Serbian Air Passenger Rights Regulation

The alignment of Serbia’s regulatory framework with EU standards has brought about significant changes in the country's aviation industry, particularly in the domain of air passenger rights. Law on Obligations and the Basics of Property Relations in Air Transport (hereafter the Law) has become a key component in ensuring the fair treatment and protection of air travelers within the EU zone.

Understanding the Right to Compensation Under Serbian Air Passenger Regulation

All airlines travelling from the EU zone (including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and the UK) are obliged to provide certain rights to their passengers under EC Regulation 261 and Regulation UK-261 in cases of flight cancellations, delays or denied boardings.

However, EC261 and UK261 don't apply to the flights which depart from Serbia. And for such flights, the Serbian Air Passenger Regulation takes effect.

Here's what you need to know about who is covered under Law on Obligations and the Basics of Property Relations in Air Transport:

  • Core Principle: Your flight must either depart from a Serbian airport or be arriving at a Serbian airport from another location.
  • Expanding Coverage with ECAA Agreement: The rights also extend to flights departing from airports in these countries, which are part of the ECAA Agreement:
    • Albania
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • North Macedonia
    • Kosovo
    • Montenegro

Important Note: If you're flying from a country outside the ECAA area to Serbia, you can still claim compensation if the airline operating the flight is based in one of the ECAA signatory countries.

It is important to remember the following points:

  • Serbian regulations offer protection for common flight disruptions.
  • Your eligibility is determined by where your flight begins or ends.
  • The ECAA Agreement expands coverage to several neighboring countries.

According to Serbian Regulation, when you file a flight delay compensation or a flight cancellation refund, you are entitled to get the following:

  • €250 will be converted into RSD for a distance of up to 1500 km
  • €400, converted in RSD, for intra-ECAA flights flying up to 1500 km and other international flights travelling between 1500-3500 km.
  • €600, to be altered in RSD, for all flights flying beyond 3500 km.

The distance travelled by the carriers is determined based on the final destination for which the flights got delayed or cancelled or you were denied boarding, leading to arrivals later than your scheduled time.

When passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination on an alternative flight in accordance with Article 13 of this Law, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked by:

  • Two hours, in respect of all flights of 1500 kilometers or less;
  • three hours, in respect of all intra-ECAA Area flights of more than 1500 kilometers and all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers;
  • four hours in respect of all flights not falling under points above.

The airlines will pay for your flight delay compensation and flight cancellation refund using cash, electronic bank transfer, bank orders or cheques, or with signed agreements of passengers in vouchers or similar services.

Flight Delay Compensation

If your flight is flying to and from Serbia and the airline expects a delay in the time of scheduled departure for:

  • Two hours or more for flights travelling up to 1500 km
  • Three hours for all intra-ECAA flights between 1500-3500 km
  • Four hours or more for all flights and other intra-ECAA flights

The airline service provider must offer you the following:

  • Meals and refreshments proportionate to the time you wait, without any charge
  • Free of cost, two telephone calls, facsimile, telex, or emails

Additionally, if the expected take-off time goes beyond one day's time of original departure, the airline will also offer you the following:

  • Hotel accommodation for one or more nights, as required, is free of cost. You can extend the stay if necessary.
  • Transportation from the airport to the place of accommodation can be made and returned without any charge.
  • Note that in any event of a delay, irrespective of the cause, airlines must offer assistance within the above limits and protect your rights.
Flight Cancellation Compensation

Suppose your flight with any airline with a confirmed reservation gets cancelled. In that case, the authorities must offer you a choice between a refund, re-routing, or an alternate flight, as per the guidelines stated in Serbian Air Passenger Rights Regulation.

Additionally, same law says if you opt for reimbursement, you will get your refund for the full cost of your ticket within seven days for the travel uncovered or if the alternate flight fails to align with your plans.

If you choose to go for re-routing, airlines must help you reach your destination as soon as possible by providing you with an alternative flight or other comparable transportation facilities on any date convenient. If your destination has more than one airport, carrier services will look for flights for those airports and transfer your booking free of charge, according to Right to Reimbursement or Re-routing under Serbian Air Passenger Rights Regulation.

In addition to the above, airlines should also provide you with the benefits mentioned in Serbian Air Passenger Rights Regulation.

  • Complementary benefits include free-of-charge refreshments and meals depending on your waiting time and two telephone calls, telex, fax, and emails.
  • Free hotel accommodation if the re-routing flight is on the day after the cancellation or stay additional to the duration if necessary.
  • Free conveyance from the airport to the accommodation and return.

Besides, you will get compensation in the following manner:

Notification Announcement of Alternative Flight Compensation Applicable
Before seven days in advance Departs before one hour or Arrives later than two hours Yes
7-14 days in advance Departs before two hours or Arrives later than four hours Yes
Prior to 14 days - Yes

There are several exceptions to flight delay compensation. The airlines have the right to deny your claim if:

  • They notified the cancellation two weeks before the scheduled departure time.
  • You were informed of the change in schedule between two weeks and seven days before your date of travel and were also offered an alternative flight that reached you at a time similar to the original carrier.
  • They notified you of the flight cancellation seven days before your departure and offered a re-routing to help you depart more than an hour before the scheduled time or no later than two hours after your original arrival time.
  • Airline company has already proved that the cause of cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances and was unavoidable despite all reasonable measures being taken.
Obligation to inform the passengers of their rights

According to Serbian Air Passenger Rights Regulation, the operating air carrier shall ensure that at check-in, a clearly legible notice containing the following text is displayed in a manner clearly visible to passengers: 'If you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least two hours, ask at the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance.'

An operating air carrier denying boarding or cancelling a flight shall provide each passenger affected with a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance in line with this Law. It should also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least two hours with an equivalent notice.

The contact details of the national designated body in front of which he can claim its rights shall also be given to the passenger in written form.