Yesterday, I was scheduled to fly on SAS from Frankfurt to Oulu via Copenhagen. My connection in Copenhagen was tight (40 minutes), but very doable if the flights were on time. The SK 1638 had a schedule departure time of 12:30PM that was later delayed to 1PM making my connection in Copenhagen way below the MCT (Minimum Connecting time).
I went to the gate handling the flight and it was manned by three Lufthansa employees. Lufthansa handles the SAS flights out from Frankfurt and likely from other German airports as well. The agents claimed that they were not able to show me my rebooking options or printing them on paper. According to them, I should just proceed to take the flight to Copenhagen and deal with the rebooking process there.
SAS only had a one CPH-OUL flight yesterday and missing it would have meant overnight in Copenhagen or rerouting via Helsinki on SAS and/or Finnair. The options (no options really) that the agent gave me were wrong and would have led to a misconnect in Copenhagen. I requested to be rebooked but they then were claiming that they would need to investigate my tariff and whether it would allow rebooking on other carriers.
I have flown enough and know that “checking if tariff allows involuntarily retouring” is utter nonsense and actually in violation of the passenger rights in Europe. The agents went crazy after I shot a photo of them and left. I just hate when airline employees think that then can get away with giving incorrect and plainly false information to passengers.
It took a more than 10 minute brisk walk from the B gates in Frankfurt to the customer service area by the A gates. You need to walk through a long underground tunnel. There, I got a Lufthansa employee to book me to a Lufthansa flight to Helsinki that would connect me to a Finnair flight to Oulu.
My original flight would have arrived to Oulu at 5:40PM and my new arrival time was 9:25PM. The Finnair flight was delayed by about 30 minutes. The flight arrived to Oulu at 9:50PM. That is four hours and ten minutes later than my original scheduled arrival time.
Now, the European Air Passenger rights regulation EU261/04 allows me to claim a compensation for delayed flights within European Union. You can read more about this regulation here.
My delay was longer than 3 hours AND the distance between Frankfurt and Oulu is close to 2000 kilometers. SAS owes me 400 euros as delay compensation UNLESS they can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances.
I have no doubt that SAS is going to try denying my claim and insisting that the delay was caused extraordinary circumstance. I will file the claim later today and will keep you posted about the process.
If you are traveling by air, you absolutely need to know your rights. Airlines can always rebook you to other carriers but they rather would not do that. I specifically requested them to rebook me on Finnair to get me to my final destinations yesterday night.
This is going to be my first claim for compensation under the EU261/04. SAS owes me 400 euros for the delay unless they can prove that the delay was beyond of their control.