Air transport passengers' rights are defined with regards to damaged baggage, prolonged delay and cancellation of flights, denied boarding, travelling with passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs), or other complications. These rights are valid for regular traffic, charters (domestic and international), and the budget airlines.
If your flight is cancelled, you have the right:
- to choose a different route to go to your destination or get an air fare refund (and a return ticket to the place, which you departed from);
- to receive a free meal and refreshments commensurate with your waiting time, to make two telephone calls, send two fax messages or two e-mail letters;
- to receive free hotel accommodation and transportation to a hotel, if your flight is available only on the following day.
If your flight is delayed for:
- more than two hours, the airline operator must provide a free meal and refreshments commensurate with your waiting time, and an opportunity to make two telephone calls, send two fax messages or two e-mail letters;
- five or more hours, you have the right to cancel the flight and demand a refund. If your flight is available only on the following day, the airline operator must provide you with free hotel accommodation and transportation to a hotel.
If you are denied boarding:
- if the airline has overbooked the flight, its representative first of all must seek volunteers who are willing to give up their reservation. If the number of such volunteers is not sufficient, the airline is entitled to deny boarding to any passenger.
- you have the same rights as in the event that your flight is cancelled or delayed (see above) and you are entitled to a compensation of o EUR 250 – 600, depending on the distance of the flight.
If your baggage is delayed, damaged or lost:
- at your earliest opportunity notify your airline in writing. We suggest filing a complaint already at the airport. A complaint for damaged baggage must be submitted to the airline within 7 days.
- you are entitled to a compensation of up to EUR 1200.
- If your baggage has been delayed, you must file your complaint to the carrier not later than within twenty one days following the date when you retrieved your baggage.
Compensation in case of flight cancellation
- If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a compensation from EUR 250 to 600 (depending on the distance of the flight). However, if the flight is cancelled due to force majeure circumstances outside the airline’s control, such as bad weather conditions, the compensation will not be paid. It will not be paid also, if the airline has notified the passengers 14 days prior to the flight cancellation or rescheduling.
Should the airline explain the passengers their rights?
- If your flight is cancelled, delayed for more than two hours or you are denied boarding, it is the duty of the carrier to issue a written statement with compensation rules and support provided, and the contact information of the institution to which the passengers can apply to defend their rights.
Are the rights applicable to air travels outside the EU?
- Passenger rights are applicable in all flights from EU airports and from the airports outside the EU to an airport situated in the territory of a member state, if the flight is operated by an EU airline.
- The European Union has issued a list of airlines that are banned from operations in the EU and the use of EU airports. This list is available at the EU portal http://europa.eu.
If you travel together with a passenger with reduced mobility,
- the air carrier must establish a priority for carrying disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility. You are entitled to assistance of the staff in all the EU airports. Find more information here.
Where to apply?
- Please address your complaints and applications to the airline or your tour operator.
- If the airline fails to observe its obligations, in Latvia you can lodge your complaint with the Consumer Rights Protection Centre by completing an application form www.ptac.gov.lv
- Passengers’ complaints of the airlines’ default on their obligations are handled by the competent body of the state, in which the flight has been cancelled, delayed for a long period or the passenger has been denied boarding.
It is important to remember that the above rights are valid only if your reservation is confirmed and you have arrived to check in for your flight on time (as indicated in your ticket or not later than 45 minutes before the scheduled time of departure).
Find out more about the air passenger rights!
This material provides a summary of your rights as an air passenger. More detailed information is available at the Consumer Rights Protection Centre, tel.: +371 65 45 2554, and at the European Consumer Information Centre.