Did you know that you have a right to compensation if your flight is cancelled, delayed or over booked in Europe? Flight delays can occur for a number of reasons, from a lack of available crew to mechanical problems. Compensation for delayed flights was established by European Regulation EC 261/04, guaranteeing up to €600 per passenger for flights delayed three hours or more.
Under which circumstances am I eligible to file a claim for delayed flight compensation?
Obviously an airline would prefer to avoid paying such a sum of money, as well as get bogged down by a lengthy, bureaucratic process. Airlines also wish to avoid a blow to their reputation. They therefore have several ways to evade paying:
•Delayed flight compensation claims can be avoided if an airline can prove the flight delay was caused by exceptional circumstances beyond the airline’s control.
•In many cases (but not all) a strike or extreme weather conditions occurred. What is considered an exceptional circumstance is stipulated by each country’s legal system.
You are eligible to claim compensation for delayed flights when you had to wait on your flight for more than three hours! This happens a lot more frequently than one might assume.
It’s important to know a few basic facts:
As mentioned above, airlines can avoid paying delayed flight compensation under certain circumstances. However, since 2004, legislation stipulates that airline compensation must be provided under certain conditions. If a flight is delayed and the airline cannot produce solid evidence to prove exceptional circumstances, it must compensate all affected passengers.
In the absence of exceptional circumstances, air passenger rights Regulation EU 261/2004 stipulates that compensation is due in the event of a flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding due to overbooking.
You’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower, strolled through Notre Dame, and hung out with Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Now what? There’s so much more to see and do in Paris beyond the must-see tourist stops, so here are some fun, off-the-itinerary places for you to discover on your next Parisian adventure.
Hidden Shops along The Palais Royal
After exploring The Louvre, you’ll find the Palais Royal and its lovely gardens opposite the museum. There you will also see an array of unique, luxury shops throughout the arcade that will give you a sense of what it must have been like to shop during Cardinal Richelieu’s time (he lived here in 1639). French glove manufacturer Fabre still has a shop here. Au Duc has an array of military medals. Another shop sells pipes, another sells music boxes, and La Maison de l’Ambre is a shop devoted exclusively to amber jewelry. Even if you aren’t in the market to buy a thing, you will have so much fun exploring.
La Promenade Plantée
Roughly translated as “The Green Walkway,” will give the City of Lights an entirely different perspective. It’s like the French version of the New York City High Line and is a three-mile-long elevated green space, built on top of an abandoned railway-line and surrounded by flowers and plants. At the end of the path you will find Jardin De Reuilly, a secret little garden that’s the perfect spot to have a picnic lunch. Visit the nearby tracks of La Petite Ceinture (“The Small Belt”) in the 11th arrondissement, which was a railway built in 1862 and then abandoned in 1934. It is now the home of wild flowers and colorful graffiti.
The Cemetery Tour
Yes, indeed, it is weird to seek out a cemetery on vacation, but this is Paris, where even that’s interesting and beautiful. The most famous is Pere Lachaise, which has been described as one of the most intriguing cemeteries in the world with trees and flowers along cobblestone pathways. Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde fans often make pilgrimages to see the songwriter’s and the author’s respective graves. Also, Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques is a 25-minute subway ride from central Paris and is one of the world’s oldest pet cemeteries. Old-time Hollywood’s most famous dog Rin Tin Tin has his final resting place here.
Parc de Belleville
There’s no better way to get a feel for the real Paris than to visit some of its oh-so-French neighborhoods. For example, Le Marais is one of Paris’ most fashionable areas and an LGBT hotspot with a mix of boulangeries, art galleries, boutiques, and Jewish restaurants. Belleville is a cosmopolitan neighborhood with Chinese supermarkets, Tunisian restaurants, African stores, and lots and lots of artists. Stop in and have a drink in Edith Piaf’s favorite hangout, Café Aux Folies.
The Salvador Dali Museum
Just when you think you’ve visited every museum the city has to offer, you must visit just one more. It can be discovered in the midst of the Montmartre’s street scene tucked away to the side of the Sacre Coeur. Espace Dali has about 300 original art works and is particularly devoted to the artist’s sculptures and engravings. Be sure to check out some of the sculptures of his iconic melting clocks. (Fun fact: The Spanish born surrealist spent a lot of time in Paris visiting his friend Pablo Picasso.)
Taking a Trip on Canal St. Martin
When your feet are begging for a break from all that walking, the perfect way to relax and see Paris from another point of view is to travel the canal that was created by Napoleon in 1802, in order to create an artificial waterway for supplying Paris with fresh water to help avoid diseases such as dysentery and cholera. Today traveling through its series of locks and bridges is a popular day trip for Parisians and tourists alike. Plus, there are some great restaurants and bars along the way.
Musée des Arts Forains
“The Museum of Fairground Arts” is a private collection of fair rides and memorabilia that dates as far back as 1850. Actor and antique dealer Jean Paul Favand has collected an array of amusement rides, fair stalls, merry-go-rounds, carousels, swings, and hundred-year-old bicycles. There’s also the well-known Parisian Waiter Race game, which you can play. It’s located in the Pavillons de Bercy in the 12th arrondissement but arrange an advance entrance ticket because you can’t simply arrive at the door and get in.
A Trip through the Metro’s Ghost Stations
The Paris metro system is more than a century old, so of course there’s more than a few ghosts hanging around on its sections of abandoned tracks. You can take a tour of these “Ghost Stations.” It’s not just some sort of spooky Halloween tour though. There’s a lot of history underground in Paris. The majority of these ghost stations were closed when France entered World War II in September 1939, and some have been closed ever since. Guided tours (you cannot do this alone) run only on occasion and are organized by the city’s rapid transit system, RATP.
The Weird World of Deyrolle
Deyrolle may be the only place in the world where you can see a poodle hanging out with a cheetah. They are both stuffed in this surreal taxidermy shop that’s been in existence since 1831. Located on Rue du Bac, it’s been described as the strangest shop in Paris because of its endless curiosities. From the mundane to the exotic, you will find it stuffed and displayed here. Some of the specimens are huge, too, like lions, tigers and bears…oh my!
The Historic Catacombs
Nearly six million Parisians are buried underground at the Catacombs, which is known as the world’s largest grave. In 1763, Louis XV issued an edict banning all burials from occurring inside the capital, so the solution was to go completely underground. The entrance can be found at Place Denfert-Rochereau, and there, the tunnels have existed since the 13th century and hold bones, some of which date back more than 1,200 years. Today about a mile of the underground is open to visitors who can take a guided or audio tour. If you visit, bring a jacket because it’s cold and a tad bit creepy under there.
In the age of online booking sites, using a travel agent may feel like going the way of the dinosaur. But agents are more useful than simply selling trips to Disney World and cruises. Many agents still provide services or have knowledge that you just can’t get online –and sometimes, especially in times of crisis, working with a real live person is just plain superior.
Here are 10 reasons why they're still useful:
1) They Are Educated and Have Personal Experience
Simply put, they know more than you. They can give you insider tips and advice, using their education and personal experience to guide your vacation decisions in a way that provides you with the best vacation possible for you and your hard-earned investment. They have access to the personal feedback from hundreds of clients, and their own personal travel agent network, to provide insights you can’t get on TripAdvisor or other social media sites.
2) They Have Clout
Many travel agents develop personal relationships with individuals at the companies they sell. They leverage these relationships to get you things you can’t get on your own. That “sold out” room or the connecting rooms you want for your extended family trip when the online sites say they aren’t available. They also have exclusive entrée to experiences you might not know are available to you.
3) The Fixer
In addition to getting you more on any particular trip, they can step in and fix things when your trip goes awry. The average consumer books one or two trips per year, typically with different travel suppliers, so they have little or no leverage when things go wrong. The travel agent is constantly selling a particular supplier and has the leverage to fix things, even when the supplier isn’t directly at fault. Travel suppliers value the travel agent’s business much more than any individual traveler. They will step up to make things right or simply to make sure that traveler, and their travel agent, are happy.
The best travel agents have unique access to benefits that can save you a lot of money and provide you with a better experience: free room upgrades, spa credits, food and beverage credits are just a few of the things that agents can get, that you can’t. Add in hard-to-get restaurant reservations, exclusive or priority access to attractions, added amenities, and you will have a lot more value for your travel dollar. (Ever wonder why the couple in the cabin next to yours got champagne and you didn't? They probably used a travel agent)
Instead of searching blindly on the Internet for hours, days, or even weeks – depending on the complexity of the travel plans – you can have an expert do the research for you, with your personal needs in mind. They do it for every component of the trip and very often do it at no cost to you.
6) Safety Net
If anything should go wrong during your trip, you can rely on them to assist you. A travel agent will suggest and arrange alternate travel arrangements, help you to deal with any travel emergency you may have, and put you in touch with the right local people to answer your needs.
7) On the Cutting Edge
They are on the cutting edge of what's new: Travel agents are the first to know about a new resort, cruise ship or tour. They have relationships with their best travel partners who keep them informed as to the latest and greatest offerings they have. So if you want to travel on the latest and greatest, agents are the way to go!
8) You Pay the Same Anyway!
More than 98 percent of hotels are parity priced. That means the cost is the same whether you book it yourself or have the travel agent do the work. Some travel agents even have websites that feature the same inventory, bookable in real time, as Expedia and Orbitz. The customer gets the best of the high tech world, in a high touch, environment. This parity pricing applies to virtually every travel product.
9) You Get Matched Right
If you call a cruise line directly, they won’t tell you that their competitor is a better fit for you and your travel needs. Since travel agents sell everything, they focus on you’re your particular needs, making sure you are matched up with the right.
10) An Ongoing Mutually Beneficial Relationship
A good agent is like a good mechanic. Once you find them, you’ll never want to give them up. Travel could be your biggest discretionary spend in any given year, along with your limited time, so you want to make sure it’s done right. When they make that happen, you’ll want them in your inner circle moving forward.
The increasing variety of river cruise itineraries is making the non-coastal capitals of Europe more accessible to cruise travelers. Paris, France, is a perfect example: it’s 150 miles from the English Channel, and ocean-going ships must dock at the port of Le Havre or at Rouen. River cruise ships, however, can travel up the winding Seine river right into Paris, docking near the Eiffel Tower and other incredible sights in the City of Lights.
From the river, you’ll see some of the dozens of bridges that cross the Seine, including Pont Neuf, which connects both banks of the Seine to Île de la Cité, where Paris began. The island is home to the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris; climb the stairs inside the towers for a wonderful view of the city. There’s also Sainte-Chapelle, a royal chapel in the Gothic style; and the sobering history of the Conciergerie prison, where thousands of prisoners awaited execution during the French Revolution.
In addition to the Eiffel Tower, be sure to see the Arc de Triomphe, the magnificent arch that Napoleon intended as a monument to his military success. From the arch, follow the boulevard Champs-Élysées to Place de la Concorde, the city’s largest square. While King Louis XVI and other noteworthy Parisians were guillotined here during the French Revolution, much of the square’s history has been peaceful. Today, it’s decorated with fountains, statues and the stunning Luxor Obelisk.
Monmartre is a hilly neighborhood watched over by Sacre-Coeur, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The beautiful dome and the gardens are open to the public. The steps are a popular place to sit in the evening as the lights of Paris come on.
Paris’ Musee du Louvre is simply one of the finest art museums in the world. Everyone wants to see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but there are also enormous collections of paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture, plus antiquities from the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Asian empires.
Beyond its monuments and museums, Paris is full of charming streets lined with unique shops, exceptional restaurants and delightful cafes. Plan to spend a few days in the city before or after a cruise on the Seine, and you’ll dream of the day that you can return!
Scott Hunter is a world traveler who wants to be your return on-life advisor to help you have an ongoing, conscious strategy for optimizing your most valuable non-renewable asset, your free leisure time.