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Disruption recompense only applies to EU-run flights
Pic: RollingNews.ie

30 Aug 2023 / ireland Print

Disruption recompense only applies to EU-run flights

Given the large number of recent disrupted flights to and from Britain, the European Consumer Centre Ireland has advised impacted Irish passengers about their entitlements in this situation.

EU air passenger consumer rights apply in all situations where the impacted flight is: 

  • Within the EU, operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline,
  • Arrives in the EU, from outside the EU, but is operated by an EU airline,
  • Departs from within the EU, to a non-EU country, and is by either an EU or a non-EU airline. 

With respect to the latest disrupted flights, EU rules only apply to flights from Britain to the EU when they are operated by an EU air carrier, unless consumers have already received compensation or benefits under British law for the flight incident/cancellation.

EU air passenger rights do not apply to flights from the UK to the EU operated by a UK carrier or another non-EU carrier.  

Compensation is not due if the carrier can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken

Extraordinary circumstances can lead to more than one cancellation or delay in reaching the destination. Examples of events defined as extraordinary circumstances include air traffic control system-related decisions or errors leading to cancellations.  

Duty of care

While compensation is not due in respect of cancellations or delays due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’, airlines still have a duty of care to their passengers.

EU consumer protection law for air travel entitles air passengers to: 

  • A full refund of the cancelled flight,
  • A rescheduled, alternative flight,
  • Assistance and duty of care for delays.

If passengers find the free rescheduling and rerouting not acceptable, the airline is not obliged to offer assistance in the form of free food, drink or accommodation while waiting for the alternative flight.

In this case, consumers who have travel insurance should check their policy coverage before making the decision to not accept the airline offer.  

If the cancelled or disrupted flights were booked through a travel agent, online travel agent or booking engine, all queries must be addressed there.

Jurisdictional right

The same jurisdictional rights apply to third-party flight booking intermediaries.  

To seek further advice Irish passengers impacted by this disruption should contact:  

  • Irish Aviation Authority for queries about cancelled or disrupted flights operated by Irish airlines,
  • European Consumer Centre Ireland for queries about cancelled or disrupted flights operated by EU- and EEA-registered airlines.  

The European Consumer Centre Ireland only deals with complaints from private consumers resident in the Republic of Ireland, against a registered business based in the European Union, the European Economic Area and who have exhausted the airline’s own complaints process and have not received any response or obtained satisfactory resolution. Irish consumers should contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland