Was your flight delayed or cancelled? Time-limits for bringing legal actions against the airline company are determined by each Member State

Ana-Maria Alexandru
Ana-Maria Alexandru

The Regulation no. 261/2004 is a flight compensation regulation, applicable within the E.U. member states which establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations or long delays.

You are entitled to compensation if your flight has been delayed, cancelled or if it was overbooked.

However, Regulation 261/2004 does not provide any deadline under which you as a passenger need to file an application to claim the compensation in court.

By the decision issued in the case Joan Cuadrench Moré vs. Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV (Case C-139/11) the Court said that the time-limits for bringing actions for compensation under Articles 5 and 7 of that regulation are determined in accordance with the rules of each Member State on the limitation of actions. The same view was also maintained within the E.U. Official Gazzette.

There is no harmonisation of deadlines in Europe.  Each member state applies its own statute of limitation.

According to the provisions of the Romanian Civil Code a three year deadline will be applicable, calculated from the date of the flight or the date when the flight was supposed to get to its destination.

Should you decide to file the claim by yourself, know that you can bring the case to the country of the departure airport or the arrival airport.

When flying from an E.U. member state to somewhere outside of the E.U. and with a non-E.U. airline, the location of the airport of departure will determine the time you have available for claiming compensation.

For international flights, the Montreal Convention sets a time limit of 2 years to claim damages.

“The right to damages shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within a period of two years, reckoned from the date of arrival at the destination, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped” – Article 35, Montreal Convention.

Based on the provisions of the Montreal Convention you are only eligible to compensation for damages incurred by the flight disruption, not for ‘’just’’ being delayed.

Worth mentioning that, although there are different time-limits within the E.U., the total amount of the compensation is determined by the distance covered by your flight:
– €250 for flights of up to 1500 kilometres
– €400 for flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres
– €600 for all other flights (that means of 3500+ kilometres)

Ana-Maria Alexandru

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