Every time we talk about a connecting flight we refer to a long air journey with more than one stop and in some cases several planes you have to take to reach the final destination. And in this journey, a missed flight connection can be a really unpleasant situation.
For any disturbing events like denied boarding, delay or cancellation, many air passengers still don’t know they may receive compensation for missed connecting flight due to even a minor delay.
AirAdvisor is here to inform you that you are eligible for compensation under the European Directive of 2004 that has an effect at the level of the European Union Law, meant to protect the air passengers rights in particular in these situations. Although EU Regulation EC No 261/2004 doesn’t clearly sustain that airlines are obliged to pay compensation for a flight delay.
Experts point out that most air travellers don’t know they are eligible for compensation even if, during a long trip with several connections, a flight was delayed between 45-180 minutes, which led to the situation of a missed flight connection. In fact, in the first two months of the winter season, on the main hubs in Europe for connecting flights – Zurich, Vienna, Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Brussels, 325 flights were registered with delays between 45-180 minutes which might have caused default (EU Regulation EC No 261/2004) missed flight connections.
Can I claim compensation in case of a missed connecting flight? When am I entitled to compensation?
Know your rights are protected by the EU law through the Court of Justice of the European Union which has ruled that passengers whose flight is delayed should have the same rights to compensation as those whose flights are cancelled. A situation of a missed connection, due to the fault of the airline, means the flight is no longer serving the purpose of your original travel plan, so you may also want to make use of your rights of reimbursement. You can receive compensation for the delayed flight to the same extent as for cancelled flights.
You are eligible for compensation:
- If you missed the connecting flight and reached your final destination with a delay of 3 hours or more (though no fault of your own)
- The tickets were purchased in a single booking (single ticket)
- If your original flight was delayed due to reasons not provided by the airline and/or the late arrival was not caused by extraordinary circumstances (please note that technical problems are never an exceptional circumstance, so if the original flight was delayed because of a minor technical issue with the aircraft, the airline company must compensate his clients)
You are not entitled to compensation:
- If you miss the connecting flight due to delays in security checks and did not present yourself at the gate(s) on time
- If you did not comply with the boarding time of the flight at the transfer airport
- If you do not have the mandatory documentation to embark on your connecting flight
- If the delay of the flight(s) is due to heavy weather conditions like strong rainstorms reducing the pilots visibility, or any air traffic restrictions, resulting in a missed connecting flight situation.
How much can I claim for a missed connecting flight compensation?
Know that the amount of compensation for missed flight connection may vary and is calculated according to the duration of the delay and the distance to the final destination. According to EU Regulation EC 261/2004, a passenger is entitled to compensation in the amount of 250-600 EURO, depending on the kilometers travelled to his last destination.
There are 3 types of flights and compensation for missed connecting flight due to delay:
- Short: 2 hours or more – flight distance of 1.500 km or less – the compensation will be 250 EURO
- Medium: 3 hours or more – flights within the EU and distance bigger than 1.500 km or all other flights distance between 1.500 – 3.500 km you are eligible for a 400 EURO compensation and 300 EURO for flights outside the EU
- Long: 4 hours or more – all flights not covered by points (1) or (2) over 3500 km, you can receive a compensation of 600 EURO
What other rights do I have in the event of a missed connecting flight?
Many air passengers don’t know they have the right to receive food and drink, phone calls, an accommodation room, and transport to the hotel and airport.
The same facilities are valid in situations where cancellations or delays are the faults of airports and not companies.
Also, know the airline responsible for the flight delay which caused your missed connection flight should rebook you on the next available flight to your destination. But if you choose to stay at the airport and wait for the replacement flight you must receive water and food, so that the discomfort is as small as possible.
What types of flights are liable for compensation?
All types of flights are liable for compensation, including charters, provided that the flight must be operated by a European Union company or take off from an EU airport, but no compensation can be claimed if the connecting flight is operated by a low-cost company.
A few specifications on missed connecting flight compensation
In the situation that any of the connecting flights have been delayed due to a force majeure event, the airlines are liable to mitigate the damage (alternative flight, accommodation, meals, transfer, etc.).
Be aware that you are solely responsible for establishing an optimal time for a stopover and the optimal reservation is considered the duty of the passengers or the travel agency from which they purchased the tickets, and not of the airline that operates the flight.
On the same note, in the event you booked your flights separately, the airline is not responsible for any of your delay and you will lose your right to an alternative flight or to be entitled to compensation.