16 April 2010
Passengers whose flights or trips have been cancelled due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland have two options: they can either be reimbursed for their unused ticket, or they can reschedule their flight for a later time if places are available.
Passengers should follow the communications of their airline or travel agency and negotiate their situation with the service provider. You can check the status of your flight on Finavia's website www.finavia.fi. Passengers are advised not to go to the airport if the flight is cancelled.
In the event of flight delays or cancellations, airlines are, by virtue of a regulation set forth by the EU, responsible for taking care of their customers. The regulation applies to passengers who depart from an airport in an EU country or arrive in an EU country from outside the EU on a flight provided by a company from an EU country.
The company must provide the passengers with free meals and refreshments in a reasonable proportion to the waiting time. The company must also arrange hotel accommodation if it becomes necessary to spend one or more excess nights waiting for a flight. Furthermore, the company must provide transportation between the airport and the hotel as well as the opportunity for two phone calls or e-mail messages.
If the airline does not fulfil these responsibilities, customers can obtain the necessary accommodation themselves, retain the receipts and later present the company with compensation claim for reasonable accommodation and meal expenses.
As this is an extraordinary situation whose duration is indeterminable, passengers should weigh their options with care and strive to minimise their damages.
Package holiday organisers must immediately notify their customers of changes in travel schedules and programmes. The organisers must aid their customers and, where possible, seek to limit the damages and inconvenience caused to them.