Reader Question: Air Austral Denied Boarding Reunion – Paris & EC 261/2004 Compensation?


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question using Facebook regarding rather interesting question regarding EC 261/2004 compensation for an airline based in Reunion.

Air Austral

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Here’s the Facebook message from the reader:

I have got a question about EC261/2004. A friend of mine was delayed from RUN to CDG recently with Air Austral.

About 20 people had to be offloaded as a section of the plane had to be turned into a flying ambulance for a French citizen to be sent to Paris (RUN is a French controlled island). From what I understand, as RUN did not have the appropriate medical facilities. I understand that Air Austral will be billing the French government for this.

My friend’s flight was delayed a day later and for this he received €400 compensation, meals and one night’s accommodation. I reminded her that she was entitled to €600 but the airline argued that they were throwing a night’s accommodation plus meals.

They stood firm at €400 and insisted that if my friend wanted €600, she would have to write in to customer services.

My hypothetical thoughts are as follows.

  1. Are they bullying my friend into accepting an amount lower than the stipulated €600?
  2. Gather that the French government will be paying them and covering the EC261/2004. If the authorities pay Air Austral €600 (I suspect they will pay even more to Air Austral per person), and Air Austral pays my friend €400, where is the remaining €200? Is taking €200 for accommodation and meals acceptable?

The EC 261/2004 compensation does apply for Reunion and flights on Air Austral. Not sure if this “flying ambulance” would be considered an extraordinary circumstance under the legislation but I would assume no if the affected passengers were already provided 400 euros by the airline.

Air Austral is anyway required to provide duty to care and they should NOT deduct anything from the cash compensation due to the payments they need to provide to the hotel.

I would ask the reader to push his/her friend to contact Air Austral and ask for the missing 200 euros. If the airline is not forthcoming, they should open a case with a regulator.

Here is the list of the enforcement bodies by the country:

Download (PDF, 220KB)


I have not visited the french island of Reunion yet, but will make it there one day. Will visit Faroe Islands for few days this week, however.

It is very unfortunate that you usually have to be aware of what you are entitled to or otherwise you will be taken for a ride. But that’s how the life works.