- DELAYED FLIGHT
- CANCELLED FLIGHT
- DENIED BOARDING
- TICKET RETURN
- PERSONS WITH SPECIFIC NEEDS
- TICKET PRICES
Which European authority should consider my complaint regarding violation of provisions of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004?
The competence of the authority is determined pursuant to Article 16(1) of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, in accordance to which each Member State shall designate a body responsible for the enforcement of this Regulation as regards:
- flights from airports located on its territory and
- flights from third countries (i.e. countries outside the EU) to these airports provided they are operated by an EU/EEA air carrier.
The full list of European authorities dealing with the consideration of passengers’ complaints regarding violation of provisions of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 by air carriers can be found in the “Competent authorities in the EU” tab.
Why authorities in other states do not deal with passengers’ individual complaints?
In the light of the order of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of March 2016 (Joined Cases C-145/15 and C-146/15) some air transport executive authorities established their role consisting in general enforcement of provisions (mainly imposing administrative penalties for failure to observe provisions of the Regulation, and they do not deal with individual pursuing of claims by passengers), while others consider individual complaints as well.
The Judgement of the Tribunal (Eight Chamber) of 17 March 2016 - Article 16 of 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, must be interpreted as meaning that, where an individual complaint has been made by a passenger to the body designated by each Member State pursuant to Article 16(1) of the Regulation following the refusal by an air carrier to pay to the passenger the compensation provided for in Article 7(1) of the Regulation, that body is not required to take enforcement action against the air carrier with a view to compelling it to pay the compensation.
In such situations you can seek judicial redress or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
How much time does the air carrier have to respond to the claim?
The claim should be considered within 30 days from the date on which it was made.
The claim procedure is considered to have been exhausted when the air carrier, tour operator or ticket vendor has considered the claim or the time limit for its consideration has lapsed.
If the air carrier, tour operator or ticket vendor did not respond to the claim within 30 days from the date on which it was made the claim is considered to have been deemed justified.
Article 205c(2) and (6) of the Act - Aviation Law
The air carrier does not respond to my claim or its response is not satisfactory for me. What can I do next?
If the air carrier (tour operator or ticket vendor) does not respond to your claim or the response provided is not satisfying for you, you are entitled to submit an application for initiating the ADR proceedings to the Passengers’ Rights Ombudsman or seek judicial redress.
What is the time limit for lodging a complaint to the Ombudsman?
You can lodge a complaint with Passengers’ Rights Ombudsman if 30 days have lapsed from making a claim with the air carrier (exhausted claim proceedings), but not later than 1 year from the carriage and if the carriage was not performed - from the day on which it was to be performed (after this date passenger claims are time-barred).
Article 205c(2) and (7) of the Act - Aviation Law
When my claims are time-barred, how much time do I have to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman?
Pecuniary claims and complaints arising from provisions of the Regulation No 261/2004/EC and 2111/2005/EC are time-barred after 1 year from the date of performing the carriage and if the carriage has not been performed - from the date on which it was to be performed.
Article 205c(7) of the Act - Aviation Law
Submitting complaints by electronic means
Documents sent by the parties do not have to be signed with the qualified electronic signature or ePUAP Trusted Profile. It is enough to fill in the form available on the website. The correspondence is sent via e-mail.
The procedure of lodging a complaint by electronic means with the qualified electronic signature or confirmed by ePUAP Trusted Profile is described on the website of the Civil Aviation Authority www.ulc.gov.pl, in the Correspondence with the electronic signature tab.
Am I entitled to compensation for a delayed flight?
Passengers have the right to compensation provided for in Article 7 of the Regulation (EC) no. 261/2004 when they reach their final destination three hours or more after the arrival time originally scheduled by the air carrier.
However, not every delay gives a right to compensation pursuant to the provisions of the Regulation 261/2004/EC. This is confirmed by orders of the Court of Justice in cases C-402/07 and C-432/07.
Compensation shall not be due when the air carrier proves that a long delay resulted from circumstances beyond its control (e.g. the closure of the airport due to adverse weather conditions).
The burden of proof concerning proving that the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken shall rest with the operating air carrier.
Pursuant to the order of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 19 November 2009 in Joined Cases C-402/07 and C-432/07 passengers whose flights are delayed may rely on the right to compensation laid down in Article 7 of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 when they reach their final destination three hours or more after the arrival time originally scheduled by the air carrier. Such a delay does not, however, entitle passengers to compensation if the air carrier can prove that the cancellation or long delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of the air carrier.
Due to the 5-hour delay of the departure of the flight I reached my destination many hours after the scheduled arrival time. Am I entitled to reimbursement of the partial or full cost of the ticket?
In such a case you are not entitled to reimbursement of the partial or full cost of the ticket because the air carrier has complied with its obligation to carry you to your final destination. You would be entitled to reimbursement if after the 5-hour waiting time the flight would no longer serve any purpose related to the original travel plan, e.g. a business meeting. In such a case the carrier should additionally provide you with a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity.
In the event of a delay you are entitled to compensation.
I bought the flight from Paris to Kraków but my plane landed in Poznań. Is the carrier responsible for additional costs related to my journey to Kraków?
Pursuant to the agreement concluded the air carrier should carry the passenger to the place indicated on the ticket as the final destination. If it did not do so and the passenger was forced to continue the journey at his/her own expense, as a rule, the carrier should reimburse the costs incurred by the passenger on the basis of presented receipts, e.g. railway tickets.
Due to the delay/cancellation of the flight/denied boarding I missed a further (air, railway, bus, taxi) connection. Can the carrier refuse to reimburse for the missed connection?
The carrier may refuse to reimburse you in this case if it reserved the right to it in the Rules of rendering services of passenger and baggage carriage which the passenger accepts upon signing the agreement for performing the air carriage, i.e. the purchase of a ticket. However, it is worth mentioning that costs of missed connections may constitute the evidence that the damage caused by the delay/cancellation of the flight or denied boarding occurred, which can be used in the civil court proceedings.
What rights do I have in the event of flight cancellation?
In case of cancellation of a flight the carrier is obliged to provide assistance and pay compensation. The amount of compensation is from EUR 250 to 600 (depending on the distance of the flight).
Passengers are not entitled to compensation if they are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure or if they are informed of the cancellation between 7-14 days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival. There are similar restrictions in the payment of compensation when the carrier informs passengers on the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure, but is such a case they should be offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.
Apart from compensation, passengers have the right to assistance provided by airlines - free meals and refreshments, the possibility of phone or e-mail contact with close relatives and in some cases also the accommodation in a hotel, along with the transport between it and the airport if passengers wait for an alternative flight proposed by the same air carrier
- Article 5 of the Regulation 261/2004/EC.
I was denied boarding because due to the delay of the previous flight I reached the gate too late. Do I have any rights in such a situation?
If both flights are a part of the same reservation, an air carrier must offer either the ticket refund and the return ticket to the place where the first flight started, as soon as possible, or re-routing so that the passenger can be transported as quickly as possible to the final destination, or re-routing in order to transport you to the final destination at a later date of your choice under comparable conditions, if there are free seats on the plane. In case of re-routing and reaching the final destination with at least three hours of delay, you are entitled to compensation.
Is it possible to return the ticket on personal grounds?
A lot depends on the customer service policy of a given carrier and its Rules and Regulations for rendering passenger and luggage carriage services. Concluding the agreement with a carrier (i.e. buying an air ticket) you accept the provisions of the Rules and Regulations. Possible amounts to be refunded or compensations should be established pursuant to these provisions. These issues are not regulated by the provisions of Aviation Law.
The specificity of air services is the fact that a carrier bears expenses before rendering a service, thus, despite of returning the ticket the deducted amounts may be high. It is worth mentioning, however, that unlawful contractual provisions are, inter alia, such provisions which impose an obligation on a consumer who has not performed an obligation or has rescinded the contract to pay excessively high liquidated damages or compensation for loss of contract (Article 385 of the Civil Code).
However, if a carrier refuses to refund or pay the compensation, you can bring action before the civil court and pursue your claims.
A carrier promised me to refund an unused ticket/a flight not taken, but I have not received it until this day.
There may be a lot of reasons of the delay in refund by air carriers. Common reasons are: lack of address and passenger's bank account number; lack of the passenger bank's SWIFT or IBAN codes (in the case of international transfers); delays in transmitting the transfer order to the carrier's accounting department; delays caused by the bank servicing the carrier. In all situations we recommend contacting the customer service centre of a given carrier and establishing the reason for delay.
PERSONS WITH SPECIFIC NEEDS
I am disabled and I plan to go by plane. I would like to know whether there are any provisions regulating the situation of the disabled travelling by plane?
Yes, such provisions exist in the Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air (OJ L 204 of 26 July 2006). The Regulation contains, inter alia, definitions of the disabled person and the person with reduced mobility and establishes the principles of protection and assistance for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility travelling by plane. Pursuant to the provisions of the Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 ‘disabled person’ or ‘person with reduced mobility’ means any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and the adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service made available to all passengers.
Can pregnant woman travel by plane?
Generally, there are no contraindications to travel by plane for pregnant women but before the journey - irrespective of how advanced their pregnancy is, taking into consideration the woman’s and child’s health - it is worth consulting this idea with the doctor and obtaining a certificate stating that there are not contradictions to take the journey. Passengers may be asked to present it at the passenger check-in desk, at the so-called gates and even after taking their seats on the plane. It is also worth remembering that air carriers include the conditions related to the carriage of pregnant women in their rules and regulations of the carriage and it is advisable to familiarise oneself with such documents before the journey. Furthermore, it must be mentioned that a pregnant woman should be treated as a person with reduced mobility.
Who is responsible for hold baggage from the moment of dropping off to the moment of collecting it by the passenger at airport of destination?
An air carrier is responsible for hold baggage from the moment of dropping off to the moment of collecting it by the passenger at airport of destination.
My baggage was lost/stolen/delayed/damaged. How and where can I pursue my claims arising from this fact?
The Civil Aviation Authority is not competent to consider complaints related to the damage, theft, delay or loss of the baggage. These matters are regulated by the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air concluded in Montreal on 28 May 1999 (Journal of Laws of 2007, no. 37, item 235), the text of which may be found on the website: http://www.ulc.gov.pl/_download/kopp/prawa_pax_konw_montreal.pdf.
Complaints related to the damage, theft, delay or loss of the baggage should be submitted to an air carrier. The loss or damage of the baggage should be reported immediately, by filling in the PIR report, i.e. property irregularity report.
Furthermore, the claim must be made to the carrier within 7 days from collecting the damaged baggage (the time limit is 21 days if at the same time the baggage was at the same time delayed).
Carriers do not pay liquidated damages (they only have a maximum limit of the amount paid), this is why the passenger should indicate the amount of damage. The claim should contain the value of the damaged suitcase and its content (it is best to present bills, otherwise the airline will appraise the value on its own).
If a carrier does not respond to your claim or the response is not satisfying for you, you can seek judicial redress.
In the court proceedings you may obtain the assistance of the Poviat (Municipal) Consumer Ombudsman, who pursuant to Article 42(2) of the Act of 16 February 2007 on the protection of competitors and consumers (Journal of Laws of 2015, item 1634) may in particular bring action on behalf of consumers and join, with their consent, the pending proceedings concerning the protection of consumers’ interests. The competent Consumer Ombudsman is determined according to the passenger’s place of residence. The list of Ombudsmen can be found at: https://uokik.gov.pl/rzecznicy.php.
When the dispute concerns a foreign carrier from the European Union area, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Switzerland you may seek the assistance of the European Consumer Centre (ECC). The centre will help you in negotiations with a foreign carrier.
Can airlines advertise tickets at attractive prices, e.g. PLN 1 and in fact add series of additional charges?
Pursuant to Article 23 of the Regulation No 1008/2008/EC, carriers are obliged to inform passengers about all fees contributing to the final price of the ticket.
The information on all costs must be transparent from the moment of the booking process the final price should be clearly given and should comprise the price of air ticket and taxes due, charges, surcharges and fees which are inevitable and known at the moment of making the price quotation available. This information must be presented to the passenger, broken down by the ticket price and other fees. Optional elements should be presented in a clear, transparent and unequivocal manner at the beginning of the booking process and the passenger should be given an opportunity to accept or reject them.
If airlines do not provide all costs related thereto in flight advertisements they mislead consumers.
Answers to other passengers' questions can also be found at: