As we know, the health crisis has seriously affected the aviation sector. Employees had to cut wages to be more productive. Circumstances that may lead to a call for struggle, sometimes unacceptable. Last December, we witnessed a Brussels Airlines cabin crew strike affecting at least 3,500 passengers. We also remember that in the summer of 2018, the company’s continuous strikes affected thousands of Belgians. low cost Irish, Ryan Air. Thanks for the discussions with Test Achats, for passengers who have only recently been offered compensation.
What are your rights in this regard?
1. Your “basic” rights
Regulation n ° 261/2004, a European regulation, covers the rights of air travelers in the event of a cancellation of a flight, with or without a strike. The airline will ask you to notify us of the cancellation and provide you with alternatives to resolve the event. Firstly, you are entitled to a refund at the rate paid within seven days from the date of cancellation of your ticket. However, under comparable traffic conditions, you are allowed to opt for re-routing to the final destination as soon as possible or at a later date. In this case, the airline should provide you with free meals: the possibility of adequate food and communication (telephone call, email, fax); Hotel accommodation, as well as transportation from the airport to the accommodation in case one or more overnight (or more) overnight stays are required while waiting for the next flight.
2. One time compensation?
In some cases, you may be entitled to a lump sum compensation of between 250 and 600 euros, depending on the distance of the canceled flight (whether following a strike or not). You will only receive such compensation if you have been notified of the cancellation at least two weeks prior to the scheduled departure time; This period can be shortened if the company respects certain conditions regarding alternative flights. Warning: The airline will do everything possible to avoid it. To do this, it seeks to prove that the cancellation was due to unavoidable “extraordinary circumstances” even if all reasonable steps were taken (for example, one thinks of the weather blocking a flight). What about struggles? Does the airline not compensate you for these “extraordinary circumstances”?
Most strikes affecting the airline sector are announced in advance by the unions to put pressure on the company so that they do not meet the conditions of a wildcat strike. Therefore, it can be considered that the airline has reasonably had time to take the necessary steps to limit the inconvenience to the passengers. The European Court of Justice, which is responsible for interpreting Regulation No. 261/2004, recently reiterated this: It is a foregone conclusion for any employer that workers are exercising their fundamental right (fundamental right to strike) and initiating strikes. , Especially when giving notice prior to a strike. Therefore, this is not an “extraordinary circumstance” that allows the airline to escape the obligation to pay you a one-time compensation.
3. Additional compensation?
The idea of ”lump sum” compensation (between 250 and 600 euros) is that you get the minimum amount without proving the specific damage. However, you are as likely as any injured party to act under civil liability under the agreement to claim additional compensation from the airline. This, in turn, causes a particular loss on the condition that there is a malfunction on the part of the company (one thinks of a paid tour before cancellation, a loss of profit within the framework of a ‘business’ trip).
4. How can your rights be exercised?
You must first submit your complaint using the standard EU complaint form available on each airline’s website. In the absence of a satisfactory response within a reasonable time (which can be assessed in 5-6 weeks), you may contact the National Body responsible for the implementation of Regulation No. 261/2004. (Passenger Rights Strategic Unit of FPS Mobility and Transport). However, the latter does not have the power to compel airlines to pay compensation to passengers. If the company retains its position following its intervention, it is up to you to seize the competent court to resolve the dispute.
If you wish to avoid these procedures, you can use the payment services of an international company to protect the rights of air travelers, such as air help and flight rights. Thanks to their intervention, if you receive compensation from the airline, they are entitled to a service fee, which will be deducted from the compensation received (approximately 30%).
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