how to complain in the eu

How to Complain in the EU

Suppose you were denied boarding, or were stranded in an European airport because your flight was cancelled or delayed and are not satisfied with the way the airline company handled your case, than you may as well try complaining.

However, you should first skim through CE Regulation 261/2004 to see whether you really have a case and if your particular situation is covered by its provisions. In case you consider that your rights were not observed by the complay, than you may use one of the following services to ADDRESS YOUR ISSUE.

The very first step you can take is to to send an air passenger rights EU complaint form to the airline company. Do not forget to also keep a copy for yourself. This form needs to be sent to the carrier or competent National Enforcement Body, NOT to the European Commission.

If you feel that this initial step was useless, than you may resort to…

National Enforcement Bodies

The European regulation compel all the states that are member of the EU to either create or appoint an office that is called a “national enforcement body”. Its role is to check that all the carriers treat their passengers in accordance with their rights. For example the French agency , i.e. Direction générale de l’aviation civile (DGAC) informs all airline passengers on their rights and gives you two options to complain, to write them a letter of complain or to use theironline form.

The Belgium agency, i.e. Direction générale ‘Transport aérien’ / Directoraat-generaal ‘Luchtvaart’provide the same options; their online form is based on the European standard and also allows you to attach scanned copies of any supporting documents, i.e. copy of your complaint here, your boarding pass as well as your direct expenses (meals, drinks, hotel,…). Nevertheless, let us point out that you’ll have to contact the agency located in the country where the incident actually happened.

European Consumer Centre (ECC)

There is a EU-wide network of European Consumer Centers (ECC-Net) which provide free of charge help and advice in settling your complaint in case you’re not satisfied with the way the airline company solved your claims. These centers are supported both by the European Commission and the national governments, as well.

Norway and Iceland are also included here and you can find your center by clicking here. The centers will help you if you were faced with DIFFICULTIES in having your rights observed such as not having received the fair amount of financial compensation.

There are several case studies of how consumers have been helped by the network of European Consumer Centers with their problems concerning air travel. One of them refers to an Irish passenger whose luggage was lost while travelling with the airline.

Despite the fact that the consumer filled in a relevant form at the airport and communicated the problem in writing directly to the airline baggage department, the carrier did not bother to offer any assistance or at least send the petitioner an answer to that particular complaint.

However, after the intervention by ECC Ireland and ECC France the airline finally agreed to pay €400 compensation to the passenger.


The EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre is a LOCAL SERVICE that may be contacted by phone or the Internet and provides information that addresses specific local issues. It is one of the best sources of information at European level – you’ll receive updated information with regard to your rights and what steps to take in order to solve your problems.

Overall, that’s what they can do to help you. They won’t be able to file or forward complaints but they will direct you to the relevant office and assist you in writing your complaint… which may probably be exactly what you really need.

All in all, let us just say that if you make the right noises, you’re more likely to get what you’re worthy of.