Rail, Air, Bus and Ship: Know Your Rights When You Travel in Europe

Whether you know it or not, you have rights when travelling in Europe. Most people don’t think of it when they book, but they should. Know your passenger rights, regardless of whether it’s by plane, ship, bus, or rail, so you can protect yourself, as well as your money.

Essence of travel through rail, air, bus, and ship, each represented in its own quadrant of the composition

Delays and Cancellation

If your flight is delayed or cancelled by over 3 hrs, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You can go to a Bott & Co. to download a flight claim template letter to send to the airline to start your claim.

If you’re overbooked, you are entitled to either transportation to a final destination using comparable alternative means, or the airline may refund your ticket and or return you free of charge to your initial departure point.

If you suffer a long delay, you may be entitled to compensation. A long delay is one delayed by three hours or more. Depending on the circumstances, this may entitle you to a full or partial refund of your ticket price.

If you accept a refund, the airline doesn’t have to provide you with any further onward travel and assistance. Your airline has to inform you about your rights, as well as the reason they’re denying you boarding or cancelling your flight.

Any long delays must also be disclosed by the airlines, but it is in your best interest to know your rights when it comes to problems with a flight.

Food and Board

If your flight is delayed by more than three hours, you are entitled to food, refreshments, meals, communications and an overnight stay. The room and board must be reasonable and commensurate with your delay. Be sure to save all receipts in case you want to file for reimbursement. If you are close enough, the airlines may even provide transport back to your home instead of providing an overnight stay.

Financial Compensation

Many airlines try to give out vouchers to people bumped from their flights. And, while this is fine, you’re entitled to money in the form of a refund. In some cases, if you’re denied boarding on a train, bus, or ship, you must also be refunded your ticket. If your flight is cancelled or arrives more than three hours late, you may be entitled to compensation, as well.

If your carrier offered you an alternative, the compensation may be reduced by 50 percent. You won’t receive compensation if the cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances like bad weather or you were told up to two weeks in advance of the scheduled flight date, or you’re offered another flight with a similar schedule to the original flight.


If your luggage is lost or stolen, you could be entitled to compensation from the airline. The compensation is up to £1,220. The only exception to this is if the damage is caused by an inherent defect in the baggage. Your personal handbag is also covered. If the carrier is liable, it must compensate you. Make your claim within seven days with the carrier.

Online Booking

When booking, you must pay the total price of the ticket, which includes all compulsory fees and taxes. It must be visible from the beginning and there cannot be any tricky pricing on the part of the booking agent.

If you plan to travel to or from Europe, make sure you have a general understanding of EU 261, but the for easiest way to find out if you qualify for compensation, be sure to use a free claim calculator, like the one at Bott & Co. Have fun, but keep your traveller’s rights in mind.

Jessica Lyon is part of the passenger assistance team at a large UK airport. When not working she enjoys writing articles, and often writes about airports and travel sharing her tips online to help passengers have a fab flight!

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