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This came up in Athens airport 1-hour connection at normal walking speed and I must admit I do not know the answer. So we have a flight coming from outside Schengen and has a very tight connection to an intra Schengen flight. What if the border check is slow and you are late because of that? Or, what if you are made to go through security again for whatever reason (if I remember correctly, UK always does, and there was that time when I landed in Amsterdam coming from Budapest and we were made to go through security because Budapest security sucked even more than usual so they were under censure) and you are late because of that? Does the flight compensation "fire" only when the airline is late or also when the airport makes you late?

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    In my experience (earlier this month), Athens airport border controls are slow, but if you have a short connection an airline employee will escort you to the front of the line. – phoog Aug 26 at 2:52
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    Are you looking for monetary compensation or that airline will transport you to destination (without additional expenses). – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 26 at 9:57
  • Monetary compensation. – chx Aug 26 at 10:00
  • If an An airline that schedules a 1 hour connection thru customs/immigration, they oughta be responsible when it blows up. – Harper Aug 26 at 16:59
  • @Harper And almost without fail, they will be responsible for getting you to your destination. However expecting them to pay for compensation due to something that is no fault of their own makes no sense - and that is the question being asked here. – Doc Aug 27 at 5:48
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EU261 does NOT apply in situations like this.

From the regulation itself, EU261 covers :

  1. This Regulation establishes, under the conditions specified herein, minimum rights for passengers when:

(a) they are denied boarding against their will;

(b) their flight is cancelled;

(c) their flight is delayed.

Very clearly none of those cover things like Border delays.

There is however a gray area here - what happens if your flight was delayed, AND there were delays at the border, and the combination of these two factors cause you to miss a connection. This situation is not well covered by the legislation, and normally airlines will state that it would not be covered unless the inbound delay was sufficient to cause you to miss the connection on it's own.

  • There's also the extraordinary circumstances exclusion, I'm betting the airlines invoke it as default: claimcompass.eu/blog/extraordinary-circumstances – Ohad Schneider Aug 26 at 9:02
  • @OhadSchneider that site is not official, do not rely on any paid service giving you reliable information. – chx Aug 26 at 9:49
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    Re the gray area - if the first flight landed within the two/three/hour window specified, the regulation does not care if you are held up on the ground and miss a connecting flight - unless the second flight was booked jointly as a connecting flight (cd. "final destination" means the destination on the ticket presented at the check-in counter or, in the case of directly connecting flights, the destination of the last flight; alternative connecting flights available shall not be taken into account if the original planned arrival time is respected) – Hagen von Eitzen Aug 26 at 11:55
  • @chx That was just an anecdotal link - we don't need any site, official or not, to tell us that airline carriers will do whatever they can to avoid compensating us. The regulation states "Air carriers should compensate passengers if they fail to do this, except when the cancellation occurs in extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken" and I'm betting the carriers will take us to court almost every time to argue about what was "reasonable" to do. – Ohad Schneider Aug 26 at 22:22

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