Volcano Ash Flight Disruptions - know your EU rights

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As flights across the EU continue to be grounded due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) in Ireland has reminded consumers that even in these exceptional circumstances their Air Passenger rights continue to apply. This was reiterated in a statement from EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, in Brussels yesterday.

Under EU rules, the airlines continue to have a "Duty of Care" for stranded passengers which means food and accommodation where needed. Passengers are also entitled to re-routing or a full refund. The only thing which does not apply in the case of 'exceptional circumstances' is the payment of compensation.

Passengers are advised to keep all receipts for costs incurred. See below for full text from ECC.

1. If your flight has been cancelled

  1. Under Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 airlines are required to offer passengers either a refund of the full cost of the ticket or rerouting to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience subject to availability.
  2. While awaiting the earliest available rerouted flight, passengers are entitled to receive care and assistance from an airline. In such cases the airline is specifically required to supply meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting period, two free telephone calls, emails or faxes and hotel accommodation if an overnight stay is required.
  3. Passengers affected by disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud will, however, be unable to claim compensation under the Regulation, since these cancellations are caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the airline

2. If you are stranded abroad

  1. Passengers unable to return home due to the travel disruptions are entitled to receive care and assistance from the airline as outlined above. Passengers must also be provided with a text setting out their entitlements.
  2. If no assistance is provided and passengers incur reasonable expenses as a result, these must be reimbursed by the airline. Passengers should ensure they keep receipts for all expenses incurred and to contact the airline in writing on their return home enclosing copies of these receipts.
  3. For consumers stranded outside the EU, it is important to remember that the Regulation only applies to air carriers licensed in a Member State of the EU.

3. If you are travelling on a package holiday

If your trip was booked as a package holiday, you have stronger protection under the Package Holiday Directive. If trips are cancelled and tour operators cannot get you to your destination they must offer you the choice between a replacement package of equivalent or superior quality, a lower grade package with a refund of the difference in price between the two packages, or a full refund. Passengers on package holidays who are stranded in a destination must be looked after by their tour operator, and the operator is obliged to get them home.

4. What about my hotel and car hire bookings that were not booked as part of a package?

Airlines are not obliged to cover the cost of missed booking made by passengers who organised their holidays independently. Nonetheless, passengers might not lose their money. They should contact the service provider to see if it is possible to change their plans or receive a refund. If the provider is unwilling to assist, consumers should contact their insurer as such circumstances may be covered by their particular travel insurance policy.

According to Caroline Curneen, spokesperson for ECC Ireland, “While this difficult situation is undoubtedly placing great pressure on the travel industry as well as on travellers, this shouldn’t prevent passengers receiving the care and assistance from airlines that they are entitled to.”

ECC Ireland is one of a network of consumer advice centres across the EU, jointly funded by governments and the European Commission. The network is there to provide information to consumers in the Single EU Market and to give advice and support when things go wrong.
 


kerrynorth

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I have a question.

I was stuck in London on Thursday. I didn't manage to rebook because the website was down. I spent two extra nights in a hotel before getting a train and ferry home.

What does Aer Lingus have to refund?
Feck all bar your return air fare. You broke your contract with them by making your own arrangements to return.
 

jacko

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I just heard that dolt Ray D'Arcy dispensing erroneous advice to some idiot that chose to sleep in an Airport sooner than take a bed in a house 40 minutes from JFK

He yammered on that the lady should stay in a hotel and bill Aer Lingus.

Ray is wrong and I hope that he personally compensates anyone that acts on his erroneous advice.

Here is why Ray and others are WRONG:

REGULATION (EC) No 261/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 11 February 2004
establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied
boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91​

(14) As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating
air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases
where an event has been caused by extraordinary
circumstances
which could not have been avoided even
if all reasonable measures had been taken. Such circumstances
may, in particular, occur in cases
of political
instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with
the operation of the flight concerned
, security risks,
unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that
affect the operation of an operating air carrier.

(15) Extraordinary circumstances should be deemed to exist
where the impact of an air traffic management decision

in relation to a particular aircraft on a particular day
gives rise to a long delay, an overnight delay, or the
cancellation of one or more flights by that aircraft, even
though all reasonable measures had been taken by the
air carrier concerned to avoid the delays or cancellations.

If anyone is accountable it is the IAA or Eurocontrol who kneejerked with their initial closure of Irish Airspace
that is correct re compensation but you are entitled to your accomodation and 3 meals a day - even Ryanair acknowledge this (MO'L was giving out about it yesterday!)
 

kerrynorth

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Ray is right. You have an absolute entitlement to hotel and food costs throughout the time it takes the airline to get you home. It is only when it comes to financial compensation of top of these rights that 'exceptional circumstances' etc arise. Only applies to EU airlines though, if that person flew say Continental then rules do not apply.
 

Interista

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I thought airlines were only obliged to pay for accomodation for 2 days after the initial disruption?
 

kerrynorth

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I thought airlines were only obliged to pay for accomodation for 2 days after the initial disruption?
No. There is no time limit.
 

Interista

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No. There is no time limit.
OK thanks for the correction.

BTW do these "EU rules" apply to all passengers, not just those with EU passports? A friend of mine - Canadian citizen - is stuck in London and can't get home. She was booked to fly with BA. Are BA obliged to pay for her hotel and meals, even though she is not an EU citizen?
 

jacko

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applies to all passengers on any flight operated by an eu based airline and any flight operated by a non eu airline from an eu airport.
 

Interista

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applies to all passengers on any flight operated by an eu based airline and any flight operated by a non eu airline from an eu airport.
OK thanks.

Another question: another friend of mine was due to travel to London with Jordanian Airlines via Amman. When she got to Amman she was told the flight to London had been cancelled due to the volcano. She said, however, that she does not think she'll get a refund as this is an 'act of God'. Is that true? Are non EU airlines, operating outside the EU, not obliged to refund passangers in cases like this?
 

jacko

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actually no.

Jordanian are liable for a London / Amman flight under the eu rules but not Amman/ London
 

Interista

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Thanks again! Presumably they also wont' be liable for the return London-Amman flight she would have taken had she been able to get to London in the first place?
 

kerrynorth

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So I should have hung out at the hotel? In fact, I should still be there? Thats a bit mad.
Yip. But thems the terms and conditions.
 

kerrynorth

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OK thanks for the correction.

BTW do these "EU rules" apply to all passengers, not just those with EU passports? A friend of mine - Canadian citizen - is stuck in London and can't get home. She was booked to fly with BA. Are BA obliged to pay for her hotel and meals, even though she is not an EU citizen?
As long as it is an EU carrier the rules apply. So Yes in this case.
 

darkhorse

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The sheer brass neck of the IAA Official on Pat Kenny radio is hard to believe..
The very same regulator who issued the ban on flights and subsequently changed the regulation to allow flights - effectively admitting their own mistakes.
They now expect Ryanair and other airlines to compensate passengers for the mistakes of the regulator.
The regulator banned these flights due to a lack of understanding of the effects of volcanic ash - and when they subsequently discover their mistake - they now demand that commercial companies to compensate passenger for their own errors.
It is the regulator that should be compensating the passengers not the airlines.
The fact that this guy has the nerve to come on air is itself a disgrace.
If they had any credibility left they would resign
 

darkhorse

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Darkhorse I fully agree with you and I stated the same here 5 days ago !

Why is the CEO of the IAA paid 400,000.00 + Euro per year ? Its certainly not linked to talent or ability.

http://www.politics.ie/transport/127985-irish-aviation-authority-lifts-air-traffic-ban-over-irish-airspace.html#post2603341

Time for heads to roll.
Unfortunately, this wont happen in a country like ours.
They will retire from their ivory towers with gold plated pensions and generous lump sums as a reward for their years of incompetance inflicted on the travelling public.
Although personally I think they should be arrested and tried for what they have done.
 

PrismES

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Ryanair refuse to compensate....

If Rynair or any other airline refuse to compensate their passangers, as they have stated, they should have there operating license suspended. The regulator must stand up to the bully MO’L, as the CEO of a very large airline operating in Europe he must understand the regulatory envoirment in which he operates. Ryanair should have allowed for such cost in their pricing model.
 

martino

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If Rynair or any other airline refuse to compensate their passangers, as they have stated, they should have there operating license suspended. The regulator must stand up to the bully MO’L, as the CEO of a very large airline operating in Europe he must understand the regulatory envoirment in which he operates. Ryanair should have allowed for such cost in their pricing model.
That's the spirit; put the bastards out of business so noone can avail of affordable flights anymore. That'll show 'em.
 

An Gilladaker

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If Rynair or any other airline refuse to compensate their passangers, as they have stated, they should have there operating license suspended. The regulator must stand up to the bully MO’L, as the CEO of a very large airline operating in Europe he must understand the regulatory envoirment in which he operates. Ryanair should have allowed for such cost in their pricing model.
Europe will be kind to those who backed Lisbon


4th UPDATE: European Airlines Seek Help With Cost Of Ash Crisis - WSJ.com
 


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