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Flight Delay in the EU
Flight Delays are regulated by an already mentioned Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004.
This Regulation determines the following policy:
- Passengers whose flights are delayed for a specified time should be adequately cared for and should be able to cancel their flights with reimbursement of their tickets or to continue them under satisfactory conditions.
- Care for passengers awaiting an alternative or a delayed flight may be limited or declined if the provision of the care would itself cause further delay.
- Operating air carriers should meet the special needs of persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them.
- Passengers should be fully informed of their rights in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, so that they can effectively exercise their rights.
When an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure:
(a) for two hours or more in the case of flights of 1500 kilometres or less; or
(b) for three hours or more in the case of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and of all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; or
(c) for four hours or more in the case of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),
passengers shall be offered by the operating air carrier:
- meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time
- passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails, and
when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the day after the time of departure previously announced, an operating carrier shall provide the assistance in the form of:
1. hotel accommodation in cases
- where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary, or
- where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary; and
2. transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other).
When the delay is at least five hours, an operating air carrier shall provide:
- reimbursement within 7 (seven) days -- (in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services) -- of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant,
- a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity.
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