Flights Cancelled -Your Rights

Flights Cancelled -Your Rights

Disruption to flights and package travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic – customer information

Flights Cancelled -Your Rights; The COVID-19 pandemic has caused sudden and severe disruption to worldwide travel. Restrictions put in place by governments for reasons of public health have led to the disruption of the travel plans of many citizens with reduced flights scheduled and widespread cancellation of flights in many instances. The sudden halt to airlines services and surge in the volume of cancellation requests from customers has also put many service providers, airlines and tour operator/travel agents alike, under pressure as they attempt to deal with this unprecedented situation. This information note provides guidance on the options available to customers who may wish to adjust or cancel their flight or package travel plans in light of the crisis, and provides links to other information sources that may be of use.

Flight cancellations

Under EU law (Regulation 261/2004), air passengers have the right to a refund or re-routing where an airline cancels their flight. Under the current circumstances, many airlines are offering vouchers for flights at a later date to customers. This does not change the situation under EU law that airlines are required to refund passengers within 7 days of the flight cancellation, if the customer does not choose rerouting at the earliest opportunity or at a later date. However, the refund process may take an airline longer to do in the current environment.

Passengers should contact their airline in the first instance to receive a refund or rerouting. If they do not receive a satisfactory response from the airline within 6 weeks, the matter can be escalated to the Commission for Aviation Regulation, who are the independent statutory body with responsibility for enforcing air passenger rights obligations under EU Regulation 261/2004 in Ireland.

Details of this process can be found here . The Commission for Aviation Regulation is the statutory body with responsibility for enforcement regarding flights departing from Irish airports. For flights departing other EU Member States, the website lists the contact details for the relevant enforcement bodies in each EU country.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation has released a guidance note on flight cancellations and refunds during the crisis.

Passengers unable to travel on a flight

Where an airline is unable to operate a flight and the flight is cancelled, passengers can avail of a refund or re-routing under Regulation 261/2004, as described above. However if the flight goes ahead and the passenger is not able to take that flight, passengers, although not entitled to a refund under Regulation 261/2004, may be entitled to claim back the taxes/fees/charges portion of the ticket price under Article 23 of EU Regulation 1008/2008. The airline should be contacted in the first instance. The conditions attached to any offers by airlines e.g. in the form of vouchers for booking flights in the future or cost and charges associated with a new flight booking are at the discretion of the airline itself. However airlines are obligated to ensure that under EU Regulation 1008/2008 the final price of a flight with associated taxes and charges is always known to the consumer or clearly displayed e.g. in the online booking process before the consumer accepts to book.

Package travel trips booked through travel agents and tour operators

The Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have made joint advisory guidance on the termination of package travel contracts.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has information about your Package Travel and general travel consumer rights here.

For more info regarding tour operators/travel agents licenced by the Commission for Aviation Regulation go to www.aviationreg.ie

The Citizens Information Board provides an overview of passenger rights here.

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