If a flight is cancelled, passengers will be entitled to compensation under certain conditions, in accordance with the Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261 of the European Union. But the law does not say anywhere that passengers must be human, so a dog filed a claim after his flight got cancelled and received compensation.
Jack, the dog, was looking forward to his trip to Lampedusa island with a ticket booked from Palermo, Italy, with Danish Air Transport (DAT). The aircraft experienced technical problems and was delayed by several hours and eventually cancelled, making passengers eligible for financial compensation, according to EU 261/04 legislation. Jack’s owners received €250 each for their flight, but Jack received no compensation, despite having filled out all forms correctly. Upon checking the details, the company noticed that Jack was not human, but a dog. This created a huge question for the airline’s legal team, as it was the first time that a dog had submitted a compensation claim like that.
After consulting with third parties and understanding Jack’s situation, the company ended up making him the first dog to receive compensation under the EU261 regulation. As a result, the airline must pay 250 euros to him, who was travelling with a pre-purchased “pet in the cabin” ticket, which had cost 27 euros.
The EU regulation for Air Passengers
Jesper Rungholm, CEO of DAT, admitted that the dog would indeed be entitled to financial compensation. The EU261 states that “a passenger is a holder of a ticket or similar travel documents” and a pet requires to carry travel documents on board.
“The regulation does not say anywhere that the passenger must be a human being”, Rungholm said to aeroTelegraph, and Jack did indeed have a ticket, bought and paid.
So, the EU regulation 261/2004 says:
– It is intended for passengers who suffer delayed or cancelled flights, overbooking, or denied boarding;
– Depending on the circumstances, and under certain conditions, it may give rise to a claim for compensation of between €250 and €600 per passenger;
– It provides assistance and access to basic services in the event of flights that have been cancelled or delayed for several hours;
– It offers the right to request a seat on another flight or to withdraw from the scheduled flight if it is cancelled or delayed by more than 5 hours;
– It obliges airlines to inform their passengers about flight delays and cancellations, and their rights.
EU261 also states that passengers must be taken care of in case of a delay or cancellation, which can often mean providing food, drinks and overnight accommodation. Rungholm said: “I am now waiting for the complaint that we did not provide dog food or a suitable water bowl during the wait.”