Flight delays, cancellations and unaccompanied minors

There have been numerous flight delays at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and I have received feedback that the on-the-ground support for passengers has been tepid and somewhat lacking.

It seems that in recent weeks, passengers are not aware of their EU Air Passenger Rights in the event of lengthy flight delays or cancellations.

I have enquired about this with some of the airlines including a major low-cost carrier and they ensure me that all of their staff at Nice are aware of current regulations and trained – the reality is that passengers have told me that staff for various airlines are unwilling to answer queries, passengers have been left without meal vouchers and frustrations have been high.

delays nice airport

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport needs to be more consistent with information for passengers in the event of delays and cancellations

EU Air Passenger Rights

For passengers who have flights that are delayed or cancelled leaving from Nice Airport, you may be entitled to compensation and assistance under EU Air Passenger Rights.

EU Air Passenger Rights  set out guidelines for airlines – if you were denied boarding, your flight was cancelled, you experienced a delay of more than 2 hours at departure or you arrive with a long delay at your final destination, the operating air carrier must give you a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance.

eu passenger rights

EU Passenger Rights (European Commision / Europa EU)

To check if EU Air Passenger Rights apply in your case, you can find out here: http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm

There are also specific passenger rights for certain groups; you can read a previous blog post I wrote about EU Air Passenger Rights for musicians flying with instruments or people with reduced mobility.

For EasyJet flight delays and cancellations from Nice Airport, they advise passengers to please refer to the conditions set out on their website.  The guidelines are found under the ‘Help’ menu – ‘Boarding and Flying’ – ‘Delays and cancellations’.   It would be more beneficial to have a more visible menu for them such as ‘Flight delays and cancellations’ to make it quick and easy for passengers to find the information.  Regardless, if you need to review what Easyjet’s compensation policy is you can read it here:   https://www.easyjet.com/en/help/boarding-and-flying/delays-and-cancellations  and the EasyJet Claim Form is here EasyjetClaimFormEU261

For EasyJet refunds for cancelled flights, you can contact their Customer Service number, the best one is 0044 330 365 5454.  (The other line is +44 (0) 330 365 5000).

It’s important to note for flight delays and cancellations, that both the outbound and return flights are considered as two separate flights even if they were booked as part of one reservation.  In some cases the airline operating the flight may not be the same as the one from which you bought your ticket. In case of any difficulties only the airline which operates the flight can be held responsible.

Family travel

Airlines have regulations concerning children who are flying out of France with one or without both of their parents.  Many airlines have services to accompany unaccompanied children, such as Air France’s Kids Solo service.  The rules apply to residents in France, regardless of nationality.

There seems to be a lot of confusion among parents I have spoken to on the French Riviera who are unsure of the official regulations from France if the travelling child/ren and parents surnames differ, if one of the parents is not accompanying the child on the flight or if the child is flying solo (unaccompanied).

It’s important that you check the rules of each individual carrier to ensure you follow their necessary paperwork and procedures.

Interestingly, staff at Nice Airport have varying knowledge on the regulations so you are best to take as many pieces of evidence with you to check-in.

Parent & child with different surnames OR travelling with one parent only

If you are a parent and your child has a different surname, you must provide a letter of authorisation from the other parent giving permission for you to travel with the child out of France.

The travel authorisation is evidence to show that both guardians know and agree to allow a minor to leave the country, and is presented at the departure point, not the arrival point.

nice airport

Flying over the French Riviera (image: A Borchio)

As well as the travel authority letter, you should take a photocopy of the children’s birth certificate proving the names of both parents and if possible a photocopy of photo I.D for the absent parent who is not flying.

It is useful to also take a travel authorisation form if you have the SAME surnames but again the other parent is not travelling.

For a sample travel authorisation form, you can email me for a FREE template at accessriviera06@gmail.com

Unaccompanied minors from France

By law from January 2017, if your child is travelling with neither parent – therefore solo as an unaccompanied minor – you must fill in an ‘Authorisation de sortie du territoire (AST)’ .

The official form is also known as an authorization form Cerfa 15646*01, and is required for every unaccompanied resident minor departing France.  You must fill in one form per UMNR  and it must be accompanied with photo I.D. from parents.

The download and rules for the AST form are found here Authorisation de sortie du territoire / Cerfa 15646*01

Personal Note:  A few years ago a flight I took was delayed at London Heathrow and if I hadn’t been aware of my EU Passenger Rights I’m sure I wouldn’t have been confident enough to question the lack of support at Heathrow airport for 300+ passengers and get passengers meal vouchers after an extremely long wait with no information.  I have also been delayed with my eldest son for 3+ hours on the tarmac in Lyon – not a fun experience with kids – so bear in mind what your rights are.

DisclaimerThis post is for information purposes only and is subject to change at any time.  In each instance, please verify current regulations and rules with your operating airline at the time of need.


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