Compensation and Reimbursement

What does refusal to board mean?

In case of refusal to board, the airlines are obligated to pay compensation if there are no valid reasons. A precondition for the claim to compensation payment is that

  • the passenger has a valid ticket
  • he or she is on time for check-in and at the gate
  • he or she was not allowed to board against his or her will.

In case of refusal to board, care and support services (refreshments, meals, free telephone calls and alternative transport) as well as flat-rate damage compensation, the so-called com-pensation payment, are provided for.

In that case there are the following possibilities:

  1. The passenger voluntarily gives up the booking and receives an equivalent benefit in return which is to be agreed between the passenger and the airline. With this type of compensation payment, in the form of vouchers or bonus miles, the person in question is generally given a higher amount then when a cash payout is insisted upon.
  2. The passenger insists on a cash payout or bank remittance. In that case he or she is given them amount he or she is entitled to according to the air distance.
  • With flights up to a distance of 1,500 km: euro 250
  • With intra-Community flights with a distance of more than 1,500 km and all other flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km: euro 400
  • With flights with a distance of more than 3,500 km: euro 600

There are acceptable reasons for refusal to board if:

  • the passenger arrives at check-in or the gate too late
  • the passenger did not have travel documents
  • an infectious disease was diagnosed
  • general and/or operational safety was endangered.

In such cases the passenger does not have any claim on a compensation payment.

The legal basis is Art. 3, Section 2a), Art. 4, 7 and 8 of Regulation (EC) 261/2004.

What is a downgrade and what rights do I have?

A downgrade means moving the passenger to a lower class than the one for which the flight ticket was purchased. The airline is in that case obligated to refund a portion of the airfare within seven days. Depending on the distance, that means 30 percent, 50 percent or 75 per-cent of the fare.

The legal basis is Art. 10 of Regulation (EC) 261/2004.

Do I have any claims when I cancel my flight?

Cancellation of a flight by the passenger is not regulated by the EU Regulation. Possible refund claims on the airline, in particular for taxes and fees, must be asserted by formal legal action. Aviation authorities have no influence on the amount of the processing fees. They are set by the individual airlines.