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Thread: Volcano Ash Flight Disruptions - know your EU rights

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    Default Volcano Ash Flight Disruptions - know your EU rights

    As flights across the EU continue to be grounded due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) in Ireland has reminded consumers that even in these exceptional circumstances their Air Passenger rights continue to apply. This was reiterated in a statement from EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, in Brussels yesterday.

    Under EU rules, the airlines continue to have a "Duty of Care" for stranded passengers which means food and accommodation where needed. Passengers are also entitled to re-routing or a full refund. The only thing which does not apply in the case of 'exceptional circumstances' is the payment of compensation.

    Passengers are advised to keep all receipts for costs incurred. See below for full text from ECC.

    1. If your flight has been cancelled

    1. Under Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 airlines are required to offer passengers either a refund of the full cost of the ticket or rerouting to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience subject to availability.
    2. While awaiting the earliest available rerouted flight, passengers are entitled to receive care and assistance from an airline. In such cases the airline is specifically required to supply meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting period, two free telephone calls, emails or faxes and hotel accommodation if an overnight stay is required.
    3. Passengers affected by disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud will, however, be unable to claim compensation under the Regulation, since these cancellations are caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the airline


    2. If you are stranded abroad

    1. Passengers unable to return home due to the travel disruptions are entitled to receive care and assistance from the airline as outlined above. Passengers must also be provided with a text setting out their entitlements.
    2. If no assistance is provided and passengers incur reasonable expenses as a result, these must be reimbursed by the airline. Passengers should ensure they keep receipts for all expenses incurred and to contact the airline in writing on their return home enclosing copies of these receipts.
    3. For consumers stranded outside the EU, it is important to remember that the Regulation only applies to air carriers licensed in a Member State of the EU.


    3. If you are travelling on a package holiday

    If your trip was booked as a package holiday, you have stronger protection under the Package Holiday Directive. If trips are cancelled and tour operators cannot get you to your destination they must offer you the choice between a replacement package of equivalent or superior quality, a lower grade package with a refund of the difference in price between the two packages, or a full refund. Passengers on package holidays who are stranded in a destination must be looked after by their tour operator, and the operator is obliged to get them home.

    4. What about my hotel and car hire bookings that were not booked as part of a package?

    Airlines are not obliged to cover the cost of missed booking made by passengers who organised their holidays independently. Nonetheless, passengers might not lose their money. They should contact the service provider to see if it is possible to change their plans or receive a refund. If the provider is unwilling to assist, consumers should contact their insurer as such circumstances may be covered by their particular travel insurance policy.

    According to Caroline Curneen, spokesperson for ECC Ireland, “While this difficult situation is undoubtedly placing great pressure on the travel industry as well as on travellers, this shouldn’t prevent passengers receiving the care and assistance from airlines that they are entitled to.”

    ECC Ireland is one of a network of consumer advice centres across the EU, jointly funded by governments and the European Commission. The network is there to provide information to consumers in the Single EU Market and to give advice and support when things go wrong.

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    Politics.ie Member seabhcan's Avatar
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    I have a question.

    I was stuck in London on Thursday. I didn't manage to rebook because the website was down. I spent two extra nights in a hotel before getting a train and ferry home.

    What does Aer Lingus have to refund?

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    Quote Originally Posted by seabhcan View Post
    I have a question.

    I was stuck in London on Thursday. I didn't manage to rebook because the website was down. I spent two extra nights in a hotel before getting a train and ferry home.

    What does Aer Lingus have to refund?
    Feck all bar your return air fare. You broke your contract with them by making your own arrangements to return.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Mac View Post
    I just heard that dolt Ray D'Arcy dispensing erroneous advice to some idiot that chose to sleep in an Airport sooner than take a bed in a house 40 minutes from JFK

    He yammered on that the lady should stay in a hotel and bill Aer Lingus.

    Ray is wrong and I hope that he personally compensates anyone that acts on his erroneous advice.

    Here is why Ray and others are WRONG:

    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


    (14) As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating
    air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases
    where an event has been caused by extraordinary
    circumstances
    which could not have been avoided even
    if all reasonable measures had been taken. Such circumstances
    may, in particular, occur in cases
    of political
    instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with
    the operation of the flight concerned
    , security risks,
    unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that
    affect the operation of an operating air carrier.

    (15) Extraordinary circumstances should be deemed to exist
    where the impact of an air traffic management decision

    in relation to a particular aircraft on a particular day
    gives rise to a long delay, an overnight delay, or the
    cancellation of one or more flights by that aircraft, even
    though all reasonable measures had been taken by the
    air carrier concerned to avoid the delays or cancellations.

    If anyone is accountable it is the IAA or Eurocontrol who kneejerked with their initial closure of Irish Airspace
    that is correct re compensation but you are entitled to your accomodation and 3 meals a day - even Ryanair acknowledge this (MO'L was giving out about it yesterday!)

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    Ray is right. You have an absolute entitlement to hotel and food costs throughout the time it takes the airline to get you home. It is only when it comes to financial compensation of top of these rights that 'exceptional circumstances' etc arise. Only applies to EU airlines though, if that person flew say Continental then rules do not apply.

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    Politics.ie Member Interista's Avatar
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    I thought airlines were only obliged to pay for accomodation for 2 days after the initial disruption?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Interista View Post
    I thought airlines were only obliged to pay for accomodation for 2 days after the initial disruption?
    No. There is no time limit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kerrynorth View Post
    Feck all bar your return air fare. You broke your contract with them by making your own arrangements to return.
    So I should have hung out at the hotel? In fact, I should still be there? Thats a bit mad.

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    Politics.ie Member Interista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerrynorth View Post
    No. There is no time limit.
    OK thanks for the correction.

    BTW do these "EU rules" apply to all passengers, not just those with EU passports? A friend of mine - Canadian citizen - is stuck in London and can't get home. She was booked to fly with BA. Are BA obliged to pay for her hotel and meals, even though she is not an EU citizen?

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    applies to all passengers on any flight operated by an eu based airline and any flight operated by a non eu airline from an eu airport.

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