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When you fly, be sure of your rights


Calculadora de derechos 

The rights of air passengers are regulated in Regulation 2612004 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation and long delay of flights, and Repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91.

The Community legislation on passenger rights, established in Regulation 261/2004, is applicable to all flights departing from airports in the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, and for all flights operated by Community carriers even if they leave from airports outside Europe.

The rights of air passengers from the EU will also be applied to all non-Community air carriers departing from a Community territory to a country that does not belong to the European Union.

Regulation 261/2004 regulates the rights of passengers for cases of denied boarding, cancellation, long delay and change of class.

Regulation 261/2004 only applies to the air carrier operating the flight or who is responsible for performing the flight.

The Regulation is not applicable if the passenger is travelling free of charge or with a reduced-price ticket that is not directly or indirectly available to the public. Remember that the responsible airline is always the operating air carrier.

Related documents

This is the refusal to carry passengers on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding under the Conditions laid down in the Conditions for Transport, except where there are reasonable grounds to deny them boarding, such as reasons of health, safety or security or inadequate travel documentation. An example of denied boarding is overbooking.

If an insufficient number of volunteers comes forward and passengers are denied boarding against their will, the rights of the passenger include:

  • Right to information.  Consists in the delivery by the air carrier of a printed form containing the conditions of assistance and compensation.
  • Right to assistance. The air company must provide the necessary assistance: adequate meals and refreshments, two free-of-charge telephone calls or access to e-mail and, if necessary, one or more nights of hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation.
  • Right to reimbursement or re-routing. The passenger may select one of the following three options which must be offered by the air carrier:
    • Reimbursement of the ticket within seven days.
    • Re-routing, under comparable conditions, to their final destination at the earliest    opportunity.
    • Re-routing, under comparable conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to availability of seats.
  • Right to compensation. Between 250 € and 600 €, depending on the distance of the flight, although this amount may be reduced by 50% when the air carrier offers re-routing and the delay on arrival at the destination is acceptable.
Distance Compensation 50% reduction if the delay on arrival is less than
Up to 1.500 km 250 € 2 hours
Flights between 1.500 km and 3.500 km as well as intra-Community flights of 1.500 km 400 € 3 hours
More than 3.500 km 600 € 4 hours


This means the non-operation of a scheduled flight for which you have purchased a ticket.

The rights in the case of cancellation are as follows:

  • Rights to information, reimbursement or re-routing under the same conditions as for the case of denied boarding.
  • Right to compensation, under the same conditions as for denied boarding unless they are informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before the scheduled departure or if the air carrier can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances, including political instability, adverse weather conditions that are not compatible with the operation of the flight, risks for safety, unexpected defects in the safety of the flight and strikes which affect the operations of the air transport carrier responsible for performing the flight

This is the delay of the flight from the departure airport in relation to the scheduled time of departure. Passenger rights in the case of a delayed departure include:

  • Right to information, under the same conditions as in the previous two cases.
  • Right to assistance, a right which is conditioned by the following time limits depending on the distance of the flight.
Distance Right to assistance if the departure delay is more than
Up to 1.500 km. 2 hours
Flights between 1.500 km and 3.500 km as well as intra-Community flights of more than 1.500 km 3 hours
More than 3.500 km. 4 hours
  • Right to reimbursement, when the delay is at least five hours, and the passenger chooses not to travel, they are entitles to reimbursement within seven days 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 if the flight no longer serves any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan. Where applicable, together with a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity. The reimbursement shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank order, bank transfer, cheque or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

Delays in arrivals

When the final destination is reached three or more hours after the arrival time initially scheduled by the air transport carrier, the passenger may be entitled to compensation identical to that to which they would be entitled in the event of cancellation of a flight, unless the air carrier is able to prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances.

The monetary compensation is established according to the distance to the destination, when the delay is of three hours or more

When the air carrier places the passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, they are obliged to reimburse a percentage of the price of the ticket purchased by the passenger.

  • Please see the percentages in the table:
Distance Intra-Community Extra-Community
0-1.500 km. 30% 30%
1.500-3.500 km. 50%* 50%
+ 3.500 km. 50%* 75%

*Except for flights between European territory and French overseas territory: 75% refund on tickets value.

If your suitcase has suffered damage or your luggage has been lost, you must claim to the company. The company is responsible for repairing or restoring the damage caused. On the other hand, the airline is responsible for the checked baggage.

When you notice any irregularity with your luggage (loss, damage or delay), communicate it immediately, before leaving the airport, at the counters of the airline, or if it does not have a presence at the airport to your agent or representative at the airport in the authorized counter.

When you report an incident on your baggage at the airport, the airline or its handling agent will issue a baggage irregularity report (PIR) and will give you a copy. Save this document, as it is the one requested by the airline when you claim.

For many companies it is essential to present the PIR form to accept a claim related to luggage, so we recommend that you fill it out before leaving the airport.

In addition, you must submit a formal written complaint to which you must attach a copy of the PIR in accordance with the terms established in the Montreal Convention:

Damage to luggage: 7 days from receipt of luggage.

Baggage delay: 21 days from receipt of luggage.

Loss of baggage: There is no limit established in the Agreement, but it is recommended to make the claim as soon as possible, after the 21 days during which the suitcase has been "delayed", or after the airline has confirmed that your baggage is lost.

Please note that without protest on your part, it will be considered, unless proven otherwise, that it has been delivered in good condition and in accordance with the transport document.

If your flight entails making a connection with more than one company, you may be able to check in your luggage from the departure to the final destination. If you do this and something happens with your luggage, you can claim against any of the companies that have transported the luggage.

If the divergences with the company cannot be resolved, the passenger can claim through the courts. It has a term of two years, from the date of arrival at the destination or the day the aircraft should have arrived. The rules of application in these cases is the Montreal Convention, ratified by Spain in 2004.

Regulation (EC) 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community.

Regulation (EC) 261/2004 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 February 2004, establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation and long delay of flights, and Repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91.

Regulation (EC) 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

Regulation (EC) 889/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 May 2002 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents.

Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (the Montreal Convention).

Review of the limits of responsibility. Montreal Convention