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Denied boarding? Cancellation? Long delay? Lost baggage?
In February 2005, EC Regulation 261/2004 came into effect. This Regulation establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in certain situations. This legislation applies to passengers departing from airports situated within the territory of a member State and all those arriving into such airports from a third country where the flight is operated by an EU carrier.
Your rights when traveling by air include:
- the right to information;
- the right to reimbursement or re-routing if your flight gets cancelled or you are denied boarding, the right to reimbursement if your flight is delayed by five hours or more;
- the right to assistance and, under certain circumstances, the right to compensation in the event of long delay, cancellation or denied boarding;
- the right to complain and have access to means of redress;
- the right to travel in the same conditions as other citizens if you have disabilities or reduced mobility.
People with disabilities and/or reduced mobility are protected from being discriminated against during reservation and boarding. They are also entitled to receive assistance at airports (on departure, on arrival and in transit) and on board airplanes. In order to facilitate the provision of assistance, it is recommended to pre-notify your needs.
When passengers are denied boarding on a flight, airlines are obliged to first seek volunteers to give up their reservation in exchange for certain benefits. In addition, the air carrier must also offer volunteers the choise between a full refund and re-routing. You may be entitled to compesation of between €125 and €600 depending on the distance of the flight and the delays experienced before being re-routed. Where volunteers choose re-routing, the airline must also provide assistance if necessary and transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation.
You are also entitled to identical compensation to that offered when you are denied boarding, unless you were informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before the flight, or you were re-routed close to your original times, or if the airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances. In addition the airline must offer you the choise between
- reimbursement of your ticket within seven days;
- re-routing to your final destination under similar conditions;
and if necessary, care (phone call, refreshments, food, accommodation, transportation to the accommodation).
You are entitled to care by the airline (phone call, refreshments, meal, accommodation, transportation to the place of accommodation) if the delay is
- two hours or more for flights of 1500 km or less;
- three hours or more for longer flights within the European Union or for other flights of between 1500 km and 3000 km;
- four hours or more for flights of over 3500 km outside the European Union.
If the delay is more than five hours, and you decide not to continue your journey, you are also entitled to have your ticket reimbursed and be flown back to where you originally started your journey.
If you get to your final destination with a delay of three hours or more, you may be entitled to identical compensation to that offered when your flight gets cancelled, unless the airline can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, airlines can be held liable for damages resulting from delays.
If your baggage is lost, damaged or delayed, you may be entitled to compensation limited to about €1220. However, airlines shall not be liable if they have taken all reasonable measures to avoid the damages or it was impossible to take such measures.
For damaged baggage, you must lodge a claim to the airline within seven days of receiving your baggage. For delayed receipt of baggage, this period is a maximum of 21 days.
The organizers and retailers of package holidays are obliged to provide precise, complete information about booked package holydays. They are obliged to honour contractual terms and to protect passengers in the event of insolvency.
What should you do if you believe your passenger rights have been infringed?
If you consider that your entitlements under air passenger rights legislation have been breached:
- You should first contact the airline or - for issues related to persons with reduced mobility - the airport.
- If you are not satisfied with their response, you can lodge a complaint with Civil Aviation Authority, which is the body responsible for ensuring respect for passenger rights within the territory of Albania.
Contact Civil Aviation Authority at:
Phone: +355 4 2251 220/ Fax: +355 4 2223 969/ [email protected]
If the incident took place in one of the European Union countries you should lodge the complain with one of the National Enforcement Bodies (NEB).
Full details of all the National Enforcement Bodies can be found on the European Commission’s website.
Note: Complaints should in priciple be filed in the country where the incident took place.
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