Charter Airlines: What are your rights?

If you book your flights yourself, mostly these will be regular, scheduled flights operated by regular airlines. However, if you book a package holiday, where both flights and accommodation are included, these usually are, so called, charter flights, mostly operated by charter airlines. What does it mean for you? Will you be protected?

Charter airlines are different from regular airlines, that’s true. But what about your rights?

What if your charter flight gets heavily delayed or even cancelled?

Will you be eligible to receive flight compensation?

Charter airlines

Charter flight delays and cancellations: Your rights

There are private and public charters.

In this article we will focus on public charters and discuss what are your rights if a charter flight gets cancelled or delayed.

If you’re flying to, from or within Europe, mostly you are under the EU's protection.

If you’re travelling with a non-European airline, it applies to flights from and within Europe.

If your flight has been cancelled or delayed often you have the right to compensation.

Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitled to a compensation up to €600 if their flight is delayed for 3 or more hours, or cancelled. This applies to all flight delays and cancellations, when the airline is responsible for the disruption.

1. Does it apply also to charter flights?


If your charter flight is delayed (for 3 or more hours) or cancelled, you are entitled to a compensation up to €600, just like you would if it was a regular, scheduled flight.

2. How much can you claim?

Mostly €250, €400 or €600.

Depending on the distance of your flight.

There are some exceptions, but mostly it's as simple as this:

  • €250 - if the distance of your flight is up to 1500 kilometres (1-2 hour flights);
  • €400 - if the distance of the flight is between 1500 - 3500 kilometres (mostly 2-5 hour flights);
  • €600 - if the distance is more than 3500 kilometres (mostly 5+ hour flights).

How much can you claim - Refundor

How to claim compensation for flight delays and cancellations?

How to claim compensation for delayed flight? Or charter flight cancellation?

Here are two of the best options you have:

1. You can try and do it on your own. Go to the website of the airline, find the right form, fill it, submit all the information they are asking for and wait. In some situations they will get back to you soon afterwards, in other - you will have to remind about your claim. Be prepared, that it takes a while.

Contact us, if you’ll need legal advice.

2. You can also take the shortcut.

Register your flight online at refundor.com. We will do the rest.

  1. Go to this page on our website;
  2. Fill in the details about yourself and your flight delay or cancellation;
  3. Upload your boarding pass;
  4. Sign the claim online.

And… that’s it.

We’ll take it from here.

Remember - you DON’T have to be European to be entitled to European flight compensation.

Thomas Cook Airline

What are charter flights and charter airlines?

Charter airlines are airlines that offer their aircrafts for rent to third-party travel providers.

The main difference between a regular (either traditional or low cost) and a charter airline is that the latter offers entire aircrafts for rent and does not have scheduled flights.

There are private and public charters.

Public charters are offered by airlines on a seasonal basis, operating on limited schedules.

Private charters are rented by individuals or groups or people for individual (or group flights).

Public charters

A public charter flight is an unscheduled flight by an aircraft rented for a specific journey which is not part of an airline's regular schedule.

However, there is a certain schedule to charter flights (for example, once or twice a week). But still, tickets can’t be booked like the ones for regular scheduled flights. Charter flights are booked by a third party (holiday operators and travel agents), and this third party is responsible for all the seats on the flight.

A person is put on a charter flight with other people who have bought the same package holiday which includes this particular chartered flight.

Pool at a resort

Charter airlines operate charter flights on a seasonal basis. For instance, holiday operators sell package holidays (which include charter flights) to European beach destinations (Cyprus, Greece, Spanish islands) only in high season when the weather is at its best.

Some scheduled airlines offer additional charter services as well.

Popular charter airlines in Europe

Here are some of the most popular charter airlines in Europe.

  • TUI Airways - formerly known as Thomson Airways, the world's largest charter airline;
  • Thomas Cook Airlines - a British airline;
  • Titan Airways - a British charter airline;
  • Smartwings - a Czech airline;
  • SmartLynx Airlines - a charter airline based in Latvia;
  • Bulgarian Air Charter - a Bulgarian charter airline;
  • Danish Air Transport (DAT) - a Danish airline.

Some of these charter airlines (e.g., TUI Airways & Thomas Cook Airlines) also offer scheduled services as well.

TUI Airways (formerly - Thomson Airways) and Thomas Cook are the most popular airlines offering charter flights.

Charter airline destinations

Some of the most popular charter destinations in and near Europe are:

  • Turkey (Dalaman, Antalya, Bodrum);
  • Greece (Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos);
  • Cyprus (Larnaca, Paphos);
  • Croatia (Split and Dubrovnik);
  • Italy (Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, Sicily);
  • Spain (Balearic Islands, Canary Islands);
  • France (Nice, Chambéry);
  • Bulgaria (Sofia).

Have a great holiday!

And if there are some problems with your flight, do not hesitate to contact us!

Remember - whenever your flight is delayed, cancelled or you've been denied boarding - you might be entitled to flight compensation. Contact us to get it sorted out right away!