Compensation for charter flight delays. Do you claim from the airline or the travel agent?

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Your flight home from a package holiday has been delayed by several hours. Even though the flight was part of a package holiday can you claim compensation?

Refunds4.me clients – Mr. Robert and his wife Joanna spent an unforgettable holiday in Brazil in December 2018. On the day before they were due to return home they were informed by their travel agents that their charter flight from Rio de Janeiro had been cancelled.  The travel agents did their best and found an alternative flight, but this departed a day later than originally scheduled. Some holidaymakers were pleased at gaining an extra day of holiday as the tour operator also provided them with accommodation and food.

Unfortunately, this was not good news for Mr. Robert. He had a number of important scheduled business plans which this delay was forcing him to miss. Rescheduling all his meetings cost him a lot of time, anxiety and considerable expense on telephone calls. In addition, the return flight, which should have been direct, was replaced by another one with a few hours stopover. In this situation are these tourists entitled to flight delay compensation and should this be paid by the airline or travel agent?

Read more: Airlines often withhold information from passengers in order to avoid paying compensation.

Refunds4.me had two interesting pieces of information for Mr and Mrs Robert. Both of these were good news. First of all – Regulation (EC) No 261/200 of the European Parliament and of the Council of February 11, 2004 provides that passengers on flights that are part of package tours should have the same rights as passengers on regular flights. This means that an airline that was required to transport package holiday customers is required to pay them compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight. For flights from Rio de Janeiro, this is 600 euros per person. Refunds.4me secured this compensation for our clients.

The second piece of good news is that not only the airline is deemed responsible for the delay in returning from the trip, but also the travel agency that organized the trip.

The compensation from a travel agency is calculated on the basis of the Frankfurt Table – it determines the financial liability of the travel agency for any negligence, including for each hour of postponing return from an organized trip (provided that the delay was more than 4 hours). The calculation of the amount of compensation at first glance looks quite complicated – it is the equivalent of 5% of the cost of each day of stay in the hotel (price of the trip minus the cost of the trip), multiplied by the length of the delay. When estimating compensation, it is worth using the following example:

Tour price: PLN 10,000
Flight price: PLN 2,000
Length of stay: 14 days
Delay time: 25 hours

The calculation shows that the cost of the trip without a flight was PLN 8,000. From the number of hours of delay we have to subtract the time until which the travel agency does not have to pay compensation (4 hours). The formula for the amount of compensation looks as follows: 5% x (trip price without flight PLN 8000) x 21 hours (25 hours minus 4 hours) x 1/14 (1 day of 14 days of stay).

5% x PLN 8,000 x 21 hours x 1/14 = PLN 600

The above calculation shows that for a 25-hour delay the travel agency should pay passengers PLN 600. To receive this money the passenger should file a complaint to the travel agency. The above calculations should be shown and a settlement signed that that would allow the receipt of compensation. However, before anything is signed please note one very important detail.

Read also: When the airline blames the weather for flight delays and cancellations. How it can be proven that the conditions really were good enough to fly.

The travel agency will probably note in the settlement that the compensation paid closes all claims against the tour operator. It should be ensured that by signing the settlement no claims are waived against the airline, which is also responsible for the delay and should pay separate compensation. It is worth remembering that claims against travel agents and airlines are not mutually exclusive and can be claimed separately.

If it is planned to request compensation from a travel agency, you should read the Frankfurt Table, which is available in this link. It determines the amount of compensation that can be claimed in almost all possible situations that affect holiday satisfaction. These include problems with the standard of the hotel or room including absence of a promised balcony, TV, or air conditioning.  Poor standards of cleaning, power failure, and insect infestation can be compensated for.

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