Dozens of flights were canceled during the strikes and subsequent crowds in Schiphol. What are you entitled to if you do not leave your flight?
1. What if your flight is cancelled?
Never conclude that your flight has been cancelled. “Your flight is only canceled if you are notified by email, text message or on the signs at the airport,” says Paul Vaneker of EUclaim, who informs travelers via rightsofairpassengers.nl. If your flight has already been cancelled, please inform the airline’s office. “They have a transportation obligation, so they have to arrange a replacement.”
During the busy May holiday, dozens of flights were canceled (47 from KLM alone), meaning long queues at the service desk. “It’s probably faster to book a ticket on your phone with the same airline or another airline to your destination,” Vannecker says.
“You can book a flight and advertise it yourself if your airline isn’t doing it for you – on time.”
Joyce Donut, Consumers Association
“You can actually book a flight yourself and advertise it if your airline isn’t doing it for you – in a timely manner,” said spokeswoman Joyce Donut of the De Consumer Association. “But it should be a similar journey.” It is a good idea to check in advance with the airline how they handle reimbursement for similar alternative flights.
2. Do you get a refund or a replacement flight ticket?
If the airline offers you an alternative flight, you can check if it is ‘appropriate’. “Let’s say you’re going to Vienna for a short city trip,” Vannecker says. “If the alternate flight leaves after a day, it might not make sense.” If so, you can cancel the flight and request a refund of your ticket.
If you arrive at your holiday address later, you are not entitled to the vacation days that you have missed. In this case, you are sometimes better off with a vacation package (eg flight and hotel). Donut: “The service provider is then obligated to arrange a fee for the hotel.”
3. When are you entitled to compensation?
In addition to a new ticket or refund, you are sometimes entitled to compensation as a traveller. The amount depends on the distance you travel, the length of the delay, and the time of your notification. Compensation is only applicable if you arrive more than two hours later at your final destination. This compensation ranges from 125 euros (for trips of up to 1,500 km) to 600 euros.
As a passenger, you are only entitled to compensation if the delay is not caused by force majeure (eg weather conditions, terrorism, volcanic eruptions).
Strikes by employees, or Staff shortage as in Transavia, is not considered force majeure. Then travelers are entitled to compensation. Strikes by third parties (eg air traffic control) involve force majeure and the right to compensation slips.
Coupon allowed, but only if it is also offered for a refund.
Joyce Donut, Consumers Association
4. What if the airline offers a voucher?
And airlines provided vouchers to travelers if flights did not leave, especially during Corona. “This is allowed, but only if there is also a refund offer,” Donat says. “And that didn’t always happen.”
In addition, complaints were received from the Consumers Association regarding vouchers that did not arrive or could not be exchanged. “You don’t have to accept a voucher as a traveller. We’ve fought for that for a long time.” Coupons are now rarely offered when a flight is cancelled.
5. How do you claim compensation and compensation?
“Try to arrange this yourself with the airline first,” Donut advises. “In most cases, that’s okay.” The association has prepared a letter form for the members for compensation or compensation. You must send this to the airline. Do this within two years, otherwise the right to compensation will expire.
“In general, you can say: the cheaper the ticket, the more difficult it is to claim money.”
Paul Fanker, EUclaim
In addition, there are several companies, including EUclaim, that help consumers make a claim. “This is done on a no cure, no pay basis,” Vaneker says. If the claim is granted, the company will get a share of the money.
Vaneker says some airlines make requesting compensation or refunds more complicated than others. “In general, you can say: the cheaper the ticket, the more difficult it is to claim money.”
6. What if you miss your flight because of long wait times in Schiphol?
Requirements are set not only for the airline, but also for the traveler. The traveler must have a valid travel document and ticket. “And he has to be at the check-in desk and gate on time,” Vaneker says.
If you are late, for example, due to long queues at passport control, you do not meet these requirements and your right to compensation has expired. Donat says some travel insurance policies cover check-in. After that, rebooking costs will be reimbursed.
Correction: An earlier version of this post mentioned “customs” where “passport control” was meant. So the message has been modified.
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