European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) airlines and those flying from EU/EEA are bound by the EU’s delay and cancellation rules, usually defined just as EC 261/2004.
While we have been working on a piece about issues with Finnair and some EC 261/2004 cases, their communication department gave us the figures on how much the airline had paid out in 2019 and 2020.
You can access Finnair here.
What are the EU Passenger rights?
The EU instituted an EC 261/2004 legislation that was not very coherent but that was later clarified by the courts in EU/EEA countries.
The EU is working on new legislation that makes it somewhat more favorable for the airlines (the delays must be more significant to be eligible for payment).
EU has a page up for Passenger Rights here.
- €250 – less than 1,500 in the distance and arrival to the destination delayed by 3 hours or more
- €400 – 1,500 to 3,500 in the distance and arrival to the destination delayed by 3 hours or more
- €600 – more than 3,500 in the distance and arrival to the destination delayed by 3 hours or more
If the airline reroutes you, and you arrive at the final destinations less than three hours delayed, you are eligible for half of the compensation mentioned above.
Airlines are not required to pay compensation in case of delay caused by “extraordinary” circumstances:
EU courts have decided that extraordinary circumstances are along the lines of:
- Adverse weather
- Bird strikes
- Strikes by airport employees
- Airport and airspace closures
- Political instability issues
We have covered Finnair’s issues when it comes to EC 261/2004 several times in the past:
12/22/compensation-clinic- missed-connection-in-helsinki- finnair-ec-261-2004- compensation/
07/09/court-orders-finnair-to- pay-17200-euros-for-a-flight- delay/
05/28/finnair-on-consumer- dispute-boards-black-list- lost-22k-euro-case-due-to-non- payment-of-ec-261-2004-case/
11/09/reader-question-finnair- 10-hour-helsinki-bangkok- flight-delay/
09/29/finnish-consumer- ombudsmans-takes-finnair-to- court-over-non-payment-of-ec- 2612004-claims/
03/15/reader-question-finnair- flight-20-hours-delay-ec- 2612004-delay-compensation- denied/
01/29/reader-question-finnair- flight-delay-ec-2612004- compensation/
How much has Finnair paid in compensation?
Their communications department confirmed to us that the airline paid €14M in 2019 of which is roughly half to consumers in Finland, and about €2.5M in 2020.
There is often back and forth between the airline and passenger regarding EC 261/2004 compensation. As a result, the claim is often first declined unless you escalate it and perhaps contact the appropriate EC 261/2004 enforcement body.
Looking at Finnair’s financial in 2019. Their profit after taxes was roughly €75M. So paying €14M as required compensation is a significant amount.
Can you imagine the amounts that Lufthansa Group of airlines (Lufthansa, Austrian, Brussels & Swiss), Air France – KLM, and IAG (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling & LEVEL)? They each must be into hundreds of millions of euros.