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EU 261 Question

Illinois
posts: 10,055
reviews: 16
EU 261 Question

I'm just curious if EU 261 would apply in my situation. I was booked to fly 21 March 2013 on a Delta flight from my home airport to DTW, connecting to Delta flight 8573 to CDG, operated by Air France. On the morning of departure, I was notified that the DTW-CDG flight was cancelled. When I called Delta to rebook they said they didn't know why the flight was cancelled. The agent who answered the phone put me on hold to talk to his supervisor and came back and said that the supervisor didn't know either.

As best I can tell, that flight was later reinstated but with a different flight number and a delay of about 5 hours. However, Delta told me there were no seats on that flight so they could not book me on it.

I was rebooked on Delta flight 248 from DTW to AMS. That flight was operated by Delta. I connected to Delta flight 8512 from AMS to CDG which was operated by Air France and arrivied in CDG at 15:10, rather than the 11:15 arrival time that was originally scheduled.

It only occurred to me today that EU 261 might apply since the original cancelled flight was operated by Air France, and I think it's the operating carrier that matters for EU 261. Am I correct? If so and I decide to file for compensation, how involved is the process to claim compensation?

Thanks.

Edited: 2:35 pm, March 27, 2013
Madrid
posts: 2,695
reviews: 7
1. Re: EU 261 Question

You are correct.You should contact Air France to file a claim.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,032
reviews: 5
2. Re: EU 261 Question

From the way I read this, I think the answer is YES and it falls under the cancellations section of EU261 (Article 5), rather than flight delays compensation introduced by Sturgeon.

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

The flight concerned was operated by a Community Carrier (AF), so that makes you eligible for possible compensation. The flight was canceled less than seven days prior to departure, so you are eligible for compensation as the rerouting does not fall under "allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival."

Then when we go to Article 7 (Compensation), you would be entitled to 600 Euros compensation for the flight of that length. HOWEVER, 7.2 states provides for reduced compensation " When passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination on an alternative flight pursuant to Article 8, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked .... (c) by four hours, in respect of all flights not falling under (a) or (b), the operating air carrier may reduce the compensation

provided for in paragraph 1 by 50 %."

In your case, you arrived at CDG at 15:10 against an originally scheduled arrival time of 11:15, so that's 3hr55 later than scheduled, so within four hours covered by 7.2.c (a and b cover flights shorter than 3500km).

So, by my estimation I make it that you would be entitled to 300 Euros compensation in this case.

How you go about claiming the compensation could be tricky, as you may be referred back to Delta (the ticketing carrier) by AF (the operating carrier). You would need to make the claim with AF, and if necessary you would need to use the French enforcement body for assistance. If AF refers you back to Delta, be persistent, as it is AF as the operating carrier that is responsible. Below are links to the claim forms and other information.

…europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/air/d…

airpassengerrights.eu/en/flight-cancellation…

…europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/air/d…

Edited: 3:03 pm, March 27, 2013
Illinois
posts: 10,055
reviews: 16
3. Re: EU 261 Question

So my first step would be to write to Air France? Is there any rush? It would just be easier to write letters and such at home rather than while I'm still in Europe with no printer.

Is it the scheduled arrival time or the actual arrival time? TBH, I don't recall exactly when it landed, but I purchased my tickets into Paris at 1615, and it doesn't seem like it was over an hour to get through baggage claim, and I had already gone through immigration in AMS. I don't know how to find out the actual arrival time though.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,032
reviews: 5
4. Re: EU 261 Question

btgm,

Regarding your actual arrival time at CDG. Assuming that you arrived on March 22nd, DL8512, which was a code share operated by AF1641, arrived at CDG at 15:18 (according to flightstats). Also, your original flight (DL8573/AF377) indeed had a scheduled arrival time at CDG of 11:15.

So, that actually puts you over the four hour "50% compensation" grace period by 3 minutes and so you are entitled to the full 600 Euros.

And no, there's no rush to file the complaint. Enjoy your vacation first.

Edited: 3:29 pm, March 27, 2013
Illinois
posts: 10,055
reviews: 16
5. Re: EU 261 Question

That is the flight I arrived on (at least that's what my boarding pass says). Amazing the difference 3 min can make!

So I would write to them at this address (from their website)?

Air France - Europe

Service Client

TSA 21235

75564 Paris CEDEX 12

FRANCE

Edited: 3:35 pm, March 27, 2013
Illinois
posts: 10,055
reviews: 16
6. Re: EU 261 Question

Oddly, I also got this email from Air France:

"Following a change of aircraft on flight AF1641 on 22/03 AMSTERDAM PARIS you have been rebooked in the same cabin on flight AF1741 on 22/03, departure from AMSTERDAM AMS 1520 arrival PARIS CDG 1635.

A commercial compensation will be sent to you by email. This compensation will be valid for one year from the date of issue. It can be used for the purchase of flights within the Air France/KLM network and can be redeemed in any AF/KLM travel agency, AFKLM call centre or through airfrance.com.

Air France apologises for any inconvenience caused and wishes you a pleasant flight."

I'm not sure what they are talking about as I was never reissued a new boarding pass with a new flight number and couldn't have bought my tickets to Paris at 1615 if my flight didn't arrive until 1635.

Thanks for looking up the arrival time for me. For future reference, how do I get there? I did find www.flightstats.com with a Google search, but it wouldn't let me put in a date before 26 March.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,032
reviews: 5
7. Re: EU 261 Question

>> Thanks for looking up the arrival time for me. For future reference, how do I get there? I did find www.flightstats.com with a Google search, but it wouldn't let me put in a date before 26 March. <<

If you visit www.flightstats.com and sign up for an account (it's free) you can get historical flight data going back ages.

Illinois
posts: 10,055
reviews: 16
8. Re: EU 261 Question

That's good to know. I don't know when I'd want to know that again, but at least I would know how to find it if I did.

Illinois
posts: 10,055
reviews: 16
9. Re: EU 261 Question

So an update on this matter. I just heard from Air France today regarding this situation, and they say that the flight was cancelled for "medical and crew reasons" and that this qualifies as "extraordinary circumstances" and so they are declining compensation under EU 261. My understanding from what I have read is that this may or may not qualify depending on the exact circumstances. I have responded to Air France asking for the details, but I don't know if they will provide them or not. Am I correct in my thought process so far? If they continue to deny the claim, would you just go to the French enforcement body?

They also said they are sending me an Electronic Transportation Credit Voucher for $150 as a goodwill gesture.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,032
reviews: 5
10. Re: EU 261 Question

btgm,

Yes I think you're doing the right thing by requesting (you should demand) more details about the "medical and crew reasons".

I don't know if there's any precedence for such a "reason" being deemed extraordinary or otherwise by a court. And it could be a grey area, dependent on such things as the nature of the medical matter and where it occurred, and whether a replacement crew could/should have been available. So you should probe more into the delatils.

Looking on Flightstats, it appears that the inbound aircraft (AF378/DL8572, flying CDG-DTW on 3/21) was delayed by 479 minutes (7hr59). That would explain why they canceled your DTW-CDG flight, but it also points to the "medical" incident occurring in Paris, not the remote station DTW. One may therefore want to contend that AF should have had a replacement crew/pilot available at its home base to fly the inbound aircraft to DTW on or pretty close to schedule. That's of course all supposition, but it's the line of questioning I would take in this case.