Air passenger rights around the world

For occasional and frequent travellers alike, knowing your rights as an air passenger is very important. To help you navigate through all the different rules and regulations, we have made a compilation, which covers the most visited countries and regions.

There is what you should try to get anywhere you travel:

  • If you cannot board your original flight, airlines have to find a seat on the next flight. If that is not possible, they should offer compensation.
  • If there is a delay of more than 2 hours, airlines should offer food and drinks. If the delay is even longer, you may be entitled to compensation (depending on the local regulation).
  • Sometimes airlines overbook their flights and hope some passengers will not show up. If a flight is overbooked, you may be asked to voluntarily let others board, while you get on the next flight. If you decline, airlines may bump you involuntarily but they still have to get you to your final destination or offer compensation or both.
  • If your baggage gets lost or damaged, you can ask for compensation. If you make a reasonable estimation of how much your baggage was worth, airlines will usually give you no trouble.

EU regulation applies when flying from EU airports or when flying to EU airports with EU based airlines. What is unique to EU rules is that you can request a financial compensation if your flight lands more than 3 hours late. You are also entitled to both compensation as well as an alternative flight in case your flight is cancelled or if you are denied boarding. You can read the full list of rights here (save the link).

The United States government does not regulate airlines as much as the EU does and air passengers there are pretty much left to their own devices and goodwill of airline companies. There are no rules on what airlines should do in case of delays, cancellations and baggage issues. Although airlines are not legally bound, they usually help passengers, especially the more vocal ones ;)

Middle East airlines like Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways, operate under rules similar to EU regulation (remember, if you start your flight at an EU airport, EU laws are applicable). Airlines have to offer you an alternative transport to your destination without any additional charge. If they downgrade you to the lower class of service, they have to refund the difference, while an upgrade to the higher class will cost you nothing.

Chinese airlines are notorious for their delays and have so far not been required to offer financial compensation, this is due to change sometime next year. You have the right to a refund if you have to change your travel plans because of reasons on the side of airlines, though.

South American airlines generally follow the international best practices. If you can’t board your original flight they find a seat on the next flight, if that is not possible they offer compensation. Compensation is also offered if there is a delay longer than 4 hours.

When you are in a country where there are no specific laws to give you rights, you should check the airline's terms and conditions to see if they have a policy for passengers who are denied boarding. In addition, you might be able to claim for damage caused by delay under the Montreal Convention.

At GoOpti, we are doing our best to resolve anything that might get in the way of a worry-free transfer to the airport. No matter where and which airline you are flying with, GoOpti transfer is the best way to start your journey.

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