EU Overhauls Passenger Rights Legislation – EC 261/2004


European Union has introduced updated air passenger rights that are expected to take place in 2015 after all member states have ratified the new legislation.


Under the current EC 261/2004 legislation air passengers have right for cash compensation of 125/400/600 euros when the flight is delayed more than 3 hours depending of the distance of the origin and destination.

Under the new legislation the delay needs to be at least 5 hours before the compensation requirement kicks in. This is for flights within EU or international flights shorter than 3500 kilometers

The compensation doesn’t kick in before nine hours on up to 6000 kilometers and 12 hours on flights longer than that.


You can read my piece about: SAS Delay, Rebooking to LH/AY and 400 Euro Compensation per EU261/04 (& Not So Finest Lufthansa Employees in Frankfurt that was a mess.

Hare are some other changes:

– Airlines need to pay for maximum of 3 nights of hotel accommodation

– Airlines are required to book even on rival carriers if the delay is more than 12 hours

– Airlines are required to correct spelling mistakes of names without a charge

– If aircraft is on tarmac or more than an hour, the passengers must be able to use lavatories.

It has been very difficult for compensation eligible passengers under EC 261/2004 to actually collect the money that they are due from the airlines. They have often needed to drag the airlines to court before they have paid up. Under the new legislation, airline needs to acknowledge claim within a week and provide a formal reply within two months.

You can read more about this legislation from BBC, Independent and The Telegraph.


Overall, the airline lobbyist in Brussels must be more satisfied with this proposed new legislation, as it is more airline friendly than the current one.

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  • iolaire

    This seems fair, it bumps the time out (giving the airlines a longer grace period) and adds addtional protections for the passengers. (Today I’m sending off a check from Thai Airways for $799 based on a delay of 4 hours for two people last year.)

    • Andrew Miller

      Did Thai Airways give you the compensation entitled? My flight was delayed over 9 hours. I have only received one email from them in past month from the many I have sent them regarding compensation under the EU rule. That reply was only to state they currently have a lot of correspondence and apologise for a delay in replying. My emails keep escalating further up the company’s chain of command. Fearing I will need to take legal action. Who did you contact at Thai Airways? Getting very annoyed with the airline and been a loyal customer.

  • It feels like it’s a few wins for both parties here, i.e. airlines and passengers. Overall I like the “fix spelling free of charge” and also the requirement to reply within a timeframe etc. It’s still a fair deal I believe.

  • cat

    Hi can you please advise how to get the compensation? Have you blogged about it before? I got stuck in FRA for 16hrs last Nov

  • Sounds like a mixed bag of positives and not so good here. The extra time required is maybe not so good but the responsibilities on the airlines is a real plus.

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