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Right to Care (from Austrian Airlines)

If you have to wait at the airport due to a flight disruption, you have a right to care.

In most cases, this means free food and free hotel accommodation.

If a delay, cancellation, or overbooking occurs to your Austrian flight, you are assured of receiving certain amenities at no charge. If the delay extends to 3 hours or more, you should be offered meals and beverages free of cost. For disruptions that require an overnight wait, Austrian Airlines should provide a complimentary hotel stay.

Right to Care From Austrian Airlines

Under the European legislation, the rights of air passengers are safeguarded.

This means that passengers flying via European airlines have the right to care, a service that Austrian Airlines extends for most of its flights to and from the European Union. This obligation is stipulated by Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

If you are flying with a non-European airline, such as Emirates or Qatar Airways, European regulations apply only to their flights from Europe.

Short Delays (3+ Hours)

You can get: food and beverages.

For delays spanning three hours or more that occur during the day, Austrian is committed to providing you with complimentary meals and refreshments. You also get access to two free options for communication – be it phone calls, emails, or faxes. These privileges are offered via coupons.

Long Delays (Overnight)

You can get: food, beverages, accommodation and airport transfer.

If your flight with Austrian is delayed overnight (or if your replacement flight is on the next day), rest assured that Austrian will provide you with a free hotel stay and airport transfers in addition to food and drinks. If these provisions haven’t been communicated to you, we urge you to get in touch with Austrian at your earliest convenience.

How to Get Free Food and Free Hotel Accommodation?

In the event of an extended delay at the airport, Austrian is obliged to automatically offer services such as complimentary meals, hotel stays, and transfers. This should be done without any prompting from your side during the waiting period.

If these services are not offered, we recommend that you head to the Austrian Airlines customer service desk to inquire about them. As per EU law, Austrian is obligated to provide these amenities free of charge for delays that qualify.

On rare occasions, if the airline fails to provide these services, you might need to handle the arrangements yourself. Remember to retain all receipts and proof of payment related to food, beverages, transfers, and accommodations. With these in hand, you can then file a reimbursement claim with Austrian Airlines, detailing your costs during the delay. Make sure you provide all the required details to process a seamless reimbursement process.

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Extraordinary Circumstances

Let’s start with a brief explanation.

What Are Extraordinary Circumstances?

The phrase ‘extraordinary circumstances’ denotes events that are outside an airline’s control and lead to flight disruptions, changes or cancellations. These can include extreme weather, strikes not related to the airline, security threats, political unrest, or hidden manufacturing defects that threaten flight safety.

When these issues occur, airlines aren’t required to compensate passengers, despite the inconvenience caused. This is because they’re exempt under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

However, despite this, passengers still have a right to care, as outlined below.

Are Technical Problems Considered Extraordinary Circumstances?

Mostly, under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, technical issues aren’t categorised as extraordinary circumstances. The regulation clearly articulates that if technical problems arise from the normal functioning of an airline, they aren’t considered extraordinary since they fall under the airline’s jurisdiction.

Regular maintenance or minor repairs are examples of these issues. They are an integral part of an airline’s day-to-day operations and hence can’t be used as a justification for not compensating or offering care to passengers.

But, if a concealed manufacturing defect poses a safety risk, it may be considered extraordinary. This is because these situations are unusual, pose an immediate threat to flight safety and are not part of the airline’s general technical operations.

Right to Care in Extraordinary Circumstances

Passengers are entitled to care, even in extraordinary circumstances.

Even though Austrian Airlines isn’t required to compensate for disruptions caused by events beyond their control, they need to ensure passengers’ wellbeing during the waiting period. This includes providing meals, drinks, and accommodation when delays are significant.

The same goes for offering passengers an alternative means of travel in case of flight cancellations – passengers are entitled to this.

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Right to Care: FAQ

This section will tackle the most commonly posed questions about passengers’ right to care during flight delays and cancellations with Austrian Airlines.

What Is the Right to Care?

The right to care is the responsibility airlines have towards their passengers during flight delays, denied boarding or overbooking, and flight cancellations.

Under European law, airlines must ensure the comfort of passengers during such instances, which includes the provision of free meals, refreshments, and, if necessary, accommodation.

How Do I Get Care from Austrian Airlines If My Austrian Flight Is Delayed?

If you experience a delay of 3 hours or more with Austrian Airlines, you should be provided with amenities such as free meals and refreshments, and accommodation in the case of overnight delays, automatically.

However, if these services are not provided, you should approach the Austrian Airlines customer service desk at the airport. Alternatively, you can personally cover the cost of the services and then file for reimbursement with Austrian Airlines as soon as possible.

Do I Have the Right to Care If My Flight Is Cancelled?

Yes, if your flight is cancelled, you have the right to care.

This implies that Austrian Airlines is obligated to provide you with meals, refreshments, and accommodation (if necessary), as well as an alternative means of reaching your destination.

If the cancellation occurs due to the airline’s fault, you also have a right to flight cancellation compensation.

Read more: Last-Minute Flight Cancellation: Your Rights

Are Extraordinary Circumstances an Exception to the Right to Care?

No, even in the presence of extraordinary circumstances, which are situations outside of the airline’s control, the right to care remains valid.

This guarantee ensures that even if your flight is delayed or cancelled due to severe weather, security threats, or other extraordinary circumstances, you are still entitled to free meals, refreshments, and accommodation (if necessary).

How Do I Apply For Reimbursement If I Had To Arrange My Accommodation And Meals?

If you arranged for your meals, accommodation, or airport transfers due to the airline’s failure to provide these services, hold on to all receipts and proof of purchase. You can submit these, along with a detailed account of your expenses during the delay, to Austrian Airlines for reimbursement.

Please note that this policy only applies to essential expenses.

Do I Have a Right to Care on All Austrian Airlines Flights?

You have a right to care on all Austrian Airlines flights.

As an EU airline, the right to care under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 applies to all of its flights both departing from and arriving in Europe. For non-European airlines, this regulation only applies to flights departing from Europe.

Does All Of This Only Apply To Europeans?

No, this applies to all passengers on Austrian Airlines flights, regardless of their nationality.

The laws that govern the right to care are Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and Regulation UK261, which were instituted by the European Union and the UK government. These regulations require that any European airline must provide care and compensation for affected passengers when applicable. The regulation applies to all passengers on Austrian Airlines flights, regardless of their nationality.

The exception is all non-European airlines, where these European regulations only apply to flights departing from Europe.

By Europe and EU here on this page (and on this website in general) we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.