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Agreement on compensation and assistance to passengers in case of denied boarding, cancelled flights or delayed flights

The Council adopted this morning the Regulation, in accordance with the joint text agreed by the Conciliation Committee, on the…

The Council adopted this morning the Regulation, in accordance with the joint text agreed by the Conciliation Committee, on the introduction of common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights. The Irish and United Kingdom delegations voted against and Germany abstained.



This Regulation updates Regulation EEC/295/91, notably by strengthening the rights of passengers in the event of being denied boarding or cancellation of their flights, and providing them assistance. It will enter into force 12 months from the date of its publication on the Official Journal which will take place in the next weeks.

The most important provisions agreed upon the Council and the Parliament are as follows:


  • The Regulation determines the amount of compensation to be paid to passengers in the case of denied boarding on the basis of a three-distance band system, which distinguishes between three categories of flights: a) 250€ for flights of less than 1.500 km; b) 400€ intra-Community flights of more than 1.500 km or all other flights between 1.500 km and 3.500 km; c) 600€ all flights not falling under (a) or (b). This system for defining passengers` rights is extended also to flight delays. In case of denied boarding, passengers will also have the right to choose between being re-routed or reimbursed of their ticket. They will also be entitled to free meals, refreshments and hotel accommodation.

  • The compensation will be paid immediately in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

  • As regards cancelled flights,: the solution retained is a definition saying that cancellation means the non operation of a flight which was previously planned and on which at least one place was reserved. In case of cancellation of flights where they are the sole responsibility of air carriers, in certain cases, passengers will be entitled to compensation. Anyway, passengers will be offered assistance such as meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation and reimbursement when a cancellation delays a passenger for at least five hours.

  • The terms of the assistance to be provided to passengers in case of delayed flights: on the basis on this Regulation, passengers will be entitled to have free meal and phone calls when their flights are delayed. Furthermore, if the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the next day after the time of departure previously announced, then passengers will be entitled to hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and place of accommodation. In cases of delays longer than five hours, passengers will be also offered reimbursement within seven days if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger`s original travel plan.

  • Concerning the check-in times: in order to be entitled to measures provided for in the Regulation, passengers must have a confirmed reservation on a flight and present themselves for check-in either as stipulated by the air carrier or tour operator or 45 minutes before the published departure time, if no other time had been stipulated.


On the extension of this Regulation to other modes of transport, this matter is dealt with in a declaration from the Commission stating its intention to make proposals to extend Community measures of passenger protection to other modes of transport than air, notably rail and maritime navigation.

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