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EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

Haifa
posts: 3
EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

Hello all,

My American Airlines flight from Mexico to Madrid has been cancelled and I've been delayed ~24 hours in Mexico City airport waiting for an alternative flight. I turned to American Airlines and requested compensation in accordance with European Union Regulation (EC) 261/2004.

I was told by American Airlines that the Regulations do no apply to them, since my flight was from a Third Country to the EU - and in this case the Regulations apply only to "Community carriers". They claim American Airlines is not a Community carrier.

"Community carriers" are defined as "airlines licensed in a Member State of the EU" (as per Article 2 of the Regulations).

Does anyone know if American Airlines is indeed not a Community carrier? Is it even logical? That would mean they're not "licensed" to operate in a Member State of the EU (or is that a different thing?)

Thanks a lot in advance!

Roy-the-confused.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 11,657
reviews: 23
1. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

They are not a community carrier as defined by EU Reg 261/2004 and as the flight started from a non EU airport then the provisions of EU 261/2004 do not apply.

They are licensed to operate in the EU but that is different from being a community carrier. From the EU regs:

c) "Community carrier" means an air carrier with a valid operating licence granted by a Member State in accordance with the provisions of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2407/92 of 23 July 1992 on licensing of air carriers(5);

AA's operating license will have been granted by the relevant US body (FAA?).

Edited: 5:00 pm, November 19, 2012
Colico, Lombardia...
posts: 11
2. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

This is why it's advantageous to fly only on EU registered carriers on flights to an EU country. (All carriers' flights from EU countries are covered by EU Regulation 261 2004.) Many EU registered carriers see their obligations under the regulation as burdens, but, if they were more proactive, they would use this as a promotional tool... the "is the glass half full or half empty?" analogy.

Edited: 6:00 pm, November 19, 2012
3. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

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Edited: 11:05 pm, November 19, 2012
Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Air Travel, Business Travel
posts: 7,179
reviews: 81
4. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

This is why there are greater restrictions on EU airline tickets, why they grab extreme fees for award tickets and upgrades, and they still don't pay out as much as people think they do.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 14,176
reviews: 71
5. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

Hi,

"Does anyone know if American Airlines is indeed not a Community carrier? Is it even logical? That would mean they're not "licensed" to operate in a Member State of the EU (or is that a different thing?)"

==> Two very different things here.. Licensed to OPERATE by XYZ country and licensed to FLY TO (from or via as well) XYZ..

Where a carrier is licensed, or within the industry known as where their Aircraft Operators Certificate is issued-- speaks to what country they are domiciled in and under what governments rules do they fall under.

It also plays a HUGE role in how they are capitalized as most nations have strict rules about the percentage of non-national ownership a national airline may have. It also impacts where they can fly as carriers commonly are granted flying rights based on inter-governmental aviation treaties.

By contrast a license to to fly TO (from or via) speaks to a government granting authority to a non-national carrier to fly to their country and the specifics thereof.

American Airlines has their AOC issued by the US' FAA, and as such are considered a US carrier, not EU.

As always, foreign governments CAN impose their rules (such as EU's 261/204) on non-national carriers, but that ability commonly only extends to flights that are or will: a) operate to, b) operate from, c) operate via, or b) operate on an over-fly basis.

Outside of these cases, countries generally do not have the authority to impose their rules on non-national carriers.

Travel Safe,

Miami, Florida
posts: 4
6. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

Hi Roy,

great question and don't be confused at all.

The EU regulation 261/2004 is very logical.There is a subtle point that was not mentioned in

the other replies and that might be of interest to you:

When you fly from somewhere to an EU airport (like your case: Mexico to Madrid) the flight is covered by EC 261/2004 if the flight is OPERATED BY an EU carrier.

Now, American Airlines (AA) is indeed NOT an EU carrier; that is correct.

However, I looked up the flight plan of AA from MEX to MAD and there are several AA code-share

flights operated by Iberia. And Iberia (IB) IS an EU carrier. So even if you have an AA ticket

you might be qualified for a refund.

So please check your ticket if it is code-shared for e.g. Iberia.

Generally speaking, if you search for the keyword "refund me" or similar combinations , you

find great offerings that explain these matters in details.

I hope you find this remark helpful.

London, England
posts: 1,319
reviews: 4
7. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

Can I ask a clarification question please which I think could help this thread and anyone who views it subsequently?

Does a code share booked with an non-community carrier but operated by a community carrier mean that the flight is classed as being as one operated by a Community Carrier?

I'm not interested in any speculation or guesses but links.

Cheers all.

Phil

Miami, Florida
posts: 4
8. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

Hi PhilAt

I will give here the exact logic of EC 261/04:

1.) ALL outbound flights from an EU airport are covered, regardless of whether the airline is or is not an EU carrier.

2.) ALL inbound flights to an EU airport are covered, if the flight is OPERATED BY an EU carrier.

Now you asked:"Does a code share booked with an non-community carrier but operated by a community carrier mean that the flight is classed as being as one operated by a Community Carrier?"

The Answer is a clear YES.

here are some examples (phantasy numbers, just for illustration)

Ex1: you fly on AA123 from MAD (Madrid) to JFK: covered, by #1)

Ex2: you fly on AA124 from JFK to MAD and this is NOT a code-share flight, i.e. it is operated by AA: NOT covered (see #2), because AA is NOT an EU carrier.

Ex3: you fly on AA8124 from JFK to MAD and this is a codeshare flight OPERATED BY an EU carrier: covered (see #2) because the OPERATED BY is an EU carrier, here Iberia.

Hence you see: the logic is simple on outbound flights starting on an EU airport.

The logic is more more involved for inbound flights to an EU airport.

Good news: there are apps and websites where you can do 261/04 refunds very easy.

Search for "refund me 261/2004" or similar combinations and you will find a lot of interesting links!

Hope this helps.

Haifa
posts: 3
9. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

Guys,

First, let me thank you for the effort in answering!

JR_261_04 - good idea. I've checked and my AA flight was operated by AA (unfortunately).

I have a different question - at a later date I flew from London to Seattle with British Airways. My luggage was delayed 3 whole days (!) and the compensation I received was a meager USD50 (on the spot, in Seattle). My costs for the 3 days were more than that.

I was instructed to submit the receipts upon return. I did - and there is no answer whatsoever from BA.

Am I entitled to compensation under the EC Regulation 261/2004?

Edited: 7:59 am, November 20, 2012
Leyland, United...
Destination Expert
for Playa Blanca
posts: 23,065
reviews: 42
10. Re: EC Regulation 261/2004 - American Airlines

EU Regs have nothing to do with delayed luggage, only flights. That is between you, the airline and your travel insurers. Won't your insurance company cover your expenditure, presuming you have got some?

eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do…

It does appear you're determined to claim under the EU regs for something lol.