Airline companies will face strict new compensation rules from the beginning of 2005. Passengers will be eligible for compensation, under new regulations, if their flight is cancelled, overbooked or delayed by more than five hours. The new rules were recently approved by the European Parliament and apply to all airline companies, including those operating charter flights.
Compensation for passengers who are grounded will vary from between 250 and 600 euros. The passenger will also have the right to choose between being reimbursed for their ticket, or travelling on a different flight. If they choose to take another flight, the airline company will then have to provide, food and accommodation until the passenger can board the next flight.
According to the new regulations, airline companies must inform passengers, at least two weeks in advance, if a flight is going to be cancelled. Airline companies are also obliged to provide assistance in the case of a delayed flight. A delay that is longer than five hours will mean that passengers can be reimbursed for the price of their ticket.
Speaking about the changes to the current regulations, a TAP spokesman said that TAP already compensates its passengers when flights are overbooked, although he did not reveal exactly how much each passenger receives. The spokesman also confirmed that passengers are reimbursed when flights are delayed for longer than five hours, although again he would not comment on how much money passengers receive.
The president of Air Luxor, Marques da Cruz, explained that his company will not be affected by the compensation regulations with regard to overbooking, as its pricing system does not allow for overbooking on flights. However, he pointed out that other transport companies do not currently have to comply with such strict rules.