LivingTravelPassenger rights when flying to or from Ireland

Passenger rights when flying to or from Ireland

What are your passenger rights when flying to Ireland? If you actually read the terms and conditions of a flight reservation, it may seem at first glance that all you have is the right to remain silent and seated. But you actually have many more rights, courtesy of European Regulation EC 261/2004. These rights automatically apply to all EU-based airlines, and to all those flying to and from the EU. In summary, if you are flying in or out of Ireland, whether on Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Belavia or Delta, these are your passenger rights (under normal circumstances):

Your right to information

Your rights as an air passenger must be shown at check-in. And if your flight is delayed for more than two hours, or if boarding is denied, you should receive a written statement of your rights.

Your rights if boarding is denied due to overselling

If an airline has overbooked a flight and all the passengers show up, well, what a surprise! In this case, the airline has to ask for volunteers to stay.

In addition to any compensation agreed between the volunteer and the airline, these passengers are entitled to alternative flights or a full refund.

If there are no volunteers, the airline may deny boarding to some passengers. These must be compensated for your denied boarding. Depending on the duration of the flight, you can claim between € 250 and € 600. You must also be offered an alternative flight or a full refund. If an alternate flight is not available within a reasonable time, you may also be entitled to overnight accommodation, a free meal, snacks, and a phone call.

Your rights if your flights are delayed

EC 261/2004 defines your rights in case of a longer delay. 15 minutes or so (actually the ‘normal delay’ at Dublin airport) doesn’t count.

You are eligible for compensation after the following delays:

  • Two hours if your flight is less than 1,500 km.
  • Three hours for flight distances within the EU exceeding 1,500 km or flights to / from outside the EU spanning less than 3,500 km
  • Four hours for all flights over 3,500 km.

If a flight is delayed for more than five hours, you are automatically entitled to a refund if you decide not to fly.

Your airline has to provide a free meal and refreshments after these delays, as well as a free phone call and even free accommodation and transportation if the flight is delayed overnight.

In addition, the Montreal Convention provides for possible financial compensation if you can show that the delay has caused you a loss.

Your rights if your flights are canceled

Flight canceled? In this case, the options are easy: you can choose between a full refund or a rerouting to your final destination. Plus, you are entitled to free meals, soft drinks, and a phone call. If your flight is canceled in the short term, you may also be entitled to compensation of € 250 to € 600.

Exceptions … as usual

Ever wonder why no one in “Die Hard 2” asked for a free meal? Easy: There are extraordinary circumstances where an airline could never be expected to operate within normal parameters.

Generally speaking, you are not entitled to anything in case of delays or cancellations caused by

  • Political instability
  • Bad weather
  • A security risk
  • An unexpected flight risk
  • Strikes

Bottom line: If you find yourself in a war zone or in the eye of the hurricane, a flight delay should be the least of your worries.

The Montreal Convention – Other rights

In addition to the above rules, the Montreal Convention still applies.

If you are killed or injured during your flight, you (or your surviving family members) are entitled to compensation, no matter how low.

In the much more common case of lost, damaged or delayed luggage, you can demand up to 1,000 Special Drawing Rights, an artificial “currency” created and controlled by the International Monetary Fund. You should receive your written claim within 7 (damages) or 21 (delays) days.

Looking for Number One – Airline Style

Take any budget airline like Ireland’s Ryanair – these guys will take you for a song and a prayer. Or less. Relying on “other matters” to profit. How to sell you food and drinks. Obviously, giving them away for free doesn’t fit the business model. So compensation is likely to be avoided like the plague if possible.

Which can lead to unreliable practices. Like taking passengers on a plane that is not close to starting.

There may be valid reasons behind this. And there may be valid reasons why you were not offered compensation.

But when in doubt … complain. First with the airline staff. If that doesn’t work, contact the authorities. Airlines can only continue to provide poor service if we, the passengers, remain mute.

Where to complain

The Commission for the Regulation of Aviation was designated as the national body for the application of these regulations; contact them through their full website. But remember: if your complaint relates to European Regulation EC 261/2004, you must first contact the airline.

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