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I have been researching this for some time now, but can't seem to find a definite answer to my worries.

In May '15 I booked a ticket through a travel agent for the trip: Rio de Janeiro-->Madrid, Madrid-->Copenhagen (in February '16). Both flights are with IBERIA/IBERIA EXPRESS. In September '15 I got an email from IBERIA that the departure of my connecting flight from Madrid to Copenhagen had been changed to the next day, which gives me a layover time of about 25 hours in Madrid.

What are my rights? Can I make them pay a hotel, can I get a refund, can I make them pay another connecting flight?

  • 2
    Have you tried contacting the airline to see what your options are? – TravelLikeBeaker Dec 23 '15 at 14:50
  • 4
    Did you check the EU website on air passenger rights? How long in advance was your flight cancelled? – Relaxed Dec 23 '15 at 15:08
  • 1
    See also travel.stackexchange.com/questions/17723/… – Relaxed Dec 24 '15 at 0:45
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    Two small remarks: Usually it's either a refund or something else (hotel + other flight + …) If you do accept a refund, you might waive your rights to any other type of assistance. Also, in many cases airlines do have to carry you to the agreed destination but not necessarily to put you on the next available flight by a competitor or through a route that's convenient to you. So if they decide that a flight the next day and a hotel room (plus whatever other compensation you might be entitled to) is cheaper than paying a ticket on another airline, they can do that. – Relaxed Dec 24 '15 at 0:52
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    we had similar changes happen several times, and each time after calling the airline, they gladly rebooked us to a different (good) connection for free. It seems that those rebookings are done automatically by a dumb program when a flight changes, and you just have to talk to some one to get it adjusted. – Aganju Dec 24 '15 at 3:17
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A flight changed to the next day is essentially the same as a long delay/cancellation as far as EU air passenger rights are concerned. But if you have been informed more than two weeks before departure, you only have a choice between going through with the alternative flights they are offering and cancelling your booking (in which case you would get your money back – even for a non-refundable fare – but they obviously would not have to transport you and you would have to make alternative plans yourself).

Financial compensation and additional support only apply if you are delayed on short notice (and especially if you are already en-route and, say, stuck at your layover point). If that's the case, under EU rules, the airline should both make sure you reach your destination, provide food and board as applicable and pay you some money for the delay (it's not even a refund, it might very well be higher than what you paid for your ticket - I have seen that with EasyJet for example).

Finally, even if you are not legally entitled to anything, it cannot hurt to ask. You might get something as a courtesy (perhaps more likely if you are a frequent flyer or travel in a premium class?) and at least one airline offers a complimentary hotel night or a tour of their hub city under some condition as a matter of course, even if there was no delay (see 12 hour stopover in Istanbul (Atatürk)).

  • Note that though they may not be legally required to do so, the airline might help you out. I've heard of airlines (I thought it was Iberia, but I can't find the information on their website right now) having policies where they will cover a hotel stay for your layover if there are no departing flights to your destination within 24 hours of your arrival and you take the earliest one available. – Daniel Dec 23 '15 at 20:12
  • Never mind, it was Turkish Airlines and it only has to be a 10-hour layover – Daniel Dec 23 '15 at 20:21
  • @Daniel Turkish Airlines has great offers to encourage people to fly through Istanbul but that's for everybody, not only people whose original flight was cancelled. – Relaxed Dec 23 '15 at 20:57
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    Right. My point is that airlines might be willing to work with you even if not legally obligated to do so. Couldn't hurt to call and ask if they'd put you up in a hotel for the night. – Daniel Dec 23 '15 at 20:59
  • @Daniel Good point, I added some details and a link to a previous question about this. – Relaxed Dec 24 '15 at 0:47

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