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Consumer protection and liability

Airfares

Are airfares regulated in your jurisdiction?

In accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008, an air carrier is free to set airfares.

Passenger protection

What rules and liabilities are air carriers subject to in respect of:

(a) Flight delays and cancellations?

EU Regulation 261/2004 sets out the liability requirements for air carriers in the European Union.

In case of flight cancellation, the affected passengers are offered assistance by the operating air carrier and have the right to choose between reimbursement and a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience. Passengers are offered free meals and refreshments proportionate to the waiting time and two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages or emails.

In the event of a re-routing, when the expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the planned departure for the cancelled flight, the operating air carrier must offer free hotel accommodation in cases where a stay of one or more nights is necessary or where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger is necessary, and free transport between the airport and the accommodation.

Passengers are entitled to the following compensation:

  • €250 for all flights of 1,500 kilometres (km) or less;
  • €400 for all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km and other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km; and
  • €600 for all other flights.

This applies unless the passengers are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure or they are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.

An operating air carrier is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which were unavoidable even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

Passengers are offered free meals and refreshments proportionate to the waiting time and two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages or emails when an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure for:

  • two hours or more in the case of flights of 1,500km or less;
  • three hours or more in the case of all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km and of all other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km; or
  • four hours or more in the case of all other flights.

When the delay is at least five hours, the operation air carrier must offer free hotel accommodation in cases where a stay of one or more nights is necessary or where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger is necessary and free transport between the airport and the accommodation.(b) Oversold flights?

See section below.

(c) Denied boarding?

EU Regulation 261/2004 sets out the boarding requirements for air carriers in the European Union.

When an operating air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it will first call for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits under conditions to be agreed between the passenger concerned and the operating air carrier. Volunteers will be assisted and have the right to choose between reimbursement and a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience.

If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers with reservations to board the flight, the operating air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will.

If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the operating air carrier must immediately compensate them as follows:

  • €250 for all flights of 1,500km or less;
  • €400 for all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km and other flights between 1,500 and 3,500km; and
  • €600 for all other flights.

An operating air carrier is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

The operating air carrier must immediately assist passengers with choosing between reimbursement and a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience.

Passengers are offered free meals and refreshments proportionate to the waiting time, free hotel accommodation in cases where a stay of one or more nights is necessary or where additional stay to that intended by the passenger is necessary, and free transport between the airport and the accommodation. Further, passengers will be offered two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages or e-mails.

(d) Access for disabled passengers?

EU Regulation 1107/2006 establishes rules for the protection of and provision of assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility travelling by air, both to protect them against discrimination and to ensure that they receive assistance.

EU Regulation 261/2004 states that operating air carriers must give priority to carrying persons with reduced mobility and any persons or certified service dogs accompanying them.

(e) Lost, damaged or destroyed luggage?

EU Regulation 889/2002, which amends EU Regulation 2027/97, sets out the rules regarding air carrier luggage:

  • Baggage delays ‒ in case of baggage delay, the air carrier is liable for damage unless it took all reasonable measures to avoid the damage or it was impossible to take such measures. The liability for baggage delay is limited to 1,000 special drawing rights (SDR) (approximate amount in local currency).
  • Destruction, loss or damage to baggage ‒ the air carrier is liable for destruction, loss or damage to baggage up to SDR 1,000 (approximate amount in local currency). In the case of checked baggage, it is liable even if not at fault, unless the baggage was defective. In the case of unchecked baggage, the carrier is liable only if at fault.
  • Higher limits for baggage ‒ a passenger can benefit from a higher liability limit by making a special declaration at the latest at check-in and by paying a supplementary fee.

The Air Transport Act implementing the rules of the Montreal Convention applies in cases when EU regulation is not applicable.

(f) Retention and protection of passenger data?

In Sweden, the Personal Data Act (1998:204) implements EU Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data.

From May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation will be the regulation for all EU member states.

Cargo

What rules and liabilities apply to the air carriage of cargo?

Air operator’s certificates, in accordance with EU Regulation 965/2012 and operation licences, in accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008, set out the rules and liabilities applying to the air carriage of cargo.

For insurance, please see “Air carrier operations”.

Marketing and advertising

Do any special rules apply to the marketing and advertising of aviation services?

No. The Marketing Act (2008:486) is applicable.

Complaints handling

Do any special rules apply to consumer complaints handling in the aviation industry?

EU Regulation 261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long flight delays.

EU Regulation 2027/97 establishes common rules on air carrier liability in the event of accidents.

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