In the fast-paced world of air travel, disruptions such as flight cancellations, delays, and denied boarding can cause considerable inconvenience to passengers. To address these concerns and safeguard the interests of travelers, regulations have been put in place to define and regulate the minimum rights of passengers travelling by air. These regulations aim to ensure that passengers are treated fairly and provided with necessary assistance and compensation when faced with unexpected situations. In this article, we delve into the core principles and provisions of the Regulation on the Rights of Passengers Travelling by Air, offering insights into how it protects and serves the interests of passengers navigating the skies. We explore the scope, purpose, and guaranteed rights under this regulation, shedding light on its significance in ensuring a seamless and equitable air travel experience for all.

Purpose of the Regulations

The Regulation on the Rights of Passengers Travelling by Air aims to define and regulate the minimum rights of passengers travelling by air in cases such as the refusal of boarding, flight cancellations, and flight delays, as well as the situations where these rights are applicable.

General Scope

This regulation applies to all scheduled and unscheduled flights operated by Turkish airline operators to/from airports in Turkey, as well as to foreign airline operators operating from airports in Turkey. It covers passengers who have confirmed reservations for the relevant flight and who have applied for pre-flight check-in, except in cases of flight cancellations as specified in Article 6.

Official Basis of the Regulation

This regulation is based on:

– Article 9(g) of the Law on the Establishment and Duties of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation No. 5431 dated 10/11/2005,

– Prepared parallel to Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 of the European Union dated 11/2/2004.

What are the Passenger Rights Guaranteed by the Regulation?

 In Case of Flight Cancellation 

If the passengers whose flight has been canceled are aware of the cancellation, the passenger is provided with one of the following options:

  • Refund of the ticket price and free transportation to the starting point of the trip,
  • Change of route to the final destination,
  • Change of route at a later date under similar transportation conditions.

Passengers are entitled to compensation unless they are notified of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled departure time, are notified of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled departure time, are offered a change of itinerary that allows them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled departure time and reach their final destination no more than four hours after the scheduled arrival time. the airline is released from liability. Unless Passengers are notified of the cancellation less than seven days prior to the scheduled departure time and are offered a change of itinerary that allows them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled departure time and reach their final destination no more than two hours after the scheduled arrival time, the Airline shall be released from liability. If the air carrier performing the flight can prove that extraordinary circumstances caused the cancellation despite taking all precautions, it shall be relieved from paying compensation. In the event that the passenger’s contact information is not provided to the air transport operator or is provided incorrectly despite the request of the air transport operator.

In Case of Flight Delay

When the air carrier operating the flight expects the flight to be delayed for

– two hours or more for domestic flights less than 1500 kilometers,

– three hours or more for flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers,

– four hours or more for flights longer than 3500 kilometers,

from the scheduled departure time, it must offer passengers their Catering and Communication Rights.

In the event of denial of boarding, cancellation, and any kind of delay, persons with reduced mobility, their companions, and children travelling alone have the right to be given special attention in meeting their needs and to be served as soon as possible. The air carrier is obliged to provide each passenger affected by a denied boarding, cancellation, or delay of at least two hours with a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance. 

These rights of passengers may not be limited in any way. In case of violation of passenger rights, passengers have the right to take legal action. If the delay is at least five hours, the passenger is entitled to a refund of the ticket price and free transportation to the starting point of the journey. Passengers have the right to accommodation and transportation if the expected departure time is on the day or days after the previously announced departure time. If the passenger is placed in a lower class of service than the class of service for which the ticket was purchased,

For flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers, in addition to the refund of the difference between the ticket prices, 50% of the ticket price is paid to the passenger.

For flights of more than 3500 kilometers, in addition to the refund of the difference between the ticket prices, 75% of the ticket price is paid to the passenger.

If the passenger is placed in a higher class of service than the class of service for which the ticket was purchased, he/she cannot claim any additional payment.

In times of uncertainty or adversity, passengers can take solace in knowing that legal recourse is available. Should complications arise with airline-related matters, including denied boarding, flight cancellations, or delays, passengers are encouraged to first seek resolution through direct communication with the airline. However, if their grievances remain unaddressed or if legal guidance is warranted, passengers have the option to turn to legal experts for assistance. If you encounter any issues related to airlines during your travels, your first step should be to reach out to the airline directly. If the problem persists or remains unresolved, you can turn to Alfa Law Firm’s team of experienced attorneys and English-speaking lawyers, who specialize in assisting foreign travelers in Turkey during such situations.

Additional Rights of Passengers Travelling by Air

In addition to compensation, passengers have the right to:

  • Receive information about alternative transportation options.
  • Be provided with two telephone calls, fax messages, or emails free of charge.
  • Receive special attention during the fulfillment of their needs, especially passengers with reduced mobility and unaccompanied children.

If you are denied boarding despite arriving on time with your valid documents or due to oversupply, the air carrier operating the flight will make an announcement to find volunteers who will waive their reservation. Volunteers will be offered one of the following options:

  • Refund of the ticket price and free transportation to the starting point of the trip,
  • Change of itinerary to the final destination,
  • Change of itinerary at a later date under similar conditions of carriage.

The air transport operator operating the flight is obliged to pay you the equivalent of EUR 100 for domestic flights and EUR 200 to EUR 600 in Turkish Lira for international flights, depending on the distance, targeting the planned final destination. In the event that passengers are not admitted to the flight against their will; they have the right to compensation, the right to refund the ticket price or route change, as well as the right to request Catering, Communication, Accommodation, and Transportation.

In addition, the following services are provided to passengers free of charge:

  • For delays of 2-3 hours, hot and cold beverages at a reasonable rate,
  • For delays of 3-5 hours, hot and cold beverages and breakfast or meal depending on the time of day,
  • For delays of 5 hours or more, hot and cold beverages and breakfast or meal depending on the time of day, additional hot and cold beverages, and additional light refreshments.
  • When one or more nights accommodation is required, accommodation in a hotel or suitable accommodation facility.
  • Transportation between the airport and the accommodation,
  • Two telephone calls, fax messages, or e-mail service with no time limit.

Conclusion: Upholding Passenger Rights with Legal Support

The Regulation on the Rights of Passengers Travelling by Air stands as a beacon of protection for air travelers, offering a comprehensive framework to address common disruptions encountered during air travel. By delineating passengers’ entitlements and airlines’ obligations, this regulation serves as a bulwark against arbitrary treatment and ensures that travelers are treated fairly and provided with necessary assistance.

Alfa Law Firm stands ready to support passengers navigating the complexities of air travel disruptions. With experienced attorneys and English-speaking lawyers well-versed in handling such situations, Alfa Law Firm offers a guiding hand to foreigners traveling in Turkey. From asserting passenger rights to seeking compensation and resolving disputes, Alfa Law Firm in Antalya provides comprehensive legal assistance tailored to the needs of air travelers.

In partnership with legal experts, passengers can assert their rights with confidence and navigate the intricacies of air travel disruptions with ease. By leveraging legal support, passengers empower themselves to uphold their rights and ensure that their journey remains as smooth and hassle-free as possible. In the realm of air travel, legal assistance serves as a valuable resource, offering peace of mind and recourse in times of need. Contact Alfa Law Firm today, for any issues you encounter with airlines and airports while travelling.