Airline downgrade compensation in the EU.
Are you eligible to it? How much can you claim? What are the rules?
What if you book a first class ticket, but then… at the airport you learn, that you’ll have to fly in business class or economy? What if you book a business class ticket, and later you are asked to fly in economy instead? There are very specific rules regarding that. And, yes, you can get compensation from KLM. This applies to all KLM flights to and from Europe.
Compensation has to be offered right on the spot.
1. KLM / Air France Downgrade Compensation
In the EU air passenger rights are strictly regulated.
- If your flight is delayed, you can get flight delay compensation.
- If it’s cancelled – flight cancellation compensation.
- If you are denied boarding – denied boarding compensation.
If you are downgraded, you can get flight downgrade compensation. The amounts of involuntary downgrade compensation you can get from your airline are between 30 to 75% of the price of the ticket, depending from the distance of your flight. It doesn’t affect your KLM baggage allowance. It isn’t your fault after all. .
With Air France–KLM it applies to all their flights from and to Europe.
With non-EU airlines it applies only to flights from Europe.
By Europe and EU here on this page we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.
All of this is possible thanks to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.
2. How to Claim This Flight Downgrade Compensation?
Flight downgrade compensation should be paid on spot.
So, in a normal situation you shouldn’t have to do anything.
If that hasn’t happened, make sure to contact KLM and file a claim. Because otherwise, if you do nothing, KLM will do the same. Nothing. Remember that this compensation should be paid to your bank account. You don’t have to accept any coupons or vouchers. In case of any issues, refer to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.
3. How Much Can You Claim?
The compensation amounts are regulated by the EU.
Here is how you can calculate your KLM compensation:
- 30%, if the distance of your flight is up to 1500 kilometres,
- 50%, if the distance of your flight is between 1500 – 3500 kilometres,
- 75%, if the distance of your flight is more than 3500 kilometres.
These percentages are of the price you paid for your flight.
EU and Non-EU Airlines
What if you fly with Qatar Airways or Turkish Airlines, not KLM?
In these situations all of this apply only to flights departing from Europe.
With European airlines, these rules apply to all commercial flights both from and to Europe. If you are flying with a non-EU airline, like Turkish Airlines or Qatar Airways, these rules apply only to their flights from Europe, but not the other way around. In the rest of the situations you’ll have to rely on the local laws of the country you are flying from and airline policies regarding downgrading.
Frequently Asked Questions
What about upgrades?
Let’s assume there are no more free seats in the economy, and you’re offered a seat in the business. That’s ok, but you should remember, that the airline may not request any supplementary payment for this upgrade.
It’s just an involuntary KLM upgrade.
EU – Non-EU Flights, Tourists
I’m flying to the EU from Asia / Americas / Africa. Can I get compensation?
If you’re flying with KLM then yes, you can.
KLM is an airline registered in the EU, and in this case EU regulations apply to all its flights to and from Europe. If you’re flying with a non-EU airline, it applies only to flights departing from Europe.
I’m flying from the EU to Asia / Americas / Africa? Can I get compensation?
Yes, even if it’s a non-EU airline.
I am not a European. Can I apply for compensation?
Yes, you can.
Any national can apply for KLM flight delay compensation. In the European Union these rules are the same for everyone — tourists from overseas and Europeans alike.
Do you still have questions about KLM compensation policies? Ask in the comments.