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Similar to: Flight itinerary/time/date change

I had scheduled a flight (Air Serbia), and purchased it through a 3rd party company (Orbitz).

After the hassle-free 24 hour cancellation period had past, I got an email telling me the flight had been pushed back an entire day. This won't work for me since I have connecting plans at the destination and don't want to cancel a number of things.

The flight is between to EU countries, but Serbia itself is not a EU country, so I am not sure if/how the EU Air Passenger rights apply.

I am looking to get a full refund and buying another ticket, but every time I get through to the third-party company, they tell me they don't have a prior agreement and all they can do is reach out to Air Serbia asking for a refund. They tell me it will take X time, and I will get an updated status email when it is confirmed. I have done this twice, waiting longer than X time, to no response.

Am I entitled to a full refund (given its an EU flight)? If so, am I supposed to go through the third-party I bought it from, or do I need to go directly to the airline?

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  • 1
    What countries were you flying between? EU261 applies if the flight or arrives in the EU and is operated by an EU airline, or if it is within the EU or departs from the EU regardless of airline.
    – choster
    Jun 8 at 17:34
  • 1
    @choster The flight is from Athens to Rome, but has a single connection in Belgrade.
    – Heathcliff
    Jun 8 at 18:30
  • 1
    How far in advance of the departure was the change made? Days? Weeks? Months?
    – Moo
    Jun 10 at 18:39
  • @Moo Multiple months in advance. And the change was made only like a week after the reservation was made, so there are still months to go.
    – Heathcliff
    Jun 10 at 20:21
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+100

Ok, so lets establish some facts here.

  1. The ticket was purchased via Orbitz - this is the ticketing agent.
  2. The flights are operated by Air Serbia, and the journey starts within the EU (Athens), has one connection outside the EU, and ends within the EU (Rome).
  3. The original flight was pushed back by a full day - this would be classed as a cancellation and rebooking under EU261 rules due to the nature of the change.
  4. The adjustment to the booking was made more than 14 days before the journey start date.

So, what does this mean for you?

Firstly, the trip is covered under EU261 rules - the journey starts within the EU, this is enough to cover at least the Athens-Belgrade segment of the trip (and if the entire trip is covered on the single ticket, then the entire trip is covered).

Secondly, because the change was made more than 14 days ahead of the start of the journey, you are not due compensation under EU261.

Thirdly, because of the nature of the change, under EU261 you are entitled to a choice between reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking.

And finally, who needs to fulfil your rights under EU261? The operating airline (item 7 in the preamble) - in your case, this is Air Serbia. EU261 regulations do not deal with ticketing agents, they place all obligations on the operating airline - if the airline adjusts the schedule, cancels the flight, delays the flight or causes you to arrive at your destination more than a set number of hours late, then the airline is obligated to fulfil your rights under EU261.

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