Complaint denied boarding

If there is a disagreement based on the air carrier’s answer, then the passenger can complete the form Complaint denied boarding, cancellation, long delay of flight (called Formulier: Klacht passagiersrechten luchtvaart verordening 261-2004) and file a complaint pertaining an alleged infringement to this regulation in case of denied boarding, cancellation and long delays of this regulation or in case of a ticket downgrading. This form is in Dutch and in English.

Long delay, cancellation or denied boarding

In case of a long delay, a cancellation or denied boarding, the operating airline might be obliged to offer you compensation, assistance, care and information about your passenger rights. A long delay is when you arrive 3 hours or later at your final destination.

The airline is not obliged to offer compensation when you are informed 14 days or more before the flight about the cancellation or when the delay or cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

Examples that can lead to extraordinary circumstances are political instability, incompatible weather conditions, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings such as a bird strike, strikes that affect the operation of the airline and decisions by air traffic management.

Examples that do not constitute as extraordinary circumstances are: unexpected technical problems, a collision of mobile boarding stairs with an aircraft or when crew are out of hours.

Points to note

  • The air carrier has an obligation to inform you about passenger rights;
  • If a delay lasts longer than 2 hours, passengers have rights to refreshments/meals/hotel (in proportion to delay period) and two phone calls;
  • If a delay exceeds five hours, a refund of the ticket can be requested if a passenger decides to decline from his flight;
  • A cancelled flight is a confirmed flight that was not performed irrespective of the reason why.

Who to contact first

The air carrier is responsible for their performance with respect to this EC regulation. Always contact your air carrier first for ticket/compensation or assistance. Ensure that you address your complaint at the air carrier in question. It should not be addressed to your travel agency or tour operator.
In case you did not receive an air carrier’s answer within a period of six weeks, then you can file your complaint of an alleged infringement to this regulation at the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for handling. The Inspectorate only handles complaints of flights that have taken place shorter than a year ago.

Dispute case of an alleged infringement to EC regulation

I received an air carrier (Airline) answer to my claim and I disagree

  • Did the air carrier provide you with insufficient information, assistance or did they refuse to pay regulated compensation? Then you can file a complaint at the Dutch Inspectorate in case you cannot solve your request with the air carrier. The Inspectorate investigates each individual complaint and will conclude about its results in writing. The air carrier receives the Inspectorate’s request to substantiate circumstances or reasons of the alleged infringement of a passenger complaint. Conclusions are informed to parties involved in writing.

What does the Inspectorate need from the passenger?

  • An alleged infringement can be evaluated based on the signed form, all related correspondence between parties and pieces of evidence. 

Why file a complaint at the Inspectorate?

  • The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate is the designated body responsible for the enforcement of this EC regulation for flights from Dutch airports and flights from a third country.  The Dutch Inspectorate can ensure that the concerned parties are in compliance with the Regulation. Inspections can be performed ad hoc on Dutch Airports.

Who else can I contact regarding my complaint?

  • The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate cannot recover compensation or damages on behalf of passengers from the airline. Passenger complaints give insight in the correct application of the EC regulation by the airlines and gives passengers a written conclusion which can help in a legal procedure against the airline. It is only possible to claim compensation or damages before national court. In case you decide to bring your case to the competent national court, attention may also be drawn to Regulation EC no 861/20071 which sets up a European procedure of settlement of small disputes and aims at simplifying and accelerating the settlement of small cross-border disputes.

Lost luggage on flight

The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate cannot handle luggage claims. Claims on lost luggage need to be filed in accordance with the ‘Montreal agreement'.