Air Passenger Rights: What are your rights and how to claim the compensation you are entitled to!

There are millions of people who travel by air each year and yet more than 90% of them are not aware of their air passenger rights and how to exercise them.

Colibra is here to provide you with everything you need to know about your rights as an air traveler and help you claim the compensation you deserve for the inconveniences you have suffered due to the flight disruptions caused by the air companies and much more!

What are air passenger rights?

Air passenger rights are the legal rights that support and protect all air travelers in case of flight disruptions caused by the airlines.

Although it is true that each country has its own set of laws on the matter, generally, when it comes to air passenger rights many countries have implemented common regulations to their legislation. The reason for this is to ensure that all air carriers operate under the same set of rules and conditions and that all passengers have equal rights while traveling.

The biggest concern, when it comes to your rights as a passenger is that many people don’t acknowledge that they have those rights and what to do in case of flight disruptions. Furthermore, the whole process of making a claim for compensation can be really exhausting and time-consuming. So, more than often people are just not willing to go through weeks and maybe months of back-and-forth emailing and visits to the court just for the chance to get the money they deserve.

But what if there is a way to avoid all of this trouble and still get your compensation instantly and for any delay reason without paying a cent out of pocket? Well, that’s what we at Colibra do based on your passenger rights. So let’s first discover what your rights as an air traveler are and on what international laws you can rely on during your journey.

Your air passenger rights in the European Union

To raise the level of protection and strengthen the rights of the passengers, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have adopted Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of 11 February 2004.

What is EU 261/2004?

EU 261/2004 (short from Regulation (EC) No 261/2004) is a comprehensive law in which are established the air passenger rights of the travelers who have suffered flight disruptions and which holds accountable the airlines, as long as they are responsible for those issues.

Which flights do EU 261/2004 cover?

EU 261/2004 covers all flights within the airspace of the countries inside the European Union. It also includes Martinique, Saint-Martin, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and La Réunion, Madeira, the Azores (the so-called “outermost regions”) and the Canary Islands, as well as, Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland.

All of the international flights departing from the European Union are covered by the regulation, regardless if their destination is within or outside of the boundaries of the union.

Flights departing from the outside of the European Union with a destination within its borders are also covered by the EU 261/2004 only if they are operated by a European air carrier. So, what matters here is the origin of the airline you are using.

Here is a handy table of the flights that are covered by EU 261/2004 and the ones that are not:

Travel itineraryEU carrierNon-EU carrier
From EU to EUCoveredCovered
From EU to non-EUCoveredCovered
From out of EU to EUCoveredNon covered
From out of EU to non-EUNon coveredNon covered
What is not covered by EU 261/2004?

As already mentioned, the regulation holds accountable the airline companies for the trouble and inconvenience caused to the passengers by the flight disruptions but only if they are responsible for them. What this means is that the air carriers do not have to pay compensation for disruptions caused by events that are out of their control.

Such events are called “extraordinary circumstances” and because of their unpredictable nature, there is no reason to hold accountable the airlines for their occurrence. For example, you will not have the right to compensation if your flight is delayed because of bad weather, political instability, security risks, etc.

Extraordinary Circumstances
  • Strikes initiated by airport employees or air traffic control
  • Political unrest
  • Inclement weather
  • Security risks

Still, this is true only if the air carrier operator has taken reasonable measures to avoid such events. So, if your flight gets canceled because of bad weather, but it was known to the public that such meteorological conditions were to be expected and the airline you are using didn’t prepare for them, then you are eligible for compensation.

What are my air passenger rights under EU 261/2004?

Now that you know if your flight is covered by the EU 261/2004 let’s discover the rights you have in case of flight disruption.

The regulation holds accountable the airlines in the event of 3 cases of flight disruptions:

Right to compensation

The air carrier operator you are using is obligated to pay you a compensation of up to 600 euro for the inconveniences you have suffered due to the issues with your flight. Its amount depends on the distance of your flight and the time of the delay.

Keep in mind that just because you receive compensation that doesn’t mean that this is the only right you have in event flight disruption. Quite the opposite, most of the times, your carrier is obligated to give it to you in addition to the other essentials and assistance you have to be provided with!

For example, if your flight gets canceled and you receive back the money for your ticket, you will additionally receive compensation for your inconveniences. That is if your carrier hasn’t informed you in time for the cancellation, of course.

In its essence, the compensation is the obligation that the airlines have towards the passengers for failing to provide them with uneventful travel. Find out how to claim your compensation with Colibra now!

Right to reimbursement or re-routing

You will receive a full or partial return of your ticket original price and a free return flight to your first point of departure as soon as possible if such is needed.

Or you can choose to receive free transport to your final destination under similar conditions as your original flight. This can happen as soon as possible (for example the next available flight) or at later date chosen by you.

Right to care

If you are stuck waiting while the air carrier operator is trying to resolve the issues causing the disruptions of your flight, you have the right to receive several essentials for your comfort and well-being during this period of time.

Here is what your airline has to provide you with:

    • meals and refreshments in accordance with the waiting period
  • two free telephone calls and access to other forms of communication such as e-mails
    • hotel room and transportation between the airport and the hotel in which you are
  • staying (only if you need to stay one or more nights)

What you are entitled to depend on the time you have to wait before you get back to traveling towards you destitution.

Here is a handy table of when you become eligible for these essentials:

Flight detailsLength of delay
All Flight 1,500km or less2 hours or more
Internal EU flights over 1,500 km3 hours or more
Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km3 hours or more
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 km4 hours or more
Upgrading and downgrading

Your carrier can offer you to place you in an alternative flight to reach your destination. Now, there are two options here:

    • Upgrading – this is when the class you are placed in is higher than the one you’ve originally booked. You can’t be charged any additional payment.
  • Downgrading – this is when the class you are placed in is lower than the one you’ve originally booked. Here you have the right of reimbursement of 30% to 75% of the original ticket price depending on the length of your flight and your travel route.
The right to be informed about your air passenger rights

Air carrier operators are obligated to inform their passengers about their rights under the EU 261/2004. To be more precise, carriers have to display guide at the check-outs in every airport about where to receive the exact rules on compensation and assistance they are entitled to in case of flight cancellation, denied boarding and flight delay of more than two hours.

What is the time limit to make a claim?

Well, this depends on the legislation of the county in which the headquarters of the air carrier is. To be more precise, you have to find out under which the court’s jurisdiction are cases against the airline filed.

In this table you will find the time limit to file a claim in each country:

Table of the countries limitation period
CountryLimitation period
Austria3 years
Belgium1 year
Bulgaria3 years
Croatia3 years
Cyprus6 years
Czech Republic3 years
Denmark3 years
Estonia3 years
Finland3 years
France5 years
Germany3 years
Greece5 years
Hungary5 years
Iceland2 years
Ireland6 years
Italy26 months
Latvia2 years
Lithuania3 years
Luxembourg10 years
MaltaNo limit
Netherlands2 years
Norway3 years
Poland1 years
Portugal3 years
Romania3 years
Slovakia2 years
Slovenia2 years
Spain5 years
Sweden3 years
Switzerland2 years
United Kingdom6 years

Keep in mind that each country might have different specifics, aside from the time limit, when it comes to the law concerning the filing of claims and complaints.

Colibra’s solution

Well, now that you know when you are eligible for compensation and what your other rights are. So, your flight gets delayed with 2 hours. It is time for you to file a claim and get the money you deserve, right? But here is where things get tricky.

Airlines don’t actually like giving you compensation money. What a surprise? So, it is in their favor to make the process of filing a claim as long and exhausting as possible. First, you’ll need to find out what is the cause of your flight’s disruption and if it doesn’t fall under the category of “extraordinary  circumstances”, for which we already talked about. So, it is no wonder that when you ask the airline’s staff for more information on the matter, more than often, they say that they can’t help you or give you vague answers.

Second, if you eventually find out that the air carrier operator is responsible for your delay, you need to file a claim. You need to find the exact court under which jurisdiction the airline is and file your claim there.

The process before the court can take weeks and even months. You might be called to for hearing and you might have to hire a lawyer for legal counseling, for which you will have to pay out of your pocket.

And in the end, the court can still rule out that you are simply not eligible for compensation. Is it surprising that over 85% of rightful claims are never filed?

Colibra is here to help you claim your compensation instantly, without having to worry about filing any claims in court or having to go through all this trouble to receive your money and you won’t have to pay anything yourself for this!

How? Through our groundbreaking app!

Colibra gets you instant compensation between 20 and 100 euro each time your flight gets delayed over an hour!

  • You don’t have to make a claim yourself!
  • You get your money instantly!
  • You don’t have to pay for anything!
  • You get compensation if your flight is delayed even with an hour!

You will get your compensation regardless of the reason for your flight’s delay. That’s right, even if it was just because of the bad weather!

But how is this even possible if you don’t have to pay anything for it?

Here, in Colibra, we believe that all of our users should receive a fair chance to be compensated for the inconveniences they have suffered while waiting. So, we’ve come up with the idea that instead of making individual claims on behalf of our customers and then paying to a few lucky people a couple of hundred euros, as the other compensation agencies do, we can file a large pool of claims on behalf of all of our eligible users.

We can then spread the pool of claimed compensations among a larger number of travelers who have suffered from disruptions of their flights. So, you as Colibra user are guaranteed to receive a fixed compensation instantly, without having to claim anything! And so will many others!

What’s it for us you wonder? We charge a percentage of the total pool of eligible claims we distribute. This way, there is no need for you to pay for using Colibra!

With Colibra app, everything becomes easy and convenient! Get your app now and never worry about claiming your flight compensations ever again!

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