The rights of airline passengers are those of any traveller, i.e. to leave at the agreed date and time, to arrive at their destination without problems and to recover their luggage in good condition.

To this effect, the European legislator set out a series of protective rules, particularly in the event of denied boarding (overbooking), cancellation, the significant delay of a flight or loss of or damage to luggage.

Denied Boarding, Significant Delay or Cancellation of a Flight

Regulation (EC) 261/2004 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 a flight, offers passengers greater protection in the event of denied boarding, or the cancellation or significant delay of a flight.

This protection applies to all flights (charter or regular, traditional or low-cost), whether the ticket was purchased from a travel agency or from the airline itself.

However, you must have a confirmed booking for the flight in question and go to check-in at the time previously indicated; if no time has been specified, you must be present at the latest 45 minutes before the published departure time.

The protection offered by Regulation (EC) 261/2004 does not apply to passengers travelling free or at a reduced price not directly or indirectly accessible to the public. It does, however, apply to tickets issued as part of a loyalty programme.

The airline must pay particular attention to the needs of persons with reduced mobility and the persons accompanying them, as well as to those of unaccompanied minors.

The compensation provided for in Regulation (EC) 261/2004 does not prevent you from submitting an application for additional compensation for damage. 

Geographically, Regulation 261/2004 applies:

  • to all flights leaving from an airport within a Member State of the European Union, whatever the arrival airport and whatever the nationality of the carrier;
  • to all flights to an airport within a Member State of the European Union, whatever the departure airport, if the airline is considered "Community", i.e. if it has a licence issued by a European Union member;
  • to all flights from a third country to a third country, if these flights include at least one stopover in Europe.

Lost or Damaged Luggage

For all European Union Member States, the Montreal Convention governs the civil liability of airlines in the event of damage to passengers, their luggage and goods during international air transport.

It applies to flights between two States that have ratified it, and through Regulation (EC) 889/2002, to all flights by "Community" airlines.

The Montreal Convention sets a total ceiling per claim for lost and damaged luggage.

Last update
21 October 2022