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Right to Care (from TAP)

If you have to wait at the airport, you have a right to care.

In most cases, this means free food and free hotel accommodation.

As a passenger waiting at the airport due to a delay, cancellation, or last-minute change on your TAP flight, you are entitled to receive certain services from TAP. This includes a complimentary meal and drinks if your wait time exceeds 3 hours. Moreover, in case of an overnight delay, TAP should provide you with a free hotel stay and free hotel transfers. So, if you ever find yourself stranded at the airport, know that you have a right to care from TAP.

Right to Care From TAP

As per EU laws (i.e. Regulation (EC) No 261/2004), European air passengers are entitled to legal protection and have the right to receive care while traveling within Europe or with European airlines. It’s worth mentioning that TAP provides this care for most of its flights to and from the European Union.

So, if your flight is delayed, cancelled or overbooked, and you are stuck at the airport as a result, you have a right to care.

Short Delays (3+ Hours)

You can get: free food and beverages.

In the event of a flight delay lasting 3 hours or more that takes place during daylight hours, TAP Air Portugal is obligated to offer complimentary meals and beverages. Additionally, they must provide two methods of free communication, such as phone calls, emails, or faxes. Typically, these services will be provided in the form of coupons.

Long Delays (Overnight)

You can get: free food and beverages + free hotel stay and airport transfer.

If your flight has been delayed or cancelled, and is rescheduled to depart the following day, TAP is required to provide you with complimentary accommodation and transfer services. If you have not received information about these arrangements, we urge you to contact TAP immediately.

How to Get Free Food and Free Hotel Accommodation?

During a lengthy delay at the airport, TAP should offer you services such as complimentary meals, hotel accommodation, and airport transfers without your asking for them. These should be made available to you while you wait.

If you do not receive these services, it would be important to contact the TAP customer service desk and inquire about them. The airline is legally bound to provide these services free of cost for delays that qualify under the European flight compensation regulation.

In the unlikely situation that the airline does not organize these services for you, you would need to make the arrangements yourself. Retain all the receipts and proof of payment related to food, drinks, transfer, and hotel stays. You can then submit a claim for reimbursement to TAP, documenting your expenses during the delay. Make sure you provide all the necessary details to expedite the reimbursement process.

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Extraordinary Circumstances

First, we need to understand the term.

What Are Extraordinary Circumstances?

Extraordinary circumstances are events beyond the control of the airline.

These events could be severe weather conditions, strikes not related to the airline, security threats, political unrest, or unforeseen technical difficulties that jeopardize the safety of the flight. Such circumstances, though inconvenient, exempt the airline from offering compensation under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004. However, the right to care still stands.

Are Technical Problems Considered Extraordinary Circumstances?

Under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, technical issues are usually not classified as extraordinary circumstances. The regulation asserts that normal operational issues like regular maintenance or minor repairs are not extraordinary as these are within the airline’s control.

These tasks are part of the airline’s regular duties and, therefore, cannot be used as a reason to exempt from offering compensation or care to passengers.

However, if the issue is a hidden manufacturing fault that poses a safety risk to the flight, it may be considered extraordinary. Such situations are infrequent, pose an immediate threat to the safe operation of the aircraft, and do not fall under the airline’s regular technical operations.

Right to Care in Extraordinary Circumstances

Even during extraordinary circumstances, passengers retain their right to care.

While TAP may not be required to offer compensation for delays or cancellations that occur due to events beyond their control, they must still provide for your comfort during the waiting period. This includes food, refreshments, and in cases of substantial delays, accommodation.

This obligation also extends to providing an alternate mode of transportation if the flight is cancelled – you are entitled to it (to new flight).

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Right to Care: FAQ

In this section, we will address some of the most commonly asked questions about passengers’ right to care during flight delays and cancellations with TAP Air Portugal.

What Is the Right to Care?

The right to care refers to the obligations TAP Air Portugal has towards their passengers in case of flight delays, overbooking and flight cancellations.

Under European law, airlines are required to ensure passengers’ comfort during these circumstances, which includes providing free meals, refreshments, and accommodation in the case of significant delays.

How Do I Get My “Right to Care” If My Flight Is Delayed?

If your flight is delayed by 3 hours or more, TAP should automatically provide you with amenities such as free meals and refreshments, and necessary accommodation in the case of overnight delays.

If these services are not offered, approach the TAP customer service counter at the airport to inquire about them. Alternatively, you can personally cover the cost of the services and then file a claim for reimbursement at a later time. The sooner you do the latter, the better.

Do I Have the Right to Care If My Flight Is Cancelled?

Yes, if your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to the right to care.

This means TAP is required to provide you with meals, refreshments, and accommodation (if necessary), as well as an alternative method of transportation to your destination. If the cancellation is due to the airline’s fault, you also have a right to flight cancellation compensation.

Are Extraordinary Circumstances an Exception to the Right to Care?

No, even in the event of extraordinary circumstances, which are situations beyond the control of the airline, the right to care still applies.

This means that even if your flight is delayed or cancelled due to severe weather conditions, security risks, or labor strikes, you are still entitled to free meals, refreshments, and accommodation (if necessary). Take into account that airline staff strikes aren’t considered extraordinary circumstances.

How Do I Request Reimbursement If I Had to Arrange for My Accommodation and Meals?

If you had to arrange for your meals, accommodation, or airport transfers due to TAP’s failure to do so, keep all receipts and proof of purchase. You can submit these, along with a detailed account of your expenses during the delay, to TAP for reimbursement.

Please note that this policy only applies to essential expenses, not anything else. Don’t expect to spend large sums on extravagant meals and get reimbursement from the airline.

Does the Right to Care Apply to All TAP Flights?

The right to care applies to all TAP Air Portugal flights to and from Europe.

Since TAP is an EU airline, the right to care under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 applies to all of its flights both departing from and arriving in Europe. However, it’s crucial to note that with non-European airlines, this regulation only applies to flights that are departing from Europe. Flights on non-European airlines that are arriving in Europe from other parts of the world are not covered under this European law.

Does All Of This Apply Only to Europeans?

No, the right to care applies to all passengers on TAP flights regardless of their nationality.

The laws that give passengers the right to care are Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and Regulation UK261, which were created by the European Union and UK government. These regulations state that any airline operating in Europe must provide care and compensation for affected passengers when applicable. This means that the right to care applies to all passengers on TAP flights, regardless of their nationality.

The only exception is in the case of non-European airlines, where this regulation applies only to flights departing from Europe and not those arriving in Europe from other parts of the world.

By Europe and EU here on this page (and on this website in general) 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.

Featured photo by Pixabay from Pexels