Flight Got Delayed? Don’t Panic, And Know Your Rights

Flight Got Delayed? Don’t Panic, And Know Your Rights

Picture this; you’re at the airport, ready to go on a holiday that you’ve been planning for months, all revved up and ready to step on the plane and leave your problems behind, only to get that dreaded email that says; your flight has been delayed.

Airlines have different policies in compensating flight delays, which is why in this article, we’re going to have a look at what you can do when your flight is delayed, what are your options, and what you are entitled to.

What does MAVCOM say?

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) has general guidelines on the type of compensation that must be provided in the event of a flight delay. What you get depends on the length of the delay.

Time Compensation
Two hours or moreMeals, telephone calls and internet access
Five hours or more (or when a stay becomes necessaryHotel accommodation and transport
Cancellation of flightA full refund or alternative flights

This compensation is cumulative, so if your flight is delayed by five or more hours you are entitled to accommodations, transport, meals, and so on. It also applies to all flights within Malaysia – regardless of the airline involved.

However, there are also some caveats that you need to take into account. What are those caveats?

What disqualifies you from compensation?

One of them is that if the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances that are out of the airline’s control, you will not be entitled to any form of compensation.

These circumstances include;

  • Airport closure
  • Strikes
  • Extreme weather

One question that you might be asking is, what about delays that affect connecting flights? For that, it depends on the ticket that you bought.

First, if your flight from destination A to destination C, with a connecting flight at destination B, is delayed at A then the airline you bought the ticket from will be held responsible to compensate you with all the compensation listed above (where it applies), and a ticket for the next available flight to your final destination.

This is because your ticket is from destination A to destination C, which means that the airline is responsible for getting you to your final destination.

Here’s an example;

Raju bought a flight ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Paris from ETC Airlines, with a connecting flight at Dubai.

However, Raju’s flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai was delayed for five hours, causing him to miss his connecting flight from Dubai to Paris.

In this case, ETC Airlines will be responsible to compensate him with;

  • Meals, telephone calls, internet access
  • Hotel accommodation, transportation and,
  • A new flight from Dubai to Paris.

In this case, as Raju holds a single ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Paris with ETC Airlines, ETC Airlines is required to provide Raju with a ticket for the next available flight from Dubai to Paris at no additional cost.

However, what happens if you hold a separate ticket from destination A to destination B with one airline, and you buy another ticket from destination B to destination C with another airline?

If the first flight from destination A to destination B is delayed which causes you to miss your flight from destination B to destination C, then the first airline is only responsible for the first flight’s delay.

Meaning, you will not be compensated for missing your connecting flight, due to the fact that the first airline is only responsible for transporting you from destination A to destination B.

Here’s another example to help you understand;

Maimun bought a flight ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Doha from B Airlines, and a Doha to London flight from C Airlines.

However, Maimun’s flight with B Airlines was delayed for eight hours. This caused Maimun to miss her connecting flight to London with C Airlines.

So, what form of compensation is Maimun entitled to? In this case, B Airlines should compensate Maimun with;

  • Meals, telephone calls, internet access
  • Hotel accommodation, and transportation

As you can see here, even though Maimun missed her connecting flight to London with C Airlines due to the delay of her flight with B Airlines, B Airlines are not required to compensate her for that flight.

Another important thing to take note is that this also applies if you bought separate tickets from the same airline.

What happens if my flight is delayed in another country?

So now that we’ve laid out the compensation when your flight originates in Malaysia, what happens if your delayed flight is from another country?

When you’re flying from other countries, it’s safe to say that the MAVCOM regulations don’t apply as MAVCOM is only responsible for flights originating from Malaysia.

But don’t worry, as your right as a passenger is still protected.

EU 261

If your flight is from the European Union, then chances are that you will be protected by regulation EU 261, which is designed to protect passengers facing delays, cancellations and other issues that may arise when traveling.

EU 261 applies when;

  • Your flight is within the EU and is operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • Your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline
  • Your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If you have not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing, assistance from the airline) for flight related problems for this journey under the relevant law of a non-EU country.

Under EU 261, your compensation is tied to the distance you’re traveling. Which means that the greater the distance you’re traveling, the bigger compensation you’re entitled to.

Here’s a table of compensation under the EU 261:

Distance traveled (KM)Entitled compensation (in Euro)
Under 1,500250
Between 1,500 and 3,500400
More than 3,500600

However, there are some factors you need to consider as well. If you have already received any form of compensation from your airline for the delay of your flight, you are no longer entitled to compensation under EU 261.

And just like MAVCOM’s regulations, you will not be entitled to any compensation if your flight is delayed due to extraordinary circumstances.

Montreal Convention

The Montreal Convention is an international treaty signed by over 130 countries including the United States and most of Europe. This agreement establishes protections for passengers and dictates how airlines are required to handle flight delays and cancellations.

Under the Montreal Convention, passengers are entitled to compensation when flying internationally and at least one of the countries in your flight is a participating member.

The Montreal convention states that passengers are entitled to compensation for damages incurred from reasonable expenses caused by flight delays, baggage delays, flight cancellations, among other things.

The maximum compensation amount under the Montreal Convention is calculated by the International Monetary Fund using Special Drawing Rights—an international reserve asset and currency basket of sorts—to determine the maximum amount of compensation passengers are entitled to.

For a list of countries that are participating in the Montreal Convention, click here.

How do I claim my compensation?

So now you know what kind of compensation you are entitled to, now let’s have a look at the important part – claiming said compensation.

However, unfortunately, according to our research, there is no specific guideline on claiming your compensation from airlines in the event of a flight delay or cancellation. 

So your best bet will be to call the airline that you bought the ticket from, and raise your concerns with them.

For example, from our conversation with Malaysian Airlines (MAS), MAS’ customer service agent advised us that in the case of delays or cancellations, what you have to do is call them with your booking number, and they will advise you with what they can compensate you with on that day.

Meanwhile AirAsia doesn’t list a Malaysian phone number on their website, so you will have to deal with their AI chat bot or you can raise a complaint on the AirAsia app.

However, if you are not happy with how the airline handled your case, then you can also raise a complaint with MAVCOM right here.

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