Purchasing unused tickets for a flight booked for a travel agency’s customers is a popular and cheap way of getting to your dream holiday destination. Unfortunately, delayed charter flights are as common as scheduled flights not departing on time. The good news is that you, as a passenger, have the same possibility to claim compensation.
Charter flight delay – what’s good to do?
An advantage of buying unused tickets for a flight organized by a travel agency is their low price. The agency can break even as far as the flight costs are concerned, and you come out ahead, as you pay next to nothing for your trip.
If, however, you and other participants of the organized tour wait hour after hour for the departure that’s being postponed every quarter or so, you may start having doubts about your rights. But there’s no need to. Claiming compensation for a delayed charter flight is possible if the delay is more than 3 hours – this is counted from the planned arrival time to the actual arrival time. It’s exactly the same as with a ticket purchased directly from the airline.
To ensure that your complaint is admitted, you should think about it already at the airport. Try to get as much information about the delay as possible – what’s the reason and how the carrier is handling the issue. Don’t forget that it’s the airline operating the flight, and not the travel agency, that’s responsible for flight organization and compensation payout. It is the airline, then, that the complaint should be addressed to.
The carrier is also obliged to provide you with meals and refreshments while you wait, as well as accommodation, should the alternative flight be scheduled for the next day. If the airline fails to do so, you have the right to reimbursement, but you have to present to the carrier the receipts, bills or invoices for incurred costs.
Remember to keep your boarding pass, ticket, baggage ticket, booking confirmation and other travel documents. If you have to buy necessities such as meals or refreshments (because the airline doesn’t provide you with them while you wait) – keep the receipts.
If, due to the disruption, the carrier offers you a settlement in the form of vouchers or bonus points – don’t accept it. Otherwise you won’t be able to claim compensation. What is more, the settlement value may differ from the amount of compensation which you’re entitled to and which is legally justified.
Other participants of the organized tour are also entitled to compensation for a delayed charter flight – you can tell them that and exchange contact information.
When can you be entitled to compensation and in what amount?
Compensation for a delayed charter flight is possible first and foremost if the plane doesn’t arrive at its destination on time due to the carrier’s fault and the delay is more than 3 hours. These conditions must absolutely be met. What differs is the amount of compensation – it depends on the flight length, and can be up to €600.
The above rules result from the European Parliament’s Regulation 261/2004 and refer to flights within the EU, from non-EU states to EU states, as well as flights to EU states operated by carriers registered in the European Union.
Delayed charter flight complaint – where can it be filed?
Let us repeat that the airline, and not the indirect organizer (travel agency), is at fault for the delay, of course unless there were some extraordinary circumstances. For this reason, the compensation claim should be sent in writing to the carrier’s seat, via e-mail to the address provided on the airline’s website, or through a form which usually can also be found on the website.
The complaint must include the passenger’s data and information about the flight, the delay and its circumstances. Such a form must be filled in very carefully – airline representatives examine it closely and will surely pay attention to all the details that could exempt the carrier from the obligation to pay the due amount. In situations like this, seeking help from other authorities, e.g. a National Aviation Authority or a court, may be needed to enforce the payment.
Compensation proceedings may take many months, and the complexity of documents to be submitted can easily discourage an average person from claiming their rights. That’s why services of a professional can be invaluable – for example, of our company, whose experts, after you grant us the power of attorney, will take care of all compensation proceedings on your behalf.