Starting 1 December, EU rules enhancing the rights of air passengers will also apply in Switzerland. Air travellers who are victims of delays, overbookings or cancellations will enjoy the same rights for departures from Switzerland as from EU countries.
EU rules strengthening the rights of air passengers already apply to flights from Swiss airports operated by Community airlines. In late 2005, Switzerland expressed its intention to apply Community regulations regarding passenger rights to Swiss air carriers. The European Union having agreed, these rules will come into effect on December 1st.
From now on, the rules will apply to all flights operated by Swiss regular and charter companies and to all flights departing from Swiss airports. At present, Swiss companies are only subject to Community rules for departures from an EU airport.
Henceforth, travellers on flights operated by Swiss companies, including flights from airports in Switzerland, will enjoy the following rights:
- In the event of overbooking, air travellers are entitled to compensation. They may receive between 250 and 600 euros, depending on the distance of the flight, and half the amount for delays of not more than two, three or four hours. In addition, the airline is required to offer to reroute passengers to their final destination or to reimburse their ticket.
- If a flight is cancelled, the company has to offer travellers a choice between a refund of their air fare or an alternative flight to their destination. It must also offer free meals and refreshments, and hotel accommodation, if necessary.
- In the event of long delays - of between two and four hours, according to the distance - the airline must offer free meals and refreshments, and hotel accommodation, if necessary. If the delay exceeds five hours, the company must also offer a ticket refund.
Travellers wishing to make a claim must begin by contacting their air line directly. If they do not obtain redress, they must contact the competent Swiss or EU authority who acts as mediator in cases of dispute. In Switzerland, this mediation service is provided by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation.
Publisher: Federal Office of Civil Aviation