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Consumer Rights - Cancelled Fights and Closed Airports

Thursday, 15 April 2010

In all this pandemonium, what rights do you have?

Air Passenger Rights

The law that protects you when flights are delayed or cancelled is EC Regulation 261/04.

The first thing to note is that because all delays / cancellations are out of the airlines' control and due to "extraordinary circumstances", you are NOT entitled to any additional financial compensation, which is normally between €250 - €600.

Exceptions to the compensation Rule:

Passengers are NOT entitled to financial compensation if the following have caused the delay or cancellation of the flight:

Political instability
Bad weather
Security risk
Unexpected flight risk

The carrier does not have to offer compensation in relation to a cancelled flight if the passenger has been informed of the cancellation in advance of the departure date.


1. You are entitled to a choice between a refund of the ticket or rerouting to your final destination on the next available flight or at a later date more suitable for you.
2. Duty of care entitles you to:
o Free meals and refreshments as well as two phone calls/emails.
o Overnight accommodation if needed and transport to and from it.


Your rights kick in at the following times:

o Delays of two or more hours in the case of flights of 1,500km or less;
o Delays of three or more hours in the case of all intra-Community flights of more than 1,500k, and of all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500km;
o Delays of four or more hours in the case of all other flights

In the event of such delays, you should receive the following duty of care:

. Meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time
. Hotel accommodation where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary
. Transport between the airport and the place of accommodation
. Two telephone calls, faxes or emails

If your flight is delayed by 5 hours or more and you decide not to travel, you are entitled to look for a refund for the part or parts of the journey not completed.

If you decide to accept the refund, you may not receive any further care from the air carrier, such as meals or accommodation.

However, if you have already started your journey and the purpose of your original travel plan is no longer attainable (e.g. connecting flight missed as a result of the delay of a flight in your itinerary) you can request to return to the first point of departure at no extra cost and the refund for the part of the journey already made. In such a case, the air carrier also has to give you your right to care.


If you are not offered this "duty of care", keep your receipts for any expenses and apply to the airline later for a refund of those expenses.

Further information and unresolved complaints to:

The Commission for Aviation Regulation:


Dublin Airport:

Met Eireann: