Flight board at the airportAfter realizing that flying from Santiago (de Compostela) can be the longest flight ever (more than Santiago de Chile, which I thought it was the longest) I was searching the possible compensations for my coworkers Genís and Marc.They already did something. Hence, try to avoid  flying with Spanair.

In the unlikely case  you are: denied boarding, or if your flight is cancelled, or if your flight is delayed for more tha two hours, airlines must give you a compensation and assistance, depending on the  situation. The reasons because an airline could change the time of your flight or cancel it altogether can be due to weather, mechanical problems and for not having all the crew in the boarding gate. Sometimes airlines might cancel a flight when there are not enought people that booked on.

All the information I’ve found is about flights departing from EU countries, landing to an EU country or with an EU airline.  You can check the information in Spanish here or just read the tips below. I think you can obtain similar compensations everywhere.

Denied boarding because of overbooking or cancelations:

When there’s an overbooked flight,  the airline will call for volunteers already with the confirmed reservation to exchange their flight for an agreed compensation. This compensation depends on how you get it:

If your exchange is for cash, the compensation goes like this:

  • Flights of 1500 km or less: 250€
  • Flights within the EU of more than 1500 km, and all other flights between 1500 and 3500 km : 400€
  • Flights not falling under the other cases (another continent for ex.): 600€

You can also exchange it for Transportation Credit Voucher, depending on the airline you are flying with, it increases the agreed compensation. Usually it is about 100€ or 200€ more than the prices I wrote before.

If there’re not enough volunteers,  boarding can be denied to passengers against their will, if this happens, the compensation and assistance can be denied for the passenger. So don’t think it twice and get the money or the voucher!

Assistance when overbooking or cancellation

Every passenger have to receive, free of charge:

  • Rerouting to the final destination under similar transport conditions and as soon as possible (maximum 7 days). The passenger can fly a later date at his/her convenience subject to the availability of seats.
  • Meals/refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time
  • Hotel accommodation in cases of overnight stay with transport to the hotel included
  • Communication: 2 telephone calls, fax messages or e-mails

Delays in flights

  • There’s no compensation for 2 hours or less delay in the case of flights of 1500 km or less
  • There’s no compensation for 3 hours or less  delay in the case of all intra-EU flights of more than 1500 km and of all other flights between 1500 and 3500 km
  • There’s no compensation for 4 hours or less delay in the the other cases.

And think that:

Not with all the delays you can get an economic compensation, but you can check the Montreal Protocol and request it to the airline.

Not with all the the flights cancellations you can obtain a compensation:

  • If the airline announces the flight cancellation 2 weeks before the flight.
  • If the airline announces the flight cancellation 7 days before the flight and they offer an alternative transportation that will allow you to reeschedule your trip and take off 2 hours before your cancelled flight and with another requeriment: do not arrive 4 hours later than the first scheduled flight.
  • If the airplane shows a cause by “force majeure

And my last tips: Boarding Pass

  • Don’t loose your boarding pass. This is your proof you have a seat assigned and it can help in the future with the complaints.
  • Be patient, in these situations, the airplane crew in the boarding gate or customer service of the airline have just a little bit more information than you and sometimes they can’t do anything. Just make your complaints by requesting the complaint book.
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