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What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Denmark?

Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation if your flight from Denmark is delayed.

What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Denmark?
Delays at Copenhagen Airport on February 5th. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

Although delayed or cancelled flights can leave travel plans in tatters, passengers do have a number of rights.

If you are flying to, from or between EU countries, European Union rules provide you with the right to compensation, re-booking or refunds on air travel tickets, as well as meals and accommodation while you wait for a replacement flight, if applicable.

These rights always apply if you are departing from an EU country regardless of destination and regardless of whether your airline is European.

They also apply if you are flying to the EU with an EU airline; have a flight change outside of EU as part of a journey that began in the EU; or have a flight change outside of the EU on a flight destined for the EU with an EU airline.

It should be noted that for these rights to apply, you must be at check-in at the airport a minimum of 45 minutes prior to departure time (unless your airline states otherwise). This applies even if you already know the flight is delayed before leaving home (unless the airline states otherwise).

Your flight must be delayed by at least two hours for any of these rights to apply. You may be entitled to one or more of the following: compensation; food and drink; two or more telephone calls or emails; and accommodation plus transport to and from the accommodation, if applicable.

You are entitled to meals if your departure is:

  • Delayed by 2 hours or more on journeys of under 1,500 kilometres
  • Delayed by 3 hours or more on journeys of over 1,500 kilometres within the EU and between 1,500-3,000 kilometres which go outside of the EU
  • Delayed by 4 hours or more for journeys over 3,500 kilometres outside of the EU

The airline is responsible for providing meals in these cases, but if it does not provide its own service then you can purchase your own meals and apply for a refund. It is therefore important to keep receipts.

If the delay means you are unable to travel until the following day, the airline must provide accommodation and pay for travel to and from the airport and accommodation.

You may be entitled to monetary compensation if your arrival is delayed by 3 hours or more. This is dependent on the length and distance of your journey. Compensation of 250 euros may be due for journeys of up to 1,500 kilometres; 400 euros for flights over 1,500 kilometres within the EU and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres; and 600 euros for all other types of flight.

If you are delayed by 5 hours or more, you are entitled to a refund of your ticket or return flight, but not to a ticket for a different route.

A ‘cancelled’ flight is defined as a flight which the airline decides not to operate, instead changing passengers to other (earliest possible) departures. You are not entitled to compensation for cancellations if the flight is cancelled at least 14 days in advance.

Meanwhile, your right to monetary compensation does not apply to cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, strikes or terrorism, but the other rights as detailed above remain in place.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen Airport passengers ‘must pay for own new flights’ after wildcat strike

If your flight is cancelled and does not fall under the exceptions outlined above, you have three options: a refund, a ticket for the next available departure; or a ticket for the same route on a date of your choice (depending on availability).

That can in turn result in the airline being obliged to provide you with meals, accommodation and compensation in line with the rights set out above.

You should also note that the airline is obliged to inform of your rights in writing when a cancellation occurs. For your rights to apply, you should still be at the airport check-in at least 45 minutes before the original scheduled departure – unless the airline has advised otherwise.

If your airline fails to provide the compensation, re-booking, refunds and catering for which your rights provide, you can file a complaint, initially with the airline itself.

If the airline does not respond within four weeks, you can prompt them. If there is still no response after two months, they are at odds with European Commission rules.

In such cases, you can take your complaint further in Denmark to the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority (Trafik-, Bygge- og Boligstyrelsen). To be able to complain to the Danish authority, your flight must have departed in Denmark or arrived in Denmark with an EU airline but from a non-EU country.

If the authority upholds your claim, the airline will be obliged to pay compensation or give you a refund.

If your journey was not in the EU, you must file your complaint with air travel authorities in the country where the delay occurred. Denmark has a three-year deadline for such complaints.

Sources: Forbrugerrådet Tænk, European Consumer Centre Denmark, Trafik-, Bygge- og Boligstyrelsen

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Denmark bans flights without negative Covid-19 tests

Denmark on Friday announced it would only allow flights into the country where every passenger had tested negative for Covid-19 and the government urged Danes to put off abroad travel all together.

Denmark bans flights without negative Covid-19 tests
Copenhagen's Kastrup airport almost empty of passengers in March. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
In addition to being negative tests can only be 24 hours old. The rule will apply to both Danish citizens and foreigners, and it will be up to airlines to ensure passengers have been tested.
“That means that, as of January 9 at 5 pm, no airline will be allowed to fly to a Danish airport without having checked that all passengers onboard have tested negative,” transport minister Benny Engelbrecht told a news conference.
Domestic flights, as well as flights from Greenland and the Faroe islands will be exempt from the requirement, as will children under 12.   
Border restrictions were also tightened for foreigners entering the country by land or sea, they would also need to produce a negative test and have a valid reason to travel, according to broadcaster DR.
The tighter restrictions were motivated by the circulation of reportedly more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus, specifically the ones discovered in the UK and South Africa.
The country's foreign ministry also issued new guidance on travel and said it was now advising against all travel abroad, replacing its previous guidance to avoid non-essential travel abroad.
“If you are considering travelling abroad, don't,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told reporters on Friday.
Last week health authorities reported they had confirmed 86 cases of the British variant in Denmark.
Responding to the threat of a more easily spread virus, Denmark on Tuesday announced even tighter measures on top of a partial lockdown in place since mid-December.
In addition to existing measures like working from home and the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and most shops, gatherings of more than five people were banned — down from 10 — and people were asked to keep two metres (six feet) apart, rather than one metre.
“Stay at home as much as you can, don't meet people outside your household, those close to you,” prime minister Mette Frederiksen said on Tuesday.
The new travel guidance as well as the restrictions are set to remain in place until January 17.