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Regulation UK261

EU Regulation EC261 vs Regulation UK261.

What is the difference between the two? In the EU, you are protected by EU Regulation EC261/2004, but in the UK — by the Regulation UK261. Before Brexit, passengers travelling on UK flights and with UK airlines were protected by the same EU regulation. But once Brexit kicked in, a new law has been brought into force. Yes, there are minor differences, but all in all things haven’t gotten any worse or much better. 

It’s just that now there are two laws.

And sometimes you can refer to any of them.

Regulation UK261

Based on its EU counterpart, the EU Regulation EC261, the Regulation UK261 is the new passenger protection law in the UK. It has been brought into force as of January 2021, right after Brexit. This regulation protects passengers flying with UK airlines, and when travelling on other airlines to and from the UK.

Just like the EC261, the UK261 defines what are the airline’s responsibilities when it comes to delays, cancellations and overbookings. It’s basically a set of rules and guidelines regarding compensations, refunds and other things related to flight disruptions.

You are protected (no change):

It also gives you a right to care from airline in certain situations.

All Scenarios When You Can and When You Can’t Get Compensation From Airline

Sometimes you can refer to both of these laws. 

But there are also times when only one of them apply. The most important here thing is — you need to know where the airline you are flying with is based. Is it a EU member country? Is it the UK? Or is it a country outside the EU?

Here are all the possible scenarios.

Your flight is with a UK airline (for example, easyJet):

Regulation UK261Regulation EC261/2004
EU – EU
EU – UK
EU – Third Country
UK – EU
UK – UK
UK – Third Country
Third Country – EU
Third Country – UK

Your flight is with a EU airline:

Regulation UK261Regulation EC261/2004
EU – EU
EU – UK
EU – Third Country
UK – EU
UK – UK
UK – Third Country
Third Country – EU
Third Country – UK

Your flight is with other airline (non-EU, non-UK):

Regulation UK261Regulation EC261/2004
EU – EU
EU – UK
EU – Third Country
UK – EU
UK – UK
UK – Third Country
Third Country – EU
Third Country – UK

Take into account that if you have a connecting flight, your “real destination” is your final destination. Since you have a connecting flight, consider all these flights as a whole trip. Do not dissect your connecting flight leg by leg. If you have a connecting flight from Frankfurt to Cancun, Mexico via Lisbon, Cancun is your final destination. Even though it’s your Frankfurt – Lisbon flight that’s heavily delayed or cancelled last-minute.

OK, it is not relevant in this case, because easyJet is a budget airline that doesn’t sell connecting flights. But it’s still good to know this fact. Because this law applies to other airlines as well.

Euro banknotes
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

How to Claim Compensation for Delays, Cancellations, Denied Boarding?

In order to get compensation, you must file a claim.

Otherwise you won’t get anything. The same stands true also with refunds and baggage compensation. In most cases, you can choose either to claim compensation yourself, or work with a flight compensation company. The latter one is the easiest option, but it’s a paid service.

Do you want to take the easiest path?

When choosing this option, here is all you will have to do:

Go to
this page

Fill in a claim form

Upload documents*

Sign online

And that’s it — the rest is handled by professionals.

* Your boarding pass and passport or ID copy.

How Much Can You Claim?

It depends on the distance of your flight.

When your destination is within the EU/UK:

£220

If the distance of your flight is
up to 1500 km

£350

If the distance of your flight is between 1500 – 3500 km

When your destination is outside the EU/UK:

£220

If the distance of your flight is
up to 1500 km

£350

If the distance of your flight is between 1500 – 3500 km

£520

If the distance of your flight is more than 3500 km

Claiming Flight Compensation Yourself

There are two ways how you can claim compensation.

Either you can do it yourself, or hand it over to a flight compensation company. If you want to do it yourself, the first step would be finding out the reason behind the problem. Why is your flight delayed or cancelled? Is it something out of airline’s control, like bad weather or a massive strike? Or is it something that airline could have prevented — for example, technical problems with the aircraft.

As you might already know, if the delay or cancellation has happened due to the fault of the airline, you may be entitled to compensation. If that’s the case, contact your airline (in this case, easyJet). To do so, go to their website. You can also contact the airline using social media or email. Keep in mind that it can take a couple of weeks or even months before the airline replies. 

If the easyJet refuses to pay compensation, find out what is the reason. If you still think you are entitled to compensation, do not give up. If you don’t agree with the airline, ask for an explanation. If it’s going nowhere, and if your flight falls under the UK law, contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Their role is to enforce the law and make sure the passengers are treated according to the regulations.

Which Regulation to Refer To?

There are times when you can refer to both regulations. But oftentimes — you can refer only to one. See the table above to get the idea. 

Why it’s so important? Is there any difference? Yes!

You see, if you are claiming the compensation yourself, there might be a need to contact the National Enforcement Body (NEB) of the country your airline is based in. If the airline is denying your claim, and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you’ll contact the NEB. But which one to contact? In cases when you can refer to both UK and EU regulations, you can choose between two National Enforcement Bodies — UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or the NEB of the EU country your airline is registered in.

For instance, your flight is with Air France from a city in the EU to a city in the UK. You can refer to both regulations when filing a claim — to the UK261 and the EC261/2004. In this case you can contact either the French NEB (Direction générale de l’aviation civile, DGAC) or the UK’s NEB (Civil Aviation Authority, CAA).

If you believe that it will be easier for you to work with the CAA, then do so! If you are French, then naturally it’s easier for you to communicate in French. In this case, work with Direction générale de l’aviation civile. 

Or, if one of the NEBs take too long to respond…

In this case, you can submit the complaint also to the other institution. Now you have this second option, and that’s what has changed after Brexit.

Featured photo by Austin Zhang from Pexels

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