Know your rights before boarding that flight

May 12, 2023

The flights are booked, bags nearly packed and you’re all set to take off on that eagerly awaited holiday but what if an issue arises with your flight? This time of year, we receive lots of queries from consumers about air travel. Let’s look at some of the common questions you’ve asked us about your flight rights.

What legal rights do I have when it comes to flights?

Passengers flying from the European Union (EU), or flying into the EU with an EU based airline, are protected by EU Law. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is responsible for regulating air travel and passenger rights in Ireland.

These legal rights cover:

  • flight delays
  • cancellations
  • denied boarding
  • downgrading

Your rights will depend on what happens and when it happens. To learn more, you can read the IAA’s information on air passenger rights.

My flight to Rome got delayed by 5 hours making my weekend break shorter. Do I have a right to compensation?

If your flight is delayed for more than a certain amount of time, your airline has to offer you care and assistance while you wait. These range from meals and refreshments to accommodation, depending on the length of the delay and the distance involved.

Flights are classed as short, medium and long haul for the purposes of compensation. Find out more about the amounts of compensation payable.

In this case, as you arrived at your destination more than three hours after the scheduled arrival time, you are entitled to compensation unless the airline can prove extraordinary circumstances. If there is a dispute, you should refer the matter to the appropriate national enforcement body.

My airline just cancelled my flight I’m due to leave in a week’s time, what should I do now?

If your flight gets cancelled (regardless of timing), the air carrier must offer you the choice between:

  • re-routing as close as possible to the original departure time
  • re-routing at a later date
  • a refund

In addition, if your flight is cancelled with 14 days of departure you may also be entitled to compensation. Read more about cancellations.

I’m travelling with my friend who has poor mobility due to multiple sclerosis. What help is there?

Airlines and airports must provide practical help to persons with reduced mobility or a disability. This assistance is a right under EU law. If you’re unhappy with the support provided, you can submit a complaint form on the IAA website.

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