Qué derechos tengo si mi vuelo se retrasa o lo reprograman

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El tiempo es de lo más valioso que tenemos, y forma parte del contrato de transporte llegar a cierta hora y en cierto lugar. Qué derechos tengo cómo pasajero si mi vuelo se reprograma o se demora, y cómo efectuar el reclamo. El caso de Leonardo y la ley en Argentina. Actualizada a agosto de 2018.

Por Guadalupe Rivero

La historia de Leonardo, un pasajero que sufrió demoras y reprogramaciones

Leonardo planeó un viaje perfecto. Cada detalle estaba pautado de antemano y nada había quedado fuera de su exigente agenda. Sin embargo, por razones ajenas a él, su travesía a Brasil se convirtió en una suma de contratiempos.

Cuando llegó al aeropuerto, el pasajero, cliente de una aerolínea que opera hace años en Argentina, sufrió, primero, una reprogramación con demora de siete horas. Según relató a Derecho en Zapatillas, cumplido ese lapso hubo otros cincuenta minutos de demora. Tras abordar el primer avión y cumplir con esa primera etapa de viaje, Leonardo debía realizar una escala donde tenía sólo cuarenta minutos para retirar su equipaje y pasar por migraciones.

Como consecuencia de esa demora, no alcanzó el segundo vuelo. Así, desde las 19 horas debió esperar hasta las 6 de la mañana para tomar el siguiente avión. Con once horas más de espera, aguardó en un hotel cuyas tarifas por habitación y traslado corrieron a cargo de la aerolínea. En conclusión: un vuelo de diez horas terminó en treinta horas y el pasajero perdió una noche paga en un all inclusive por US$ 285.

Su reclamo, entonces, es que esa línea aérea le reembolse el dinero de la jornada perdida en ese hotel, cuestión que hasta ahora no logró, ante la negativa de la compañía. Además, el damnificado requiere a la empresa un resarcimiento de AR $ 25 mil en concepto de daño moral.

Desde la aerolínea expresaron a Derecho En Zapatillas: “Cuando suceden este tipo de situaciones intentamos acompañar al pasajero brindándole los servicios tal cual indica el procedimiento”. Según las mismas fuentes,

“el área de Customer Service procedió a dar respuesta al reclamo iniciado por el pasajero, solicitándole comprobantes de gastos asociados a la reprogramación del vuelo para analizar y evaluar la indemnización correspondiente”. En concreto, según Latam Argentina “la Compañía procede según lo que indica la Resolución Nº 1.532/98, Artículo 12”.

Derechos del pasajero de avión por retraso, cancelación o reprogramación del vuelo

Ahora bien, ¿qué establece lanormativa impuesta por la Administración Nacional de Aviación Civil? Ante incumplimientos de horarios, itinerarios, cancelación de vuelos y denegación de embarque, la la resolución dice que la aerolínea debe hacerse responsable cuando “cancela o demora un vuelo o la entrega de equipaje por más de CUATRO (4) horas debido a circunstancias operativas, técnicas o de índole comercial”.

Sin embargo, esta responsabilidad menciona devolver el valor de los pasajes, proporcionar hotel y traslados o no cobrarle al damnificado ningún tipo de adicional, ni siquiera daño moral. Es decir, no tiene en cuenta el daño que se le genera al cliente cuando, por ejemplo, pierde una noche de alojamiento pagada de antemano, tal como es el caso de Leonardo. En ese caso, solo le quedaría, si tiene tiempo y ganas, hacer juicio cuyo resultado tampoco puede garantizarse (ver abajo).

El pasajero puede, además, pedir a la aerolínea que le reembolse el valor de las tasas pagadas. En efecto, la concesionaria de aeropuertos (AA 2000) percibe US$29 en concepto de impuesto por los  vuelos internacionales, la dirección de migraciones US$7, AFIP aduana US$3 y la policía de seguridad aeroportuaria US$2,50.

Santiago Torre Walsh, más conocido como Sir Chandler y autor del “Blog de un viajero frecuente”, comentó que si bien a priori no sabe si la aerolínea está obligada a saldar este costo asumido por el pasajero, en general las compañías aéreas “lo cubren o te dan un voucher por un valor superior en pasajes”. El especialista añadió que [una aerolínea que opera en Argentina] “está teniendo problemas con gran parte de la flota y debe estar sobrepasada por reprogramaciones y cancelaciones”.

En tanto, Sir Chandler aclaró que “la compensación siempre depende del país de origen, pero estas cosas las compensan bien los seguros de viajes”. En ese sentido, cuestionó que “la gente no le presta atención, la mitad de los argentinos viaja sin seguro de viaje”. Éste -que no es lo mismo que el seguro de asistencia al viajero- “puede cubrir, abogados, noches de hotel” y demás contingencias sufridas durante la excursión.

En el caso particular de Leonardo, este experto en viajes aconsejó reclamar por doble vía: tanto ante la ANAC como ante la aerolínea. Una vez recibidas las respuestas, el pasajero puede tomar la reparación que más le convenga, ya sea la posible devolución del dinero por la noche que perdió o un voucher en millas para un recorrido más largo, por ejemplo.

Por otra parte, fuentes de una importante agencia turística, sostuvieron que es muy difícil que las compañías aéreas asuman su responsabilidad ante el reclamo de pasajeros damnificados. Según el titular de esta agencia, ellos como operadores turísticos son el eslabón más débil de la cadena, ya que cuando hay un problema es la agencia la que se hace cargo de facilitarles nuevos tickets a los pasajeros pero luego cuesta mucho conseguir la compensación de la aerolínea.

Además, añadió que como las agencias de viajes sí están sujetas a Defensa del Consumidor –órbita de cual están fuera las aerolíneas-, terminan “pagando los platos rotos” de las compañías aéreas. En ese sentido, criticó que “no hay un sistema que penalice a las aerolíneas” y cuestionó que “no puede ser lo mismo cumplir o no cumplir un contrato”.

Por ahora, la aerolínea se niega a pagarle al damnificado cualquier concepto extra a gastos que hayan surgido durante la espera. “Si usted incurrió en gastos adicionales durante la espera, le ofrecemos el reembolso previo envío de comprobantes para su análisis y evaluación”, respondió la aerolínea ante el reclamo del pasajero. Como justificación a su posición, aludió que el “itinerario se vio afectado debido a un mantenimiento, considerando que la seguridad es un pilar fundamental para Latam. Dado que se trató de un mantenimiento de último momento, fue necesario por su seguridad y la de todos los pasajeros atrasar el vuelo”.

Tras la negativa de la compañía a dar una respuesta favorable a sus requerimiento, Leonardo inició un reclamo ante la ANAC “cuya respuesta preliminar fue negativa”, según comentó el pasajero. Es decir, a nivel administrativo, el organo regulador del sistema no parece intervenir.

En tanto, Leonardo ya tiene audiencia civil para el 11 de mayo tras judicializar el caso.
El caso, por su parte, despierta una serie de interrogantes: ¿hay un vacío legal respecto a la responsabilidad de las aerolíneas y las consecuencias que generan las cancelaciones y reprogramaciones?, ¿debe una compañía aérea hacerse cargo del daño que le genera a un pasajero al torcer sus planes, más allá del hospedaje durante la demora?, ¿un pasaje más caro, que tenga en cuenta indemnizaciones de este estilo, no derivaría en mayor éxito comercial para esa compañía?.

Y, a su vez, que una aerolínea sea más barata que otra, ¿tiene que ver justamente con la posibilidad de mayores o menores riesgos de reprogramaciones? El debate está abierto, pero sin dudas el mercado precisa mayor transparencia y un sistema de incentivos que premie a quienes hacen las cosas bien.

 

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Cómo son los derechos en Argentina y en otros países ante la demora o reprogramación de un vuelo, cómo reclamar

Por Sergio Mohadeb

1. Lo básico

Ante la demora de cuatro o más horas, la aerolínea debe proveer comida, remís y hotel (ver arriba).

Las reprogramaciones pueden estar previstas en el contrato. El punto es la anticipación con la que se notifican. Si dan tiempo, en principio la aerolínea no tendría responsabilidad. Igual es para analizar los términos, si comunican, etc. En general con un llamado la aerolínea ofrece opciones.

Ojo con comprar tramos distintos en distintas aerolíneas, porque no se responsabilizarán por pérdidas de escalas. Distinto es si se saca todo con el mismo grupo, pasajes relacionados.

 

2. Reclamo formal a la aerolínea

Si la demora genera daños, el primer paso es un reclamo formal ante la aerolínea. Dejar constancia escrita y guardar la documentación como prueba:

-ticket de embarque, pasaje y cualquier otro documento

-preguntar y anotar la causa del retraso del vuelo

-guardar comprobantes, tickets y facturas de los gastos incurridos por la demora o reprogramación de los vuelos, de hoteles perdidos, etc.

-El pasajero no está obligado a firmar nada que disminuya sus derechos

-Las condiciones climáticas hay que “bancárselas”, no dan derecho a compensación. Con los paros, depende si son previsibles o no y la culpa de la compañía pero en principio la aerolínea es responsable.

 

3. Qué reclamar y respuesta de la aerolínea

Lo ideal es hacer el reclamo por escrito. Si la demora es significativa el pasajero puede pedir el resarcimiento del daño moral. En general, la jurisprudencia oscila entre $ 5.000 y $ 20.000 de compensación pero no hay un monto uniforme. Además el pasajero puede pedir el reembolso de gastos sufridos (ej. reservas de hoteles pagos y cancelados). Todo daño puede ser probado. Si la respuesta de la aerolínea es negativa o ante el silencio, el pasajero debe ir por la vía judicial.

El daño moral es lo central por incumplimiento de un contrato de transporte, ante la frustración de un viaje, más los gastos y penalidades pagadas. En un caso los jueces dijeron:

“La reprogramación del vuelo debido a inconvenientes técnicos de la aeronave da lugar a la indemnización del daño moral de los actores, quienes no pudieron viajar en el vuelo programado, ya que se trata de resarcir la pérdida de tiempo que no es otra cosa que pérdida de vida, la cual está asociada, indefectiblemente, a la postergación del vuelo, por lo que se encuentran configuradas las circunstancias que imponen el reconocimiento de una compensación a la lesión espiritual”.

4. Mediación judicial

Para aerolíneas no vale, no se aplica,  defensa del consumidor, que sí se aplica en caso de que haya intervenido una agencia, incluso online. El primero paso es la mediación (una o dos audiencias para las que se precisa abogado/a) y si no hay acuerdo, demanda judicial. Deben evaluarse chances y riesgos, costos y beneficios.

 

5. Un plus para vuelos internacionales

Más allá de la nacionalidad el pasajero, los derechos pueden dependender de hacia dónde el pasajero viaje. Por ejemplo, si el vuelo tiene destino desde o hasta cualquier aeropuerto de la Unión Europea, o es una compañía con sede allí, y se retrasa durante tres horas o más, el pasajero argentino tiene derecho a recibir la misma compensación que si se tratase de un vuelo cancelado (ver abajo).

Igual que en Argentina, la erupción volcánica, las condiciones climáticas extremas o las huelgas imprevistas y no culpables no generan responsabilidad.

Recientemente, el tribunal europeo determinó que las compañías aéreas no podrán negar el pago de indemnizaciones a los pasajeros objetando que los retrasos y cancelaciones se deben a razones ajenas a su voluntad en caso de una huelga, aunque sea salvaje, al menos si está motivada por una reestructuración de la plantilla.

Tras anunciar recortes de empleos y reorganización, acumuló retrasos de más de tres horas en las llegadas. Y la compañía estimó que se trataba de «circunstancias extraordinarias», en el sentido en el que lo recoge el Reglamento de la Unión sobre los derechos de los pasajeros aéreos. Por ello y se negó a pagar las indemnizaciones previstas en dicho reglamento. Ahora, la sentencia dictada por el TJUE le obliga a pagar dichas indemnizaciones de 250, 400 o 600 euros, en función de la distancia del vuelo cancelado o retrasado, porque “las medidas de reestructuración y reorganización de una empresa forman parte de la gestión normal de ésta”.

En Estados Unidos la cuestión no está tan regulada (dejando de lado el caso del overbooking o sobreventa de pasajes que sí da lugar a indemnización), y la reprogramación se rige por lo que las partes acuerden en las condiciones de emisión del ticket, hay más libertad y en general depende de la aerolínea. También hay regulación sobre la cantidad de tiempo que un avión se puede demorar ya en pista.

En México, válido para pasajero que vuelen por aerolínea mexicana o con destino allí, el pasajero tiene derecho a ser indemnizado o compensado con un monto no inferior a 7.5% del costo de boleto de vuelo adquirido. Y aparte deben dar descuentos para vuelos en fecha posterior hacia el destino contratado y/o alimentos y bebidas.

Si la demora es mayor a cuatro horas, el pasajero podrá requerir la indemnización, que no será inferior a 25% del precio del boleto o de la parte no realizada del viaje. En todos los casos, las aerolíneas deberán poner a disposición de los pasajeros en espera acceso a comunicaciones. Y si el vuelo se cancela, el pasajero tendrá derecho a que se le restituya el precio del ticket aéreo, transporte en el primero vuelo disponible y alimentos, alojamiento en hotel y transporte.

 

 

Un nuevo precedente

Daño Emergente la suma de Pesos $4.646 por Daño Moral, $ 50.000 y por daño punitivo $ 30.000 como consecuencia de un vuelo que no salió por el paro de pilotos. El juez entendió que “los comparecientes (como consecuencia de la suspensión) tuvieron que hacerse cargo de los gastos de: Nafta (ida y vuelta), peajes (ida y vuelta), viáticos (ida y vuelta), y estacionamiento en el aeropuerto internacional de Ezeiza. Que desde el momento de la cancelación del vuelo, tuvieron que valerse de sus propios medios a fin de llegar al aeropuerto (…) por lo que se reclama el reintegro de los desembolsos realizados”.

Cuenta que la empresa sostuvo en su defensa que “(los demandantes) pudieron emprender el otro vuelo que la compañía les ofrecía (VUELO 4213) el mismo partía las 17:15 hs con arribo a las 18:28 hs a la Ciudad de Buenos Aires”, pero el juez argumenta que “la solución ofrecida no cumplía con la finalidad de llegar a Buenos Aires en tiempo y forma, ya que el vuelo originario fue contratado para llegar a primera hora de la mañana a Buenos Aires”. Para el juez, es

 “indudable que los actores debieron afrontar los gastos denunciados, (esto es) el viaje desde Córdoba a Buenos Aires. Por lo que a raíz de la cancelación del vuelo, debió necesariamente encontrar una alternativa viable para llegar a su otro vuelo y completar el tramo de viaje rumbo a Orlando”.

Así, “la compensación económica ofrecida “voucher”  no puede supeditarse a las condiciones establecidas por la demandada, como era el canje por pasajes aéreos en dicha compañía, pues dicha condición luce absolutamente abusiva, rosando con los principios de buena fe contractual, inaceptable bajo ningún punto de vista”.

La sentencia aún no está firme y fue publicada por el sitio Enredacción.

 

Anexo con la normativa europea sobre retrasos o reprogramaciones (para pasajeros con destino a Europa o que vuelen por aerolíneas europeas)

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council

of 11 February 2004

establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91

(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 80(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission(1),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(2),

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3), in the light of the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee on 1 December 2003,

Whereas:

(1) Action by the Community in the field of air transport should aim, among other things, at ensuring a high level of protection for passengers. Moreover, full account should be taken of the requirements of consumer protection in general.

(2) Denied boarding and cancellation or long delay of flights cause serious trouble and inconvenience to passengers.

(3) While Council Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 of 4 February 1991 establishing common rules for a denied boarding compensation system in scheduled air transport(4) created basic protection for passengers, the number of passengers denied boarding against their will remains too high, as does that affected by cancellations without prior warning and that affected by long delays.

(4) The Community should therefore raise the standards of protection set by that Regulation both to strengthen the rights of passengers and to ensure that air carriers operate under harmonised conditions in a liberalised market.

(5) Since the distinction between scheduled and non-scheduled air services is weakening, such protection should apply to passengers not only on scheduled but also on non-scheduled flights, including those forming part of package tours.

(6) The protection accorded to passengers departing from an airport located in a Member State should be extended to those leaving an airport located in a third country for one situated in a Member State, when a Community carrier operates the flight.

(7) In order to ensure the effective application of this Regulation, the obligations that it creates should rest with the operating air carrier who performs or intends to perform a flight, whether with owned aircraft, under dry or wet lease, or on any other basis.

(8) This Regulation should not restrict the rights of the operating air carrier to seek compensation from any person, including third parties, in accordance with the law applicable.

(9) The number of passengers denied boarding against their will should be reduced by requiring air carriers to call for volunteers to surrender their reservations, in exchange for benefits, instead of denying passengers boarding, and by fully compensating those finally denied boarding.

(10) Passengers denied boarding against their will should be able either to cancel their flights, with reimbursement of their tickets, or to continue them under satisfactory conditions, and should be adequately cared for while awaiting a later flight.

(11) Volunteers should also be able to cancel their flights, with reimbursement of their tickets, or continue them under satisfactory conditions, since they face difficulties of travel similar to those experienced by passengers denied boarding against their will.

(12) The trouble and inconvenience to passengers caused by cancellation of flights should also be reduced. This should be achieved by inducing carriers to inform passengers of cancellations before the scheduled time of departure and in addition to offer them reasonable re-routing, so that the passengers can make other arrangements. Air carriers should compensate passengers if they fail to do this, except when the cancellation occurs in extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

(13) Passengers whose flights are cancelled should be able either to obtain reimbursement of their tickets or to obtain re-routing under satisfactory conditions, and should be adequately cared for while awaiting a later flight.

(14) As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier.

(15) Extraordinary circumstances should be deemed to exist where the impact of an air traffic management decision in relation to a particular aircraft on a particular day gives rise to a long delay, an overnight delay, or the cancellation of one or more flights by that aircraft, even though all reasonable measures had been taken by the air carrier concerned to avoid the delays or cancellations.

(16) In cases where a package tour is cancelled for reasons other than the flight being cancelled, this Regulation should not apply.

(17) Passengers whose flights are delayed for a specified time should be adequately cared for and should be able to cancel their flights with reimbursement of their tickets or to continue them under satisfactory conditions.

(18) Care for passengers awaiting an alternative or a delayed flight may be limited or declined if the provision of the care would itself cause further delay.

(19) Operating air carriers should meet the special needs of persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them.

(20) Passengers should be fully informed of their rights in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, so that they can effectively exercise their rights.

(21) Member States should lay down rules on sanctions applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation and ensure that these sanctions are applied. The sanctions should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

(22) Member States should ensure and supervise general compliance by their air carriers with this Regulation and designate an appropriate body to carry out such enforcement tasks. The supervision should not affect the rights of passengers and air carriers to seek legal redress from courts under procedures of national law.

(23) The Commission should analyse the application of this Regulation and should assess in particular the opportunity of extending its scope to all passengers having a contract with a tour operator or with a Community carrier, when departing from a third country airport to an airport in a Member State.

(24) Arrangements for greater cooperation over the use of Gibraltar airport were agreed in London on 2 December 1987 by the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom in a joint declaration by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. Such arrangements have yet to enter into operation.

(25) Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 should accordingly be repealed,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Subject

1. This Regulation establishes, under the conditions specified herein, minimum rights for passengers when:

(a) they are denied boarding against their will;

(b) their flight is cancelled;

(c) their flight is delayed.

2. Application of this Regulation to Gibraltar airport is understood to be without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom with regard to the dispute over sovereignty over the territory in which the airport is situated.

3. Application of this Regulation to Gibraltar airport shall be suspended until the arrangements in the Joint Declaration made by the Foreign Ministers of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom on 2 December 1987 enter into operation. The Governments of Spain and the United Kingdom will inform the Council of such date of entry into operation.

Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation:

(a) “air carrier” means an air transport undertaking with a valid operating licence;

(b) “operating air carrier” means an air carrier that performs or intends to perform a flight under a contract with a passenger or on behalf of another person, legal or natural, having a contract with that passenger;

(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);

(d) “tour operator” means, with the exception of an air carrier, an organiser within the meaning of Article 2, point 2, of Council Directive 90/314/EEC of 13 June 1990 on package travel, package holidays and package tours(6);

(e) “package” means those services defined in Article 2, point 1, of Directive 90/314/EEC;

(f) “ticket” means a valid document giving entitlement to transport, or something equivalent in paperless form, including electronic form, issued or authorised by the air carrier or its authorised agent;

(g) “reservation” means the fact that the passenger has a ticket, or other proof, which indicates that the reservation has been accepted and registered by the air carrier or tour operator;

(h) “final destination” means the destination on the ticket presented at the check-in counter or, in the case of directly connecting flights, the destination of the last flight; alternative connecting flights available shall not be taken into account if the original planned arrival time is respected;

(i) “person with reduced mobility” means any person whose mobility is reduced when using transport because of any physical disability (sensory or locomotory, permanent or temporary), intellectual impairment, age or any other cause of disability, and whose situation needs special attention and adaptation to the person’s needs of the services made available to all passengers;

(j) “denied boarding” means a refusal to carry passengers on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding under the conditions laid down in Article 3(2), except where there are reasonable grounds to deny them boarding, such as reasons of health, safety or security, or inadequate travel documentation;

(k) “volunteer” means a person who has presented himself for boarding under the conditions laid down in Article 3(2) and responds positively to the air carrier’s call for passengers prepared to surrender their reservation in exchange for benefits.

(l) “cancellation” means the non-operation of a flight which was previously planned and on which at least one place was reserved.

Article 3

Scope

1. This Regulation shall apply:

(a) to passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies;

(b) to passengers departing from an airport located in a third country to an airport situated in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies, unless they received benefits or compensation and were given assistance in that third country, if the operating air carrier of the flight concerned is a Community carrier.

2. Paragraph 1 shall apply on the condition that passengers:

(a) have a confirmed reservation on the flight concerned and, except in the case of cancellation referred to in Article 5, present themselves for check-in,

– as stipulated and at the time indicated in advance and in writing (including by electronic means) by the air carrier, the tour operator or an authorised travel agent,

or, if no time is indicated,

– not later than 45 minutes before the published departure time; or

(b) have been transferred by an air carrier or tour operator from the flight for which they held a reservation to another flight, irrespective of the reason.

3. This Regulation shall not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public. However, it shall apply to passengers having tickets issued under a frequent flyer programme or other commercial programme by an air carrier or tour operator.

4. This Regulation shall only apply to passengers transported by motorised fixed wing aircraft.

5. This Regulation shall apply to any operating air carrier providing transport to passengers covered by paragraphs 1 and 2. Where an operating air carrier which has no contract with the passenger performs obligations under this Regulation, it shall be regarded as doing so on behalf of the person having a contract with that passenger.

6. This Regulation shall not affect the rights of passengers under Directive 90/314/EEC. This Regulation shall not apply in cases where a package tour is cancelled for reasons other than cancellation of the flight.

Article 4

Denied boarding

1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it shall first call for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits under conditions to be agreed between the passenger concerned and the operating air carrier. Volunteers shall be assisted in accordance with Article 8, such assistance being additional to the benefits mentioned in this paragraph.

2. If an insufficient number of volunteers comes forward to allow the remaining passengers with reservations to board the flight, the operating air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will.

3. If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the operating air carrier shall immediately compensate them in accordance with Article 7 and assist them in accordance with Articles 8 and 9.

Article 5

Cancellation

1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall:

(a) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 8; and

(b) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2), as well as, in event of re-routing when the reasonably expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the departure as it was planned for the cancelled flight, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and

(c) have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 7, unless:

(i) they are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure; or

(ii) they are informed of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival; or

(iii) they are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, 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.

2. When passengers are informed of the cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport.

3. An operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 7, if it can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

4. The burden of proof concerning the questions as to whether and when the passenger has been informed of the cancellation of the flight shall rest with the operating air carrier.

Article 6

Delay

1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure:

(a) for two hours or more in the case of flights of 1500 kilometres or less; or

(b) for three hours or more in the case of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and of all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; or

(c) for four hours or more in the case of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),

passengers shall be offered by the operating air carrier:

(i) the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2); and

(ii) when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the day after the time of departure previously announced, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and

(iii) when the delay is at least five hours, the assistance specified in Article 8(1)(a).

2. In any event, the assistance shall be offered within the time limits set out above with respect to each distance bracket.

Article 7

Right to compensation

1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall receive compensation amounting to:

(a) EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;

(b) EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;

(c) EUR 600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b).

In determining the distance, the basis shall be the last destination at which the denial of boarding or cancellation will delay the passenger’s arrival after the scheduled time.

2. 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

(a) by two hours, in respect of all flights of 1500 kilometres or less; or

(b) by three hours, in respect of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; or

(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 %.

3. The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

4. The distances given in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be measured by the great circle route method.

Article 8

Right to reimbursement or re-routing

1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

(a) – reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan, together with, when relevant,

– a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

(b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

(c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.

2. Paragraph 1(a) shall also apply to passengers whose flights form part of a package, except for the right to reimbursement where such right arises under Directive 90/314/EEC.

3. When, in the case where a town, city or region is served by several airports, an operating air carrier offers a passenger a flight to an airport alternative to that for which the booking was made, the operating air carrier shall bear the cost of transferring the passenger from that alternative airport either to that for which the booking was made, or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.

Article 9

Right to care

1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered free of charge:

(a) meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;

(b) hotel accommodation in cases

– where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary, or

– where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary;

(c) transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other).

2. In addition, passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails.

3. In applying this Article, the operating air carrier shall pay particular attention to the needs of persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them, as well as to the needs of unaccompanied children.

Article 10

Upgrading and downgrading

1. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class higher than that for which the ticket was purchased, it may not request any supplementary payment.

2. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), reimburse

(a) 30 % of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less, or

(b) 50 % of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, except flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres, or

(c) 75 % of the price of the ticket for all flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments.

Article 11

Persons with reduced mobility or special needs

1. Operating air carriers shall give priority to carrying persons with reduced mobility and any persons or certified service dogs accompanying them, as well as unaccompanied children.

2. In cases of denied boarding, cancellation and delays of any length, persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them, as well as unaccompanied children, shall have the right to care in accordance with Article 9 as soon as possible.

Article 12

Further compensation

1. This Regulation shall apply without prejudice to a passenger’s rights to further compensation. The compensation granted under this Regulation may be deducted from such compensation.

2. Without prejudice to relevant principles and rules of national law, including case-law, paragraph 1 shall not apply to passengers who have voluntarily surrendered a reservation under Article 4(1).

Article 13

Right of redress

In cases where an operating air carrier pays compensation or meets the other obligations incumbent on it under this Regulation, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting its right to seek compensation from any person, including third parties, in accordance with the law applicable. In particular, this Regulation shall in no way restrict the operating air carrier’s right to seek reimbursement from a tour operator or another person with whom the operating air carrier has a contract. Similarly, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting the right of a tour operator or a third party, other than a passenger, with whom an operating air carrier has a contract, to seek reimbursement or compensation from the operating air carrier in accordance with applicable relevant laws.

Article 14

Obligation to inform passengers of their rights

1. The operating air carrier shall ensure that at check-in a clearly legible notice containing the following text is displayed in a manner clearly visible to passengers: “If you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least two hours, ask at the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance”.

2. An operating air carrier denying boarding or cancelling a flight shall provide each passenger affected with a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance in line with this Regulation. It shall also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least two hours with an equivalent notice. The contact details of the national designated body referred to in Article 16 shall also be given to the passenger in written form.

3. In respect of blind and visually impaired persons, the provisions of this Article shall be applied using appropriate alternative means.

Article 15

Exclusion of waiver

1. Obligations vis-à-vis passengers pursuant to this Regulation may not be limited or waived, notably by a derogation or restrictive clause in the contract of carriage.

2. If, nevertheless, such a derogation or restrictive clause is applied in respect of a passenger, or if the passenger is not correctly informed of his rights and for that reason has accepted compensation which is inferior to that provided for in this Regulation, the passenger shall still be entitled to take the necessary proceedings before the competent courts or bodies in order to obtain additional compensation.

Article 16

Infringements

1. Each Member State shall designate a body responsible for the enforcement of this Regulation as regards flights from airports situated on its territory and flights from a third country to such airports. Where appropriate, this body shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the rights of passengers are respected. The Member States shall inform the Commission of the body that has been designated in accordance with this paragraph.

2. Without prejudice to Article 12, each passenger may complain to any body designated under paragraph 1, or to any other competent body designated by a Member State, about an alleged infringement of this Regulation at any airport situated on the territory of a Member State or concerning any flight from a third country to an airport situated on that territory.

3. The sanctions laid down by Member States for infringements of this Regulation shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Article 17

Report

The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council by 1 January 2007 on the operation and the results of this Regulation, in particular regarding:

– the incidence of denied boarding and of cancellation of flights,

– the possible extension of the scope of this Regulation to passengers having a contract with a Community carrier or holding a flight reservation which forms part of a “package tour” to which Directive 90/314/EEC applies and who depart from a third-country airport to an airport in a Member State, on flights not operated by Community air carriers,

– the possible revision of the amounts of compensation referred to in Article 7(1).

The report shall be accompanied where necessary by legislative proposals.

Article 18

Repeal

Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 shall be repealed.

Article 19

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on 17 February 2005.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at Strasbourg, 11 February 2004.

For the European Parliament

The President

P. Cox

For the Council

The President

M. McDowell

(1) OJ C 103 E, 30.4.2002, p. 225 and OJ C 71 E, 25.3.2003, p. 188.

(2) OJ C 241, 7.10.2002, p. 29.

(3) Opinion of the European Parliament of 24 October 2002 (OJ C 300 E, 11.12.2003, p. 443), Council Common Position of 18 March 2003 (OJ C 125 E, 27.5.2003, p. 63) and Position of the European Parliament of 3 July 2003. Legislative Resolution of the European Parliament of 18 December 2003 and Council Decision of 26 January 2004.

(4) OJ L 36, 8.2.1991, p. 5.

(5) OJ L 240, 24.8.1992, p. 1.

(6) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990, p. 59.

Commission Statement

The Commission recalls its intention to promote voluntary agreements or to make proposals to extend Community measures of passenger protection to other modes of transport than air, notably rail and maritime navigation.

 

 

 

Anexo con jurisprudencia sobre retrasos de vuelos y daño moral

Caso 1. Francisco D. c. American Airlines Inc, “Tribunal: Cámara Nacional de Apelaciones en lo Civil y Comercial Federal, sala I(CNFedCivyCom)(SalaI)”. – “El daño moral sufrido por un pasajero damnificado por el retraso de un vuelo aéreo, por la pérdida de un considerable lapso de su libertad, de su tiempo y de sus actividades laborales programadas, no requiere prueba específica, en tanto es consecuencia directa del incumplimiento contractual de la demandada.”

Caso 2. Compensación de $ 15 mil en concepto de daño moral por demora en el vuelo. sentencia daño moral demora del vuelo

Caso 3. Cámara Nacional de Apelaciones en lo Civil y Comercial Federal. “V. A. S. y otro c/ Continental Airlines Inc. s/ daños y perjuicios”. Condenó a una empresa de transporte aéreo a indemnizar el daño moral causado a los pasajeros a los que reprogramó el vuelo, como consecuencia del cumplimiento defectuoso del contrato de transporte por el retraso de 14 horas aproximadamente en la partida del vuelo, sumado a la noche que tuvieron que permanecer en otra localidad para finalmente arribar a la ciudad de destino.

En la causa  la sentencia de primera instancia hizo lugar parcialmente a la pretensión y condenó a a Continental Airlines a pagar a los actores las sumas de U$S228,97 y $8.000, con sus intereses. Las costas fueron distribuidas en un 80% a cargo de la demandada y un 20% a cargo de la actora. El juez de grado tuvo en cuenta al resolver la cuestión que la partida del vuelo Buenos Aires – Houston con destino final en la ciudad de Cancún, estaba programada para el 4/10 a las 21:50 hs y recién se concretó el 5/10 pasadas las 12:00 hs. Dicho magistrado entendió que si bien la demora en un principio se debió a una medida de fuerza decretada por el personal de la empresa Intercargo, se prolongó luego por la supuesta enfermedad de un tripulante.

2 Comentarios
  1. Santiago dice

    Hola Sergio! Muchas gracias por tan completo artículo.
    En mi caso, tuve una demora en un vuelo internacional de Iberia de casi 12 hs.
    El motivo fue una demora en una escala anterior, totalmente atribuible a la compañía.
    Hice el reclamo en la página e inmediatamente me cerraron el caso sin mayores explicaciones.
    El siguiente paso sería la vía judicial? Existe algún organismo en la UE para reclamar el incumplimiento de la normativa vigente (EU 261/2004)?
    Cualquier pequeño comentario que puedas agregar será más que bienvenido.
    Muchas gracias de antemano.

    1. Sergio dice

      Hola, sí, Santi.

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