- If you booked a flight with layovers in a SINGLE RESERVATION (with a connection) When booking a flight with layovers in a single reservation, connecting from point “A” to point “C” with a layover at point “B,” such as Madrid-Paris-New York, it is considered a single flight, and the airline is obligated to transport you to your final destination, in this case, New York. In case of flight cancellation, whether at the departure or during the layover, the airline is required to take you to your final destination without additional cost, covering food and accommodation expenses and rearranging a later flight.
After this mandatory rearrangement, you have the right to claim compensation based on the flight distance (in this case, €600, as the canceled flight would be from Madrid to New York, a distance greater than 3,500 km). Besides compensation for the missed layover, you can claim not only the expenses you incurred if the airline fails to meet its obligations but also all the costs you would have had to bear and the damages suffered, such as hotel reservation cancellations at the destination, car rental costs, guided tours, etc. If the flight is not rearranged, you have the right to claim the cost of the new flight you have to purchase.
- If you booked your flights by making 2 separate reservations to connect them as layovers (without an actual connection) Sometimes, instead of making a single reservation with layovers, travel agencies or travelers themselves book flights separately, i.e., in separate reservations (without a direct connection). In this case, the first airline is responsible for transporting you from “A” to “B,” while the second airline handles the journey from “B” to “C.” If the first flight is canceled, the second airline has no obligation to take you to your final destination “C” because the contract of the first airline only concerns the journey from “A” to “B.” As a result, the second reservation is lost, and the second airline is not obliged to offer a replacement flight.
You should also know that…
In case of a delay leading to the loss of the second flight, two situations may arise:
- If your first flight has a delay of more than 3 hours or is canceled, resulting in the loss of your layover (without an actual connection). If the first airline experiences a delay of more than 3 hours or cancels the flight, thus resulting in the loss of your second reservation, you have the right to claim compensation for the cancellation or delay of the flight from “A” to “B.” Additionally, you are entitled to compensation for damages, including the cost of the lost second reservation (or even the cost of the new reservation you make to go from “B” to “C”).
In other words, if you have two separate reservations, the first from Madrid to Paris and the second from Paris to New York, and you experience a delay of more than 3 hours or a cancellation on the first flight, you can claim €250 (in the case of the cancellation of a flight less than 1,500 km, such as from Madrid to Paris), along with the cost of the lost second reservation, in addition to the expenses and damages incurred.
- If the delay of your first flight is less than 3 hours and you miss your layover (without an actual connection)… In this situation, we face a problem because the first airline does not have enough delay to demand compensation or claim damages. Thus, we cannot claim compensation or damages from the first airline for missing the second reservation, and consequently, the second reservation is lost without any recourse.
In other words, for example, if your flight from Madrid to Paris has a delay of 2 hours but less than 3 hours, and you cannot take the second flight, you cannot claim compensation from the airline that took you to Paris because it did not violate the law providing for compensation of €250 to €600 for a delay of more than 3 hours. Since there was only a 2-hour delay. Additionally, the second airline, which was supposed to take you from Madrid to New York, is not responsible for the fact that you decided not to buy a combined ticket. For them, it is as if you did not show up.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended to systematically opt for a ticket including layovers.