Air Passenger Rights

Air Passenger Rights 

 

The aim of the Ministry of Infrastructure Regulation 2008/5  which implements Regulation (EC) 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council was to establish common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the following situations:

Denied Boarding 

Cancellation 

Delay 

Downgrading 

Following the inception of the Regulation each Member State within the European Union was required to designate a responsible authority for its enforcement. Kosovo took the commitment to adopt the regulation when it became part of the Agreement on the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA).

The Ministry of Infrastructure has been designated as the national enforcement body (NEB) for Kosovo. A list of the other NEB's throughout the EU can be found here: List of other NEB's.

 

To whom does the Regulation apply?

 

The rights afforded by the Regulation apply to the following:

All passengers departing from EU/EEA/ECAA airports.

All passengers departing from outside of the EU/EEA/ECAA but arriving at an EU/EEA/ECAA airport on an EU/EEA/ECAA licensed carrier (unless they have already received compensation or assistance in that third country).

Enforcement of the Regulation is divided between the various Member States. The Ministry of Infrastructre, the Kosovar enforcement body, processes complaints which arise from flights departing from Prishtina airport or alternatively those arriving at the Prishtina airport from non EU countries on EU licensed carriers.

 

To whom does the Regulation not apply?

 

The Regulation does not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available to the public nor does it apply to passengers who have not checked in on time. It is important to note that tickets purchased under “Frequent Flyer Programmes” are not regarded as reduced fare tickets for the purpose of the Regulation.

 

Denied Boarding

 

Where a flight is overbooked and an air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding it shall first call for volunteers in exchange for benefits to be agreed. If there is an insufficient number of volunteers, the airline may deny boarding to passengers against their will but must compensate them and offer the following assistance:

Information: the air carrier shall provide a written notice setting out the rules for assistance in line with the Regulation. In addition, a sign must be displayed at the check-in area referring to air passenger rights under the Regulation.

Passengers shall be offered the choice between reimbursement of the cost of their ticket if they decide not to travel; and rerouting to their final destination at the earliest opportunity. Passengers may choose to travel at a later date at their convenience, subject to the availability of seats.

Meals and refreshments shall be offered free of charge and in reasonable relation to the waiting time.

Hotel accommodation shall be provided where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary, as well as transport between the hotel and the place of accommodation.

Two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails shall be offered

Compensation as set out in the table (below). The amount of compensation payable may be reduced by 50% if the rerouting offered allows the passenger to arrive at his/her final destination close to the original planned arrival time.

 

Compensation Amounts related to Denied Boarding

 

For flights with a distance of 1500km or less and where the delay is less than 2 hours past the original planned arrival time: €125

For flights with a distance of 1500km or less and where the delay is more than 2 hours past the original planned arrival time: €250

For intra-Community flights of more than 1500km and all other flights between 1500km & 3500km where the delay is less than 3 hours past the original planned arraival time: €200

For Intra-Community flights of more than 1500km and all other flights between 1500km & 3500km where the delay is more than 3 hours past the original planned arrival time: €400

For all other flights not falling within the categories mentioned above and where the delay is less than 4 hours past the original planned arrival time: €300

For all other flights not falling within the categories mentioned above and where the delay is more than 4 hours past the original planned arrival time: €600

 

Cancellation

 

Cancellation with prior notice. 


Under the terms of the Regulation your entitlement and compensation varies depending on when you were informed of the cancellation. 


The airline must provide at least two weeks notice to avoid paying compensation and they must then offer either:

an alternative flight at the earliest opportunity or at a later date of your choice subject to the availability of seats; or

a full refund of the ticket.

If you have been given between two weeks and seven days notice the airline must offer a choice between:

an alternative flight departing no more than two hours before your original departure time and allowing arrival at your final destination within fours hours of the original scheduled time of arrival; or

a full refund of the ticket.

Less than seven days notice requires the airline to offer the choice between:

an alternative flight departing no more than one hour before your original departure time and allowing arrival within two hours of the original scheduled time of arrival; or

a full refund of the ticket.

Airlines are entitled to offer a passenger comparable transport to the final destination if no alternative flight with the carrier is available. 

 


Cancellation upon arrival at the airport.

 

In the event of a cancellation without prior notification the Regulation provides the following: 

The air carrier shall provide a written notice setting out the rules for assistance in line with Article 14(2) of the Regulation. In addition, a sign must be displayed at the check-in area with the following text:

"If you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least two hours, ask a the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance"

Passengers must also be offered care and assistance free of charge while waiting for their rerouted flight– specifically, meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time, hotel accommodation in cases where an overnight stay becomes necessary, transport between the airport and place of accommodation and two telephone calls, emails, faxes or telexes.

An alternative flight at the earliest opportunity or by comparable transport to the final destination.

A full refund of the ticket 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 to the passenger’s original travel plan or when relevant a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity.

When a city, town or region is served by several airports, a carrier may offer a flight to an alternative airport to that originally booked. The carrier is then obliged to bear the cost of transferring the passenger to the airport to that which the booking was made or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.

 

Compensation.

Compensation in the event of a cancellation depends on the distance of the flight and the reason for the cancellation.

If an airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by an extraordinary circumstance which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures were taken no compensation is payable.

Examples of extraordinary circumstances may include meteorological conditions, air traffic control restrictions, security risks and strikes that affect the operation of the flight.

As previously stated, the distance of a flight determines the amount of compensation due. 

If the flight distance is:

1500km or less the amount payable is €250

1500km – 3500km and all EU flights over 3500km the amount payable is €400

3500km or more the amount payable is €600.

If an airline can offer rerouting to the final destination that does not exceed:

two hours for flights of less than 1500km;

three hours for flights between 1500km and 3500km; and

four hours for flights over 3500km

the compensation will be reduced by 50%.

It is very important to note that compensation is distinct from and separate to the notion of reimbursement of expenses and/ or the refund of the cost of an unused flight ticket.

 

Delay

 

Whether a delay comes within the terms of the Regulation depends upon the distance of the route involved and the delay itself must be at least 2 hours. The Regulation shall apply to:

delays of two hours or more in the case of flights of 1500km or less;

delays of three hours or more in the case of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500k, and of all other flights between 1500 and 3500km;

delays of four hours or more in the case of all other flights.

The operating air carrier must provide care and assistance in the event of such delays. This must consist of the following:

Information: the air carrier shall provide a written notice setting out the rules for assistance in line with the Regulation. In addition, a sign must be displayed at the check-in area referring to air passenger rights under the Regulation.

Meals and refreshments shall be offered free of charge and in reasonable relation to the waiting time.

Hotel accommodation shall be provided where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary, as well as transport between the hotel and the place of accommodation.

Communications: passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails.

Reimbursement: where the flight delay is at least five hours, passengers shall be offered 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 completed. If however, the purpose of the journey is no longer attainable, then reimbursement must be offered for the part of the journey already made, e.g. a flight from Prishtina to Zagreb will be reimbursed if the purpose of the flight was to travel on a connecting flight to Frankurt for a function at which attendance is no longer possible due to the delay. In addition there is a right to a return flight to the original point of departure where relevant. The right to reimbursement applies where the passenger decides not to travel as a result of the delay – it is not possible to travel and also claim reimbursement under the Regulation.

If the airline is unable to provide the above provisions free of charge, the airline should reimburse passengers for expenses incurred.

 

Compensation


Although the Regulation itself does not expressly state that compensation is payable in cases of delay, the ruling recently delivered by the European Court of Justice in the cases of Sturgeon -v- Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Bock and Others -v- Air France SA maintains that compensation may be payable in delay situations where the delay exceeds three hours.

The amount of compensation which may be payable in the aforementioned circumstances depends on the distance of the flight and the reason for the delay.

If an airline can prove that the delay was caused by an extraordinary circumstance which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures were taken, no compensation will be payable.

Examples of extraordinary circumstances may include meteorological conditions, air traffic control restrictions, security risks and strikes that affect the operation of the flight.

As previously stated, the distance of a flight determines the amount of compensation due. 

If the flight distance is:

1500km or less the amount payable is €250

1500km – 3500km and all EU flights over 3500km the amount payable is €400

3500km or more the amount payable is €600.

It is very important to note that compensation is distinct from and separate to the notion of reimbursement of expenses and/ or the refund of the cost of an unused flight ticket.

 

Downgrading

 

When an airline places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was bought they must refund a percentage of the ticket. The refund amount varies depending on the flight distance.

If the flight distance is:

1500km or less: 30% of the ticket must be refunded;

1500km – 3500km: 50% of the ticket must be refunded;

Greater than 3500km: 75% of the ticket must be refunded.

If an airline places a passenger in a class higher (i.e. upgrading) than that for which the ticket was purchased, it may not request any supplementary payment.

 

Complaint Procedure

 

It is recommended that passengers first submit complaints under MI Regulation 2008/5 (EU Regulation 261/ 2004) to the air carrier for its attention. However, if the air carrier fails to conclude the matter in accordance with the Regulation, or to the satisfaction of the passenger, the complaint should be forwarded either to this Office or to the appropriate national enforcement body (NEB). 

Per Article 16 of the Regulation, the NEB of each Member State is responsible for departures from airports within its territory and arrivals into such airports from third countries on Community-licensed carriers. Therefore if your flight departed from London Heathrow then your complaint should be submitted to the UK NEB, whereas if the flight departed from Prishtina then the appropriate body is this Ministry. A comprehensive list of all the national enforcement bodies can be accessed by clicking here.

To ensure that you include all relevant information in your complaint, the Ministry has prepared a complaint form which is similar to that prepared by the European Commission. 

When submitting your complaint please ensure that you enclose copies of your itinerary/ e-ticket, receipts and any other relevant documentation. Originals should be retained by the passenger.

In the event that passengers have difficulty obtaining contact details for their air carrier, please contact this office and we will endeavour to assist you.

Complaints which are being escalated for the attention of the Ministry may be sent by email to [email protected] , fax +381 (0) 38 211 167, or post to the following address: Civil Aviation Division; Ministry of Infrastructure; Ndërtesa e Gërmisë; Prishtina 10000, Kosovo.

Should you require any further information please contact us on Tel: 038 200 28 105 or if overseas on Tel: +381 38 200 28 105 from 0815 to 15:45 CET.


FAQ's

Q: My flight was delayed. Am I entitled to financial compensation?

A: Although the Regulation itself does not expressly state that compensation is payable in cases of delay, the ruling recently delivered by the European Court of Justice in the cases of Sturgeon -v- Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Bock and Others -v- Air France SA maintains that compensation may be payable in delay situations where the delay exceeds three hours.

See our Delay section for further details on compensation entitlements.

Q: What else am I entitled to, if my flight is delayed?

A: Care and assistance should be provided as stated in Article 9 of the Regulation. This should consist of meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting period, two free telephone calls, emails or faxes and hotel accommodation where the waiting period is overnight. Where the delay is over five hours duration, reimbursement of the cost of the ticket for the part of the journey not taken can be claimed if a passenger decides not to travel. Your travel insurance may also cover delays to flights and you should check your policy for details. 


Q: My flight was delayed over two hours. The air carrier said that they could not provide meals and refreshments, but that I should keep any receipts. What should I do?

A: In the event of a long delay an air carrier is obliged to provide passengers with the care and assistance specified in Article 9 of the Regulation. Failure to do so is an infringement of the Regulation. If you have incurred reasonable expenses as a result of an air carriers failure to comply with the provisions of Regulation 2008/5  (EU Regualtion No. 261/2004) you must be reimbursed these expenses by the air carrier. If the air carrier fails to reimburse you within a reasonable period of time your complaint refers to a delay which occured at a Kosovar airport, you may send your complaint to this Ministry. 


Q. I have been told that my flight is now operating at a different time than I when I originally made the booking. The airline says this is because of a “schedule change”. I am due a refund or compensation?

A. Regulation 2008/5  (Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004) establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in four specified circumstances. Unfortunately the Regulation makes no reference to schedule changes. As a result these are usually governed by the terms and conditions agreed to at booking.

Q. My flight has been cancelled. I have been offered an alternative flight to a different airport in the city I am travelling to. Is the airline required to pay for onward transport to my original destination airport? 

A. Yes. Where a town city or region is served by several airports, an operating carrier offers a flight to an airport alternative to that for which the booking was made, the carrier shall bear the cost of transport from that alternative airport either to that for which the booking was made or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.

Q: The airline, having cancelled my flight, only offered a flight the next day which was unsuitable. As a result I booked another flight with a different airline. What are my refund entitlements? 

A: You are entitled to a refund for the unused (cancelled) flight from the airline. However Regulation 2008/5  (EU Regulation 261/2004) does not provide for reimbursement of alternative travel expenses or losses incurred due to a delayed arrival at your destination. To claim consequential expenses such as these it will be necessary to take a case against the airline under the Montreal Convention in the appropriate court. 

Q: My complaint relates to the loss of, damage or delay to my baggage. Can the Ministry of Infrastructure help me with this?

A: The Ministry has no remit in relation to baggage complaints. In the event that your baggage has been lost, delayed or damaged the Montreal Convention affords you certain entitlements. 

Q. I have cancelled my own flight. Am I due a refund of the full price paid or just the taxes and charges element?

Passengers who choose to cancel their own flights are bound by the booking conditions agreed to when the reservation was made. Some tickets are fully refundable while others, particularly the lowest priced tickets, may be non-refundable. The taxes and charges element of flights should be refundable however, and a claim for a refund should be made directly to the airline. Such refunds may be subject to an administration fee. Please note the Ministry of Infrastructure has no enforcement powers regarding the level of administration fee charged. We would recommend contacting the National Consumer Agency if you have further queries in relation to this matter.

Q. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised against all travel to a particular country due to a natural disaster. I am due to go on holiday soon to this country. If I cancel my flight am I due a full refund? 

A. A refund would be due under the Regulation if the airline cancels the flight. If it does not, then you would be bound by the conditions agreed to at the time of booking. In most cases airlines will be aware of a travel advisory and will offer refunds. 


Q. I was due to travel from Prishtina to New York via London with all my flights on the same ticket. On arrival in London it was announced that the New York flight was cancelled. As a result I missed an important engagement in New York and now have no reason to go there. What are my entitlements? 

A. As well as the rights described in the cancellation section you are also entitled to a free flight back to your original departure point if as a result of a cancellation of a connecting flight your journey no longer serves its intended purpose. 


Q. My connecting flights were booked separately. If my first flight is cancelled am I entitled to a refund for my other flight(s)?

A. Unlikely. If the bookings were made separately they will be regarded as separate contracts and under the terms of the Regulation a refund will only be due for the cancelled flight. However if the bookings were all made with the same airline you may receive a refund at their discretion.


Q. Does the Ministry of Infrastructure have any responsibility for safety issues which might arise onboard an aircraft?

A. No. The Kosovo Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the body responsible for the regulation of safety standards in Kosovar civil aviation. They are contactable on: +381 (0)38 248 629 on [email protected] Please see their website for further information: http://www.caa-ks.org 

Q. Does the European Commission provide standardised guidelines for National Enforcement bodies and Airlines to follow for (EC) 261/2004 complaints across all member states? 

Following a series of meetings with relevant stakeholders in 2007, the European Commission has published an interpretation document which provide answers to further questions on Regulation (EC) 261/2004 and complaint handling guidelines for Airlines and Enforcement bodies. However the document in itself is not as yet legally binding. See the European Commissions Air Passenger Rights information homepage for further information.


AIR PASSENGER RIGHTS - COMPLAINT FORM

 

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