Passenger Rights

Flight passenger rights

The flight passengers have to obey basic flight passenger requirements in order to make their experience joyful and pleasant when visiting major UK airports and using UK airlines. Particularly, the flight passengers have to review their baggage carefully before the planned flight. It is very important to pay attention to the content of one's baggage because many items used on day to day basis can endanger the flight safety and therefore cannot be taken inside an aircraft, or even be in the checked baggage. The flight passenger has to get him/herself familiriazed with the list of potentially dangerous items before travel begins.

Clarification of flight passenger requirements

Examples of potentially dangerous items the passenger is not permitted to carry are explosives, gases, flammable liquids or solids, weapons, as well as corrosives and poisons. There are also special security restrictions applied to aerosols and gels. The flight passenger needs to contact the airline for more detailed information on the number of bags a passenger may take on the plane, what goods are considered to be dangerous and how to send them to relatives and friends in case of necessity and how to pack electric devices not containing batteries and those that are battery powered.

Significant departure flight delay

Passengers subject to a significant departure flight delay may be entitled to compensation. If the flight is delayed over 3 hours and is with an airline based within the EU, the passenger is entitled to compensation on a sliding scale, depending on the length of the flight and the length of the delay. Significant departure flight delay outside the EU, of travel to a non-EU destination may be compensated according to the terms and conditions of the individual airline, who may offer the choice of a later flight or alternative means of transport. If refreshments and accommodation are required but not offered by the airline, the passenger may try to claim reasonable reimbursement for expenses incurred. In all cases, compensation for significant departure flight delay can only be claimed as long as the delay was not outside the airline's control. Receipts and documentation must be provided as evidence of expenditure when making a claim for compensation.

Departure flight delay

If a customer experiences a departure flight delay then he or she may be eligible for compensation if the delay was the airline's fault. However, if the Departure flight delay was caused by unusual circumstances, such as inclement weather and the cause can be proven, then the airline has the right to deny the customer compensation for the departure flight delay, or flight cancellation. On the other hand, if the customer resides in the UK, and the airline is at fault for the flight delay or cancellation, the passenger has the right to compensation in one of two ways: the passenger may request a refund of the purchase price of the seat on the cancelled flight, or the passenger can request to be put on another flight to the destination as soon as possible. This compensation can be obtained, with documented proof, no matter how long the flight was delayed and/or cancelled before the scheduled departure.

Change to departure time

For information relating to a change to departure time, passengers should firstly check the policy of the airline concerned. Additionally, the Civil Aviation Authority states that unless extraordinary circumstances are cited, a change to departure time of more than 3 hours on arrival can be subject to compensation, depending on the length of the flight and the length of delay after 3 hours. Passengers may also claim compensation for the cost of overnight accommodation and additional travel and food expenses, if required. Where a passenger has been informed in advance that their flight will be cancelled or delayed, the airline should offer an alternative. The passenger may be entitled to a refund if the alternative is not acceptable to them. Passengers subject to a change to departure time should also check their travel insurance policy. All documentation relating to a passenger's changed flight should be kept along with relevant receipts.

Change to departure time

Passengers flying from/to an airport on the territory of a Member State of the EU are protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation. In case of a change to departure time, passengers who have confirmed their reservation on the delayed flight are subject to a compensation. If the change to departure time is more than two but less than five hours, passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls or e-mails, plus meals and refreshments. If it is at least the day after the time of initial department, passengers shall be provided with free of charge accommodation and transport. As a consequence of a change to departure time, airlines should offer a reimbursement within seven days by the means of the full price of the ticket or a return to the initial destination as early as possible. However, if the air carrier proves that it took all measures to avoid the delay, the carrier is not liable.

Change to flight time

There are some important points to be considered when using flight airlines for travel, business, vacation or any other reason. It can happen that a flight is late, and there might even be a delay of up to 12 hours. In such cases some issues may apply as regards passengers and their rights. For example, a person should be informed when he has the right to be reimbursed if a change to flight time should occur. The client has to be provided with information regarding his chance of compensation and reimbursement for eventual damage caused by the change to flight time. Passengers have to know what proof is needed in order to demonstrate the actual damage as a direct consequence of the change to flight time. Therefore, before booking a flight, one must be informed about the consequences of an eventual change to flight time.

Aircraft delay

According to EC Regulation No 261/2004 about flight passenger rights, the passenger is entitled to get financial compensation due to experienced aircraft delay. The amount of coverage is defined by the flight distance, and the amount of the aircraft delay. The passenger has to contact the travel agency where he/she has made his/her purchase of the ticket and provide accurate personal data such as his/her name, contact details, ticket number, booking reference, flight number, flight date and other supporting documents if requested. In order to get the reimbursement for possible damages and inconveniences caused by the aircraft delay, the passenger has to fill the complaint form and write the cover letter for the airline with which the aircraft delay was experienced. Should both parties agree on the compensation to be paid, the passenger will get the necessary financial reimbursement requested.


The Citizens Information Board provides information about what to do about an overbooked flight. Overbooking is unfortunately common, but there are several set rules and standards to help with overbooking. Airlines will call to find volunteers and see if they will surrender their seats due to overbooking. Volunteers have several rights: refunds for seven days, preferential re-routing to their final destination, and all at their convenience. If there are not enough volunteers, customers might receive a refund. The amount of coverage is determined by the distance of the flight the customer was unable to board. Hotel accommodation will also be offered free of charge if the waiting time is one one night or more. Customers must present a valid form of ID, such as a government-issued identification card, a driver's license, as well as their passport, flight and credit information.

Loss of luggage

In the case of loss of luggage by an airline, passengers are entitled to claim compensation 21 days after the luggage was lost. Before this time, the luggage is not considered to be lost. Once loss of luggage has been confirmed, the passenger can fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). This form asks for flight details, passenger details, a description of the lost luggage and establishes whether the luggage is covered by insurance. It is important to keep all boarding passes, baggage tags and receipts associated with the lost luggage as proof of loss, and to ensure that things run smoothly when the passenger is claiming reimbursement. In most cases, original receipts for items within the lost luggage will be needed to claim monetary compensation for contents. Passengers are entitled to claim compensation of anything up to approximately 994 British pounds for loss of luggage.

Cancellation of flight route

According to European Regulation No 261/2004 regarding the rights of flight passenger in case of the cancellation of flight route, the flight passenger is entitled to get certain financial compensation. The amount of coverage is defined by the length of the flight, and the amount of delay experienced due to the cancellation of flight route. The passenger should contact his/her travel agency where the purchase of the ticket was made, and provide accurate personal data, contact details, flight details, and any booking references and other supporting documents as requested. The passenger will be also asked to write a cover letter for the airline which has experienced the cancellation of flight route, and to fill the provided EU complaint form. Should reimbursement for damages be accepted by the airline and the amount of coverage be defined, the passenger will get reimbursement for inconveniences caused during travel.

Flight cancellation

According to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 passengers who are flying from or to a Member State of the EU shall be offered an assistance in case of flight cancellation. Only passengers with a confirmed reservation on the cancelled flight are eligible for compensation. The reimbursement can either cover the full cost of the flight ticket or the part of the journey not made, or offer re-routing to the final or the initial destination as early as possible. Passengers subject to flight cancellation are entitled to free of charge meals and refreshments. In addition, free of charge hotel accommodation and transport, as well as compensation ranging from 250 euros to 600 euros depending on the distance to the destination is provided in case of a delay of one or more nights. If the flight cancellation occurred with up to seven days to go, your rights are the same as if the flight was cancelled on the day.

Missed connection

UK laws set guidelines for how to deal with a missed connection. As for coverage and reimbursement, if the flight arrives more than 3 hours behind schedule, the passenger is able to seek compensation, unless the airline can justify the delay as an extraordinary circumstance. Airlines should provide enough time for passengers to check their baggage and change terminals when performing a connection. Average given time is usually 3-4 hours. Shorter times can result in a missed connection. Another option to deal with a missed connection is to purchase UK travel insurance. Some may offer coverage for this particular situation, as well as reimbursement for damages or loss to the passenger's bags. Each company and airline has different policies. The passenger should present valid forms of identification and all pertinent flight and booking information to begin to process a coverage claim.

Pilot / Air traffic controller strike

Passengers worried about their rights when flights are cancelled due to a Pilot / Air traffic controller strike can check their airline's policy in addition to their travel insurance policy. Passengers are entitled to help from their airline in the event of a Pilot / Air traffic controller strike, who should advise on matters such as the right to compensation, the amount to be compensated, and any reimbursements for damages. For example it might be that a passenger has to arrange overnight accommodation in a hotel because of a last minute flight cancellation due to a pilot / air traffic controller strike, where the airline has not itself arranged accommodation. In this case the passenger would be able to claim back reasonable expenses incurred for accommodation, petrol, parking etc, on provision of relevant receipts. Passengers are advised to keep documentation as well as receipts as proof of expenditure.

Boarding denied

According to EC Regulation No 261/2004 concerning flight passenger rights, the passenger is entitled to financial compensation when there is a case of boarding denied. The amount of coverage is defined by the flight length and the length of delay caused by the boarding denied. The extent of financial reimbursement for damages to be paid to the flight passenger as a result of inconvenience shall also depend on the difference between arrival times of the flight booked and the replacement flight provided. In order to receive financial compensation, the passenger should contact the travel agency where the flight ticket was purchased, and provide all necessary personal data and supporting documents outlining flight details. Subsequently, the passenger should fill out the complaint form and cover letter for the airline with which boarding denial was experienced. Shall both parties agree on the amount of coverage for damages caused by boarding denied, financial compensation should be awarded.

Airline insolvency

Airline insolvency is the instance whereby an airline runs out of financial resources. At this point the airline may cease to function. This can have an adverse effect on passengers due to the cancellation of both inbound and outbound flights. In the case of airline insolvency over 24 hours before a flight, passengers can claim compensation if they have paid for travel insurance that specifically covers insolvency. This is important to check, as standard travel insurance packages do not include this. If a flight is purchased and the airline goes into insolvency within 24 hours, the passenger is not entitled to any compensation. If a passenger is covered for airline insolvency by travel insurance, they are not necessarily covered for extra expenses such as transport and hotels. The safest option is to purchase Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI). If airline insolvency occurs, the passenger is entitled to alternative flights or a refund by their travel agent.

Inclement weather and earthquakes at destination

If passengers are flying from or to an airport located in any of the Member States in the EU and have a confirmed reservation, they are protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation. According to which, inclement weather and earthquakes at destination are considered extraordinary circumstances which could not be avoided by the air carrier regardless of the measures taken. If the airline can prove that inclement weather and earthquakes at destination have caused the cancellation of the flight or a delay or diversion, then the passengers are not entitled to any paid compensation. In legal practice circumstances such as inclement weather and earthquakes at destination are called force majeure and air carriers do not have to do much for the passengers. In this situation, the rights to compensation listed in accordance with Article 7 are not applicable and passengers are not reimbursed for damages.

Flight shortage

In the UK flight passenger rights regarding flight shortage vary depending on the situation. Regarding flights that are cancelled, the airline must get a passenger to their destination or issue a refund. In case of a delay of several hours, the airline is required to provide refreshments. If the flight shortage results in a delay of five hours or more, the passenger may choose to cancel the flight, in which case they would be entitled to a refund. In an incident involving a flight shortage, it is important for the passenger to take a few steps to help ease them with the process. First, make sure to save all documentation of the event and request an incident report from the airline. The airline may offer you a voucher, but it should be considered that accepting a voucher may limit a passenger’s right to compensation. Finally, save receipts from any expense due to delay to obtain reimbursement.

Passenger rights and responsibilities Passenger Responsibilities

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