EU regulation 261/04

Your rights as a passenger

If your flight has been cancelled or subjected to a long delay, or if you have been denied boarding on a flight for which you hold a confirmed reservation, you are entitled to certain rights under the terms of EU regulation 261/2004. The operating airline is responsible for granting you these rights.

Validity

The regulation applies:

  • to passengers who are departing from Switzerland or an EU airport and passengers arriving in Switzerland or at an EU airport
  • only if you hold a confirmed reservation for the flight concerned
  • only if (apart from when your flight is cancelled) you have checked-in before the indicated last check-in time,
  • or if no time has been indicated, no later than 45 minutes before the published time of departure
  • only if you are travelling on a fare that is available to the public

Care

This is: meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time, hotel accommodation including the cost of transfer, where appropriate, and the opportunity for two short phone calls, faxes or e-mails. The airline does not need to provide you with this assistance if it would delay your departure further.

Overbooking

If overbooking means that you were denied boarding the reserved flight against your will, you are entitled to receive care from the airline. You will also be offered alternative transportation to the final destination of you had booked. This will take place at the earliest opportunity, under comparable conditions.

Subject to seat availability, you may instead choose to be re-routed to your final destination at a later and more convenient date, although in this case, you would have to bear the cost of food, accommodation and transfer yourself. If you have been denied boarding against your will or voluntarily, you have the right to an alternative flight or to a refund and compensation that can also be made by cash card, as a bank transfer, or, with your agreement, in the form of a voucher. The level of payment depends on the distance of the scheduled flight and on the alternative transportation offered to you:

  • For flights up to 1,500 km, compensation amounts to € 250
  • For flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km, and for flights within Europe of more than 1,500 km, this is € 400
  • For flights of more than 3,500 km, this is € 600

The basis for determining the distance is the last destination at which the passenger arrived later than the scheduled arrival time as a result of being denied boarding or of cancellation.

If you are offered an alternative flight, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked by more than 2 hours for flights of up to 1,500 km, or by more than 3 hours for flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km, or by more than 4 hours for all flights over 3,500 km, the compensation payment will only amount to 50% of the figures mentioned above, i.e. € 125, € 200 or € 300.

You are not entitled to the payment and assistance described above if it was your own fault that you were denied boarding, you were denied boarding for health or safety reasons, or if your travel documentation was missing or insufficient..

Cancellation

Should your flight have been cancelled, you also have the same rights to the alternative transportation, assistance, reimbursement and compensation specified above.

However, you are not entitled to receive compensation under the EU regulation if the event can be attributed to extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. This includes, for example, bad weather conditions, political instability, strikes, security risks and unexpected flight safety shortcomings.

Neither is there any right to compensation if

  • the passenger has been informed of the cancellation at least 14 days prior to departure
  • the passenger has been informed of the cancellation between 14 and 7 days prior to departure and the alternative flight departs no more than 2 hours before the original departure time and arrives no more than 4 hours after the scheduled arrival time
  • the passenger has been informed of the cancellation less than 7 days prior to departure and the alternative flight departs no more than 1 hour before the original departure time and arrives no more than 2 hours after the scheduled arrival time.

Delays

According to EU regulation 261/04, delays occur when a flight is delayed beyond its scheduled departure time by 4 hours for flights of more than 3,500 km, by 3 hours for flights of between 1,500 and 3,500 km as well as flights of over 1,500 km within the EU, and by 2 hours for flights of up to 1,500 km. If your flight is expected to have a long delay, you are entitled to assistance from the airline.

For delays lasting more than 5 hours, you are entitled within seven days to be refunded the cost of the ticket for the parts of the journey not completed and for those parts of the journey already completed if the delay meant that the journey no longer served its purpose, as well as being provided with onward transportation to your first point of departure at the earliest opportunity, if need be.

Downgrading

If you are downgraded to a lower class than that for which the ticket was purchased, you are entitled to compensation within 7 days. The level of payment depends on the scheduled flight and the airfare paid for each segment; for distances

  • up to 1,500 km, compensation amounts to 30% of the paid airfare per segment
  • between 1,500 and 3,500 km and for flights within Europe of over 1,500 km, this is 50% of the paid airfare per segment
  • over 3,500 km, this is 75% of the paid airfare per segment

To check whether your claims are justified under EU regulation 261/04, please contact our Customer Feedback Services department.