Asserting your rights if you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed

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European Union (EU) action in the field of air transport aims in particular to ensure a high level of protection for passengers.

A common set of rules applies to air passenger compensation and assistance in the case of:

  • denial of boarding
  • cancellation of flights;
  • significant delay of a flight.

At the same time, there are also certain rules and a specific protection of consumers with respect to package holidays and linked travel arrangements.

Travellers whose rights have been violated can file a complaint with the airline. If the airline fails to respond or if the response to the complaint is not provided to the client's satisfaction within 2 months, the complainant should then contact the Ministry of Consumer Protection.

Who is concerned?

Any traveller can assert their rights if:

  • they are denied boarding;
  • their flight is significantly delayed;
  • their flight is cancelled.

The common rules for passenger compensation and assistance apply to:

  • passengers departing from airports located within the EU;
  • passengers:
    • departing from an airport in a third country;
    • bound for an airport in the EU;
    • via an European airline.

These provisions do not apply to passengers who:

  • travel for free;
  • indirectly benefited from a reduced rate.

Prerequisites

For these rights to be applicable, travellers must:

  • have a confirmed booking for the flight in question;
  • have checked in:
    • at the time specified by the airline in advance and in writing (including electronically); or
    • if no time is specified, between 45 minutes and 2 hours before the departure time (depending on the airport).

How to proceed

Denial of boarding

Voluntarily surrendering one's booking

In case of a denial of boarding, the passenger has the possibility to accept the denial and to voluntarily waive his reservation in exchange for certain services to be agreed with the airline.

If a passenger voluntarily gives up their reservation, the airline must, in addition to the benefits to be agreed:

  • refund the passenger's ticket at the purchase price:
    • for the part(s) of the trip not made;
    • for the part(s) of the trip already made and which has/have become useless taking into account the initial travel plan (with, if applicable, a free flight to the point of departure at the earliest opportunity); or
  • re-route the passenger to their final destination by offering a replacement flight, under comparable transport conditions, at the earliest opportunity; or
  • re-route the passenger to their final destination under comparable conditions and at a later date, subject to the availability of seats.

The airline must cover the cost of transfers between 2 airports or any other close destination agreed with the passenger, if:

  • the final destination of the traveller is a city, town or area served by more than one airport;
  • the airline offers the passenger a flight to different airport than originally planned.

Opting not to surrender one's booking voluntarily

In case of denied boarding, the traveller may refuse to renounce his reservation and, therefore, not to volunteer.

In such cases, the traveller is entitled to:

  • the reimbursement of his ticket or the routing to his final destination under the same conditions as a traveller who volunteered;
  • a compensation of:
    • EUR 250 for flights up to 1,500 km;
    • EUR 400 for flights within the EU of over 1,500 km, and for all other flights from 1,500 to 3,500 km;
    • EUR 600 for flights outside the EU of over 3,500 km.

In addition, the amount of compensation to which travellers who do not voluntarily surrender their booking are entitled is reduced by 50% if they are re-routed to their final destination on a flight other than the initial flight under the following conditions:

  • for flights up to 1,500 km: if the difference between the time of arrival of the re-routed flight and the arrival time of the originally scheduled flight does not exceed 2 hours;
  • for flights within the EU of over 1,500 km, and for all other flights of 1,500 to 3,500 km: if the difference between the time of arrival of the re-routed flight and the arrival time of the originally scheduled flight does not exceed 3 hours;
  • for flights outside the EU of over 3,500 km: if the difference between the time of arrival of the re-routed flight and the arrival time of the originally scheduled flight does not exceed 4 hours;

The airline must also offer travellers:

  • meals/snacks and refreshments;
  • 2 telephone calls, telexes, faxes or e-mails;
  • accommodation at a hotel (with transfer costs), in case a stay of one or more nights is required.

Cancelled flights

Compensation and assistance

If the flight is cancelled, the passenger can chose between:

  • the refund of the original ticket price; or
  • request a replacement flight under comparable conditions of transport at the earliest opportunity.

If the passenger was informed of the cancellation less than 2 weeks before the scheduled departure date, they are also entitled to a compensation which may vary between EUR 250 and 600:

  • EUR 250 for flights up to 1,500 km;
  • EUR 400 for flights within the EU of over 1,500 km, and for all other flights from 1,500 to 3,500 km;
  • EUR 600 for flights outside the EU of over 3,500 km.

Airlines are not required to pay such compensation if they are able to prove that the cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances.

The passenger is also entitled to a coverage of:

  • refreshments;
  • a meal;
  • accommodation;
  • 2 free phone calls.

If the coverage has not been offered when it should have been, the passenger can claim a reimbursement of the costs incurred from the air carrier, provided that the amounts spent are:

  • necessary;
  • appropriate;
  • reasonable.

Delayed flights

If a flight is delayed, airlines are required to offer passengers certain services if they anticipate delays of:

  • 2 hours or more for flights up to 1,500 km;
  • 3 hours or more for flights within the EU of over 1,500 km, and for all other flights from 1,500 to 3,500 km;
  • 4 hours or more for flights outside the EU of over 3,500 km.
In particular, it must offer:
  • meals/snacks and refreshments;
  • 2 telephone calls, telexes, faxes or emails.

If the delay is 5 hours or more, travellers are entitled to a refund of the ticket at the purchase price:

  • for the part(s) of the trip not made;
  • for the part(s) of the trip already made and which has/have become useless taking into account the initial travel plan (with, if applicable, a free flight to the point of departure at the earliest opportunity).

Compensation offered in the event of cancellation or denied boarding must also be given to passengers whose flight is delayed for 3 hours or more, unless the airline provides evidence that the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances.

If the delay requires an overnight stay, the airline must also provide accommodation at a hotel, with the transfer costs included.

Upgrades and downgrades

If the airline assigns a passenger to:

  • a lower class than the one for which the ticket was purchased (downgrade), the passenger must be reimbursed within 7 days:
    • 30% of the ticket price for all flights of 1,500 km or less;
    • 50% of the ticket price for all flights within the EU of over 1,500 km—excluding flights between the European territories of the Member States and the French overseas departments—and for all other flights from 1,500 km to 3,500 km;
    • 75% of the ticket price for flights outside the EU of over 3,500 km;
  • a higher class than the one for which the ticket was purchased (upgrade), the carrier cannot claim any supplement for this.

Priority is given to:

  • people with special needs;
  • unaccompanied children;
  • people with reduced mobility and any person or certified guide dog accompanying them.

Disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility

A person who is disabled or has reduced mobility may not be denied boarding on account of their disability, except for:

  • safety reasons; or
  • specific technical reasons.

In this case, the person in question must be informed within 5 working days and an acceptable alternative solution must be proposed.

For organisational reasons, and to guarantee the delivery of the best possible service to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, it is strongly advised that the airport or the airline be informed of those specific needs (such as wheelchairs):

  • as precisely as possible;
  • at least 48 hours before the flight.

Lodging a complaint

Travellers who wish to file a complaint must first contact the customer service of the airline in question.

In general, airlines respond within 2 months.

In the event that the company's response is not satisfactory, the traveller can lodge a complaint with the Air Passenger Rights service of the Ministry of Consumer Protection via:

  • the online assistant for filing a complaint;
  • by downloading the complaint form and sending it, completed, dated and signed:
    • by email to: passagersaeriens@mpc.etat.lu
    • by post to:
      Ministère de la Protection des consommateurs – Droits des passagers aériens
      271, route d’Arlon
      L-1150 Luxembourg-Ville

Disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility may file a complaint with the Directorate of Civil Aviation.

Online services and forms

Who to contact

Directorate for Consumer Protection

Map

Ministry of Consumer Protection

European Consumer Centre EIG

  • European Consumer Centre EIG

    Address:
    271, route d’Arlon L-1150 Luxembourg Luxembourg
    Closed ⋅ Opens at 9.00
    Tuesday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Wednesday:
    9.00 to 13.00
    Thursday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Friday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Saturday:
    Closed
    Sunday:
    Closed
    Monday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Opening hours and telephone reception hours:
    Monday to Friday from 09.00 - 16.00, except on Wednesdays (09.00 - 13.00).

European Consumer Centre EIG

  • European Consumer Centre EIG

    Address:
    271, route d’Arlon L-1150 Luxembourg Luxembourg
    Closed ⋅ Opens at 9.00
    Tuesday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Wednesday:
    9.00 to 13.00
    Thursday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Friday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Saturday:
    Closed
    Sunday:
    Closed
    Monday:
    9.00 to 16.00
    Opening hours and telephone reception hours:
    Monday to Friday from 09.00 - 16.00, except on Wednesdays (09.00 - 13.00).

Related procedures and links

Procedures

Rights and responsibilities of travellers

Links

Further information

Legal references

  • Règlement (CE) n° 261/2004 du Parlement européen et du Conseil du 11 février 2004

    établissant des règles communes en matière d'indemnisation et d'assistance des passagers en cas de refus d'embarquement et d'annulation ou de retard important d'un vol

  • Loi du 25 avril 2018

    portant modification du Code de la consommation en ce qui concerne les voyages à forfait et les prestations de voyages liées, et modifiant la loi modifiée du 2 septembre 2011 réglementant l’accès aux professions d’artisan, de commerçant, d’industriel ainsi qu’à certaines professions libérales

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