (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland) are entitled to compensation of up to 600 euros if they are not transported. However, this right applies only in the event of short-term cancellations no earlier than two weeks prior to departure and if the airline offers no alternative flight corresponding to the provisions of the EC regulation, article 5, para. 1(c).
The designated compensation depends on the length of the flight route booked:
The airline can reduce the compensation by 50% if the passengers affected are offered a reasonable alternative flight. An alternative flight is considered reasonable for a flight distance
than the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked.
Since the so-called Sturgeon judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2009, this compensation rule applies even in the case of delays of more than 3 hours – but only if the flight begins or ends in an EU country.
If a cancellation or delay occurs due to exceptional circumstances (bad weather conditions, bird strike, technical failure despite sufficient maintenance, the threat of terrorism, medical incidents, strikes, etc.), the airline is not to blame - and passengers have no right to compensation.
Your legal protection insurance will assist you in asserting a claim with the airline due to cancellation, denied boarding or major delay. If you do not have the appropriate insurance, you can check your entitlement to compensation via portals such as Cancelled.ch or Flightright.de . However, the flight passenger legal experts charge 20 to 30% of any compensation payment they successfully claim.