You get your €250-€600 in compensation from the airline.
But what about your child? Can your baby get a compensation too?
Regulation (EC) 261/2004 and Babies
Infants are not explicitly mentioned in Regulation 261/2004.
Only Article 3(3) implicitly refers to the rights of infants. It mentions "passengers flying for free or on reduced fares not directly or indirectly available to the public".
This article states that such passengers are not entitled to compensation. Does it mean that your baby isn't entitled to compensation?
Well, it's more complicated than that.
My baby was traveling free of charge
When you're flying with your baby, you do not have to pay full price for your infant's ticket.
It is possible for your baby to travel without paying a fee.
However, in such cases, where your baby traveled free of charge, there is no hope for compensation should your trip be disrupted and your plane arrive over 3 hours late at your final destination.
Here's an example of ruling to illustrate this:
On March 17, 2015 the German Supreme Court (BGH) passed a judgment relating to an infant flying free of charge with the parents. As the flight was delayed for more than 6 hours at arrival a law suit was filed for compensation pursuant to Regulation 261/2004.
However, the claim failed to succeed and was dismissed in all instances because of Article 3 of the Regulation.
I paid an additional fee for my child
What if your child did not travel "for free", as you had to pay an additional booking fee?
This particular question has not yet been tested in the Court of Justice of the European Union, but there are a few national court cases that studied the matter.
They ruled that no compensation was to be paid for a ticketed lap child unless a fare has been paid for it and if such fare was available to the public.
The critical element to know if your baby is entitled to compensation is the amount of the fee that you had to pay for your infant.
Two of the cases deal with Ryanair’s so called "administrative charge" for infants and whether this administrative charge constitutes an airline fare. In both cases, the parents had to pay a small charge of around 20 to 30€.
In both decisions, the County Court at Liverpool has held that infants carried in the arms of another passenger were not fare-paying passengers themselves, but had in fact traveled for free.
As a consequence, the infants were not eligible for the fixed compensation available to fare-paying passengers under the Regulation.
So, when is your baby entitled to compensation?
Given the reasoning of judges in a few national court cases, infants with no seat flying free of charge fall outside the scope of the Regulation and are not entitled to compensation.
In cases where airlines require a so called “administrative charge” to be paid for infants flying with no seat, then the level of charge needs to be assessed on case by case basis and compared with the applicable fares for non-infants.
If the charge is excessively high and comparable to the regular fares, the cases may be pursued and your baby could get a compensation. Do note that there is no guarantee for success.
The only case where your baby is guaranteed to be eligible to a compensation is if you pay an extra seat for him or her. On a side note, this allows you to bring a baby seat with you, which is something that improves the safety of your baby.
Final Words on Your Baby's Compensation Claim
Because the Regulation isn't explicit for compensation claim for a baby, each case has to be treated individually. When submitting your claim, make sure to include all proof that you had to pay an additional fee for your baby.
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