By train, by plane, by bus or by car, sometimes, things can go wrong. Do not panic! Whatever your mode of transport, Europe is taking care of your rights as a passenger. Here are a few pieces of advices to stay cool during your holidays.
You are travelling by train:
What can you take?
According to train services (SNCF, Eurostar, Thalys, Elipsos, IDTGV, Thello…), the type and numbers of luggage authorised can vary. You must consult the « conditions générales de transport » of the company you are using as well as the list of forbidden products.
You can take your bike, either for free if it is disassembled and in a special casing with maximum size of 120 x 90 cm, or by booking a special place for it (extra cost). You can also, if you take the TGV and intercity train, use a service called « Bagages à domicile » which delivers your bike to your destination.
You never go anywhere without your cat or dog ? You can take it along if you respect certain rules (identification, vaccins, passport européen…) and by buying a train ticket for « animal de compagnie ». Be careful, certain European countries have strict policies in regards to pets. Guided dog travel for free.
Late or cancelled… what to do ?
If you travel in France or the European Union and that your train in cancelled or late, first obligation: They must have informed you! If it is late by more than one hour, you can choose:
- Either you cancel your trip and ask for reimbursement (including the return if you booked a return ticket)
- Either you carry on your trip with the initial train or another train at no extra cost.
If the train arrives more than one hour late, you can get reimbursed between 25 and 75% of the price of the ticket depending on what type of train (TGV, Intercités, IDTGV, Oui go, Eurostar…) and how late it was. On certain trains, like the TGV, Intercités, trains SNCF doing international trip and Thalys, a reimbursement can be done from 30 minutes late.
If more than one hour late, you can also have some freebies: refreshment, food and lodging if necessary.
Your luggage has been lost or stolen?
Think to label your luggage. To find lost luggage, SNCF has a e-Tiquette web page.
By train, luggage is your responsibility, even if you leave them in the special luggage part at the end of the compartment.
You are travelling by plane:
First advice: Turn up before the departure time !!: at least one-hour prior for an internal flight, 2 to 3 hours prior for long flight as controls and procedures are lengthier in summer.
Att: the size and weight of the luggage are limited. Certain objects or products are forbidden.
Make sure your passport and VISA conform to the requirement of the country you are travelling to.
Overbooking is authorised
The flight company can refuse to embark you following an overbooking. They will ask for volunteers who will accept to travel later on in exchange to some compensation.
If nobody volunteers and you are asked not to embark, you get the same rights as per a cancellation.
In case of cancellation
You have special rights:
- The reimbursement of your flight within 7 days
- Or you can take another flight in the same conditions. The company must therefore reimburse you all the cost of food, communications, or even hotel fare and transport from airport to hotel. Make sure you keep all the invoices of those cost.
In both cases, you are entitled to a compensation:
- 250€ for flights less than 1.500 km (125€ if late < 2h)
- 400€ for flights between 1500 and 3.500 km (200€ if late < 3h)
- 400€ for flight above 3.500 km inside the EU (200€ if late < 4h)
- 600€ for flights above 3.500 km between the EU and a country outside the EU (300€ if late < 4h)
If you purchase your trip with certain credit cards (Visa Premier, Gold Mastercard…), you can also benefit some cancellation insurance under certain conditions.
If your plane is late?
Unless certain unforeseen circumstances (weather conditions, security risk or strike), if your plane is late more than 3 hours, you have the same rights as per a cancellation in terms of compensation.
Loss, broken or late luggage during a flight: what to do?
You can get compensation up to 1.330 €. You must be fast to make a declaration
- If your luggage is damaged, within 7 days of receiving your luggage.
- If your luggage is late, within 21 days. If you have purchased some products you could not do without, you can ask for them to be reimbursed (keep invoices).
- If your luggage has been lost forever, you can ask for the reimbursement. If you have not kept the invoices of all the content (who has !!) they can reimburse you using the weight of the luggage (around 20€ per kg).
To learn more check ruling Number (CE) n°261/2004.
You travel by bus
Turn up 30 minutes before departure. Think to label your luggage. Be careful : During change of buses, connections or customs checks, the luggage is your responsibility.
In case of cancellation, overbooking or delay of more than 2 hours, the company must propose you:
- The continuation of your journey under the same condition and best delay possible.
- The reimbursement of the ticket within 14 days
Furthermore, in case of cancellation or delay of more than 90 minutes for a trip of more than 3 hours, the company must offer you:
- Some refreshments or meals as long as they are easily accessible
- Accommodation as well as transport to get to it and back if necessary.
Delay is only for departure, not arrival.
Your luggage is damaged or lost due to an accident?
Inform the company (registered letter alongside the bus ticket). The maximum amount cannot exceed 1.200€ per luggage.
To learn more check ruling UE n°181/2011
You are travelling by boat or ferry
If you embark with your vehicle, check the size limit (don’t forget the luggage on top of roof). Turn up:
- Between 30 and 60 minutes before departure if you are travelling on foot
- At least 1h30 before (2h in summer) if you take your car
Certain pets are admitted under certain conditions and with proper paperwork.
In case of delay or cancellation of more than 1h30, the company must offer you:
- The reimbursement of your ticket
Another trip under the same condition and price as soon as possible.
In most cases, you can also get a meal and some drinks (depending on the delay) and an accommodation if necessary (limited to 3 nights and 80€/night).
If the boat/ferry is late by more than 1h on arrival, you can get a compensation between 25% to 50% of the cost of the ticket depending on the length of the delay and trip.
You cannot get any compensation if the delay is due to extreme weather conditions or natural catastrophies.
What to do in case of lost luggage?
The company is responsible for damages that happened during the trip:
- For luggage in cabins: If it is the fault of the company. If the boat sink, it is presumed to be the fault of the company.
- For other luggage unless they can prove it is not their fault.
In any case, the compensation is limited to 2.800€ per passenger and for transport for luggage in the cabin; around 16.000€ per vehicle and for transport of luggage inside the vehicles; for all others, around 4.300€ per passenger and per transport..
To learn more check ruling number (CE) n° 1177/2010
You are travelling by car
If you are travelling by car inside the EU, you can download the App « À l’étranger » which will give you the road security rulings of all other countries inside the EU. Make sure you have a European accident statement in your car.
What to check when you are renting a car?
Make sure you read the contract before you sign, especially the conditions regarding the insurance (excess, is it fully comprehensive, breakdown cover, etc).
Be careful, most companies do not include protection for the driver so check that it is included in case of accident due to you.
Make sure you have unlimited km and that you are allowed to leave the country (if you need to). And check headlight conform to country.
The model that you booked is not available? The company has to propose you a model above the one you chose at no extra cost. If it is a lower model, the cost must be lower. If no model is satisfying, you can refuse and cancel the booking.
On return, they can be trouble. Try first to negotiate an amicable solution. If no response, you can send a registered letter with copies of contract, proofs and photos to get reimbursed the amount you think you should not have been charged.
For further advise contact the Centre Européen des Consommateurs France.
Want to travel differently?
You can rent a camping car to individuals using Wikicampers.
Wikicampers put you in touch with owners of camping cars who want to rent them out. There is also a blog full of advice, destination and news
Allianz insures all risk all the rental agreement between owners and individual of Wikicampers.
Whatever your mode of transport, read your guaranties and insurances before you go anywhere as well as exclusions, especially if you go by car. Check that your destination is listed on your green card (at the back-see photo) and make sure you have the breakdown number on you.
3 apps to travel safe !
- You can download Mon Allianz Mobile to have information regarding your insurance contracts
- Also, ECC-Net Travel, is a free app for the european center of consumers.
- And finally Allianz Safe Home which informs you if your house has burn down or been burgled.
Create your DMP by going online to: https://www.dmp.fr/
The Dossier Médical Partagé (DMP) is a numerical medical booklet which can be used by medical professional anywhere in France. They can then view what treatment you are on, allergies, what recent exams you had, etc. It is totally secured and very usufull if you have an accident or some medical issues while travelling in France. It entitles them to treat you quicker and better.
Contact us !
In order to discuss and meet your need as best as possible, feel free to contact us with a mail, phone call... We can also schedule a meeting in one of our four agencies... Or directly to your home !