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Were you impacted by an Air France flight cancellation or delay of more than 3 hours? If so, you need to understand Air France’s policy for handling these situations. You could be eligible for a €600 reimbursement per passenger!
Flight delays and cancellations are an unfortunate part of traveling and while any unexpected schedule changes can be very frustrating, don’t let them discourage you from traveling. Just make sure you know the rules and your rights when one of these situations occurs, especially if you are traveling to/from or within Europe.
If you are flying Air France, and your flight gets canceled or significantly delayed, here are the key things to know about Air France’s flight delay and cancellation policy, as well as the protections you have from European Regulation EU 261.
European Regulation EU 261
Everyone who takes a flight to/from or within Europe needs to understand Regulation US 261.
EU 261 regulation was passed in 2004 to protect airline passengers against severe flight disruptions. The legislation states that long delays, cancellations, missed connections and flight re-bookings cause great inconvenience to airline passengers, and as such, affected passengers should be compensated.
If you are on a flight to/from/within the European Union (“EU”), regulation EU 261 applies in the following situations:
- Your flight is within the EU and operated by an EU or non-EU airline.
- Your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline.
- Your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline.
EU Regulation 261 will not apply if your flight arrives in the EU and is operated by a non-EU airline. It applies to all EU-based airlines but only applies to U.S. airlines when a U.S. airline is leaving the European Union.
Furthermore, even though Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland are not part of the EU, flights to and from those countries are covered under EU 261.
EU 261 Compensation
With EU 261, you are entitled to compensation from the airline in the following cases:
- Delays: If your flight arrives at its destination 3 or more hours late.
- Cancellations: If you have been informed of a flight cancellation less than 14 days before the departure date.
- Overbooking: If the airline overbooked your flight and you are denied boarding due to lack of seat availability.
- Missed Connections Due to Delay: If you arrive at your final destination 3 or more hours late due to a missed connecting flight.
The amount of compensation you are eligible for will vary depending on the length of the delay and flight distance.
Now, let’s see how it applies to an Air France canceled or delayed flight.
Air France Flight Delays: What to do if your Flight is Delayed?
If your flight is delayed and you are looking for compensation, you will need to determine if the cause of the delay was within the airline’s control. A controllable flight delay (or cancellation) is a delay or cancellation that has been caused by the airline and qualifies for reimbursement under EU 261.
Controllable vs. Non-Controllable Delays & Cancellations
- Controllable Delays are caused by things the airline has control over such as maintenance and mechanical issues, lack of available equipment, cabin cleaning, flight crew schedules, fueling, baggage loading, etc.
- Non-Controllable Delays or delays due to “Extraordinary Circumstances” are caused by things that are outside of the airline’s control such as weather, air traffic congestion, air space closure, terrorism, political instability, emergency diversion, etc.
EU 261 Definition of a “Delay”
Another important definition to consider is the definition of a delay under EU 261. A delay is not determined by the time you leave your departure gate. It is calculated based on the time you arrive at the gate of your destination. This gives the airlines some opportunity to make up for the lost time in the air.
Air France’s Policy for Controllable Flight Delays:
If your flight is significantly delayed for a controllable reason, Air France will do the following:
- Rebook you on another Air France flight at no extra cost.
- Provide you with a meal voucher.
- Provide complimentary hotel accommodations and ground transportation (if impacted by an overnight delay).
- Provide two free phone calls
For further details, here is a link to the Air France Passenger Rights page.
How to check Air France flight status
You can check the status of any Air France flight via the Flight Status and Notification section of the Air France website. Here you can search by flight number; if you don’t have the flight number, you can search by the route.
Air France Flight Cancellations: What to do if your Flight is Cancelled?
If your flight is canceled, you will have the same protections in place you will for a significant delay.
However, you are not entitled to compensation if any of the following three situations occur:
- You are informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before your departure date
- You are informed of the cancellation between 14 days and 7 days before departure and your departing flight leaves no more than two hours before the original departure time and/or you arrive no more than four hours after the planned arrival time
- You are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before departure and your departing flight leaves no more than one hour before the original departure time and/or you arrive no more than two hours after the planned arrival time.
Air France Flight Delay & Cancellation Compensation
As stated earlier, if your flight was delayed by 3 hours or more (on arrival) you may be able to get compensation from Air France. To file a claim and see if you are eligible, go to the Air France Flight Delay Compensation page and fill out the form.
How to File a Flight Delay Compensation Claim
If your Air France flight is delayed or canceled, you could be owed up to €600 per person in compensation from Air France, in addition to a refund of the ticket cost.
If this sounds confusing and you need some help understanding your rights and your potential refund amount, AirHelp is a company that specializes in helping you get the compensation you are entitled to.
It’s always best to first check with the airline directly, but if they are not helpful, you can use a claim company like AirHelp to help resolve the claim. Check out their compensation per airline page so you can find out what you’re owed.
Flight delays and cancellations are inevitable, you can’t totally avoid them, but there are things you can do to reduce your chances of experiencing them. And if you do encounter a significant delay or cancellation, it’s always good to know the rules and the rights provided to you by both the airline and the government. Hopefully, this article helps!