Your Passenger Rights
If your flight is cancelled or is subject to a long delay, or if you are denied boarding on a flight for which you hold a valid reservation, you are entitled to certain rights in accordance with the EU Regulation 261/2004, which entered into force on 17.02.2005. The airline which carries out the irregular flight is responsible for granting you these rights.
The Regulation applies:
- to passengers departing from an EU airport or departing from an airport outside the EU when carried by an EU carrier, unless they received benefits or compensation and were given assistance in that third country,
- only if you have a confirmed reservation on the flight concerned,
- only if you (except in case of cancellation) present yourself in time for check-in or, if no time is indicated, at least 45 minutes before the published departure time,
- only if you travel on a ticket bought at a fare available to the public.
In accordance with the EU Regulation a delay occurs 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 between 1.500 km and 3.500 km as well as intra-Community flights of more than 1.500 km, and by 2 hours for flights of up to 1.500 km. When your flight is expected to have a long delay, passengers are entitled to receive care while waiting.
This includes: meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time, hotel accommodation if necessary including transfer costs and the option of making two brief telephone calls or sending two short faxes or e-mails. Care for passengers while waiting may be declined if the provision of the care would itself cause further delay. In case of more than 5 hours you are entitled to a refund of your ticket within seven days for the parts not used or for those parts already used if your flight no longer serves its purpose, and when relevant, a return flight to your first point of departure.
If in case of overbooking you are denied boarding involuntarily on a flight for which you hold a reservation, you are entitled to care and compensation without delay and to a refund as laid out in the previous section on ’delay’. In addition you are entitled to re-routing, under comparable conditions, to your final destination at the earliest opportunity.
Subject to availability of seats, you may instead choose re-routing to your final destination at a later date of your convenience, in which case you will have to bear yourself the cost of food, accommodation and transfer.
If you are involuntarily or voluntarily denied boarding, you have the right to an alternative flight or to a refund and compensation which can also be paid as a cheque, by bank transfer or, with your agreement, in the form of a voucher. The compensation shall be paid in cash, cheque or transfer or with your agreement in form of vouchers. The amount of the compensation depends on the distance of the schedule flight or the alternative flight proposed to you. Compensations amount to:
- 250 € for flights up to 1.500 km
- 400 € for flights between 1.500 km and 3.500 and intra-Community flights of more than 1.500 km,
- 600 € for flights of more then 3.500 km.
If you are offered an alternative flight, the scheduled arrival time of which does not exceed 2 hours in respect of flights up to 1.500 km, 3 hours in respect of flights between 1.500k m and 3.500 km as well as intra-Community flights of more than 1.500 km, and 4 hours in respect of all other flights, the above, mentioned compensation amounts can be reduced by 50%, i.e.125 €, 200 € and 300 €.
These rights are not granted if you have been denied boarding on reasonable grounds, such as reasons of health, general or operational security, or inadequate travel documentation.
If your flight, for which you hold a valid reservation, is cancelled, you are entitled to re-routing, care, refund and compensation as laid out here above. You are not entitled to receive a compensation if the cancellation is attributed to extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided, even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Examples include bad weather conditions, political instability, strikes, security, risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings.
Equally, there is no right to compensation when the passenger has been informed of the cancellation:
- at least 14 days before the schedule time of departure
- between 14 and 7 days before the schedule time of departure and the alternative flight departs no more than 2 hours before the originally schedule time of departure and reaches the final destination less than 4 hours after the schedule time of arrival
- less than 7 days before schedule time of departure and the alternative flight departs no more than 1 hour before the originally schedule time of departure and reaches final destination less than 2 hours after the schedule time of arrival.
For flights onwards and if your journey is a private one, you will have the right in the event of a dispute to contact the independent, cross-transport-service ‘Arbitration Board for Public Passenger Transport’ (SÖP):
Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personenverkehr e.V.
Tel: 030 6449933-0 (Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00 hrs)
You can do this when your concern relates to:
- non-carriage, delayed carriage or a flight cancellation;
- the destruction, damage, loss or delayed carriage of your baggage, or
- breach of duties during the carriage of disabled or mobility-impaired passengers
- you have already contacted Lufthansa regarding your concerns and have not received any reply within two months, or
- you disagree with the handling of your complaint or with the settlement of your claims by Lufthansa.
- Your financial claim amounts to at least 10 euros and not more than 5,000 euros.
- Your issue is not already being dealt with by a national regulatory authority, e.g. the Civil Aviation Authority (Germany) or
- is or has not already been pending before a court or
- has not been settled in a similar way.
- Your trip is a private trip.
Reference should also be made to the rules of procedure of the Arbitration Board for Public Passenger Transport (SÖP).