Air passengers — know your rights

If you are jetting off on your holiday it is important that you are aware of your rights as an air passenger. The European Union have created regulations to protect air passengers whose flights may be delayed or cancelled.

The regulations have been created to protect air passengers who travel on domestic and international flights taking off from any airport in the European Union. People flying into the EU from overseas will also be covered by the legislations as long as they are travelling on a European airline.

The rules for reimbursement, rerouting and compensation aren't as complicated as you may think:

Right to reimbursement or rerouting

If you are denied boarding or face delays of more than 5 hours, or your flight is overbooked or cancelled you have the right to choose between being rerouted to your destination or having the cost of your ticket reimbursed.

If you decide to get a reimbursement of the cost of your ticket you give up the right to any further onward travel, re-routing or assistance from the airline company-so think carefully before choosing this option.

It is your airlines responsibility to inform you about your rights and the reason for denied boarding, cancellation or delay (if more than 2 hours).

Depending on the flight distance and length of delay you may be entitled to refreshments, meals and an overnight stay.

Right to compensation

If you are denied boarding, or your flight is cancelled or arrives at its destination more than 3 hours late you may be entitled to compensation of 250- 600 Euros. This will depend on the distance of the flight.

If the airline offers you an alternative flight with a similar schedule the compensation that you receive may be reduced by 50%. If the reason for your flights cancellation is within the airlines control they must pay compensation.

You will not receive compensation if the cancellation of your flight is due to extraordinary circumstances, you were informed of the cancellation 2 weeks prior to the scheduled flight date or you were offered an alternative for the same route with a similar schedule to the original one.

In extraordinary circumstances you may not have the right to compensation however your airline must offer you the choice between reimbursement of your ticket or rerouting.

How to get reimbursement or compensation

To find out more about how to make a claim for compensation read our article: How to claim compensation from your airline after a flight delay. Or visit the Civil Aviation Authority website.

Does your travel insurance cover you?

In addition to the EU regulations most travel insurance policies will cover you for travel delay, which is designed to cover additional expenses while you wait at the airport. It will also allow you to abandon your holiday after 12 or 24 hours of being delayed and make a claim for the cost up to the limit stated in the policy.Don't forget that if your flight is delayed or cancelled EU regulations are there to protect you however, it is also the airlines responsibility to provide assistance when required.