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As a consumer, you are protected under EU Regulation 261/2004. Avoiding technical terms, this doctrine states that you have the right to claim for compensation if your flight has been delayed for more than three hours (arriving or departing). If this is the case, the airline is obligated to provide you with refreshments (this will usually be a voucher) and an ability to contact the necessary people for free. They pay for long-distance calls and other expenses.
If your flight is delayed overnight, the airline is also obliged to provide you with the appropriate hotel accommodations near the airport. However, there can be times when a major disruption causes the local hotels to be overbooked. In such an event, you can still claim these costs back against the company. You will need to provide any receipts so that the company knows the exact amount they are required to pay.
This is where many passengers get slightly confused. Below you will see a breakdown of the amounts that you are entitled to assuming that your flight was delayed or cancelled:
However, always remember that these are the rules which govern the European Union. The same figures are not likely to apply if you plan on travelling to and from the United States. It is best to speak to your carrier to determine the associated amounts and levels of compensation.
Another point to mention is that there are times when “exceptional circumstances” are not covered by this form of compensation. Some examples here can include severe weather conditions, terrorist alerts, national disasters or a known security threat.
The first thing that you should do is to request a compensation claim form from the airline or an airline representative. They are required to provide you with this documentation. Normally, the case will be resolved in a matter of days or (at the most) weeks. If you are denied and you still feel that you have a valid claim, you are advised to contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). They will ask you for all relevant documentation and they will then review your case to see if you are entitled to a reward. Assuming that you were travelling to or from a nation outside of the European Union, you must contact the National Enforcement Body (NEB) of the home country of the airline. A similar process will take place. You are legally allowed to file a claim for an incident which occurred up to six years in the past.
These are some of the main points to keep in mind when filing a claim for compensation. Knowing your rights and the responsibilities of the airlines is key in coming to an ultimate agreement.