If you’re flying in Brazil you’re protected by ANAC 400, otherwise known as the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency Resolution Nº 400. This law helps you get care if your travel is complicated by a flight delay, cancellation, or last-minute rescheduling. And, if you don’t get this care, or face other flight problems, you can claim compensation under Brazil’s Consumer Code.
Anyone flying in Brazil is protected by legislation from Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). Passengers have rights when they fly – and when problems occur the laws are clear on exactly what care passengers should expect from the airline.
The regulation that is most relevant to air travelers is known as ANAC Resolution Nº 400. This regulation clearly sets out airlines’ responsibilities to their passengers whenever there are flight issues. It offers air passengers a great deal of consideration, specifying exactly what care airlines must provide, and when. What’s more, if the airlines do not provide you with care, as per consumer law, you could be owed up to $1,300 (R$5,000) in Brazil flight compensation.
Brazil understands that flight disruptions like delays and cancellations impose heavy costs on air passengers. When an airline has failed to care for its passengers during these circumstances, Brazil’s Consumer Code allows passengers to claim compensation for the inconvenience.
When you are stuck in an unfamiliar city waiting to find out when and how you will finally get to your destination, costs quickly stack up. Not just for food and drink, but also for accommodation and transport – should things get really bad. Passengers are frequently left out of pocket following a flight issue. Brazil’s laws allow for passengers to claim back costs like food, drink, and transportation following a flight issue – these are referred to as material damages.
But under Brazil’s Consumer Code you are also entitled to seek as much as $1,300 in compensation for what’s known as moral damages. Passengers rely on air travel to deliver them to important events on time. Missing out on seeing a loved one say “I do”, not making it to your own graduation, or simply missing precious days of a long-awaited family vacation, are experiences that can never be replaced. The laws understand that wasted time, missed opportunities, and bad treatment by the airline are also important and deserve to be compensated.
If you’ve been unfairly affected by a flight disruption, and believe you are owed for either material or moral damages, AirHelp can intervene on your behalf and demand that the airlines compensate you fairly for the inconvenience.
Brazilian air passenger laws apply to:
Domestic flights within Brazil.
International flights that depart from a Brazilian airport.
International flights that arrive at a Brazilian airport.
Flights that connect via a Brazilian airport.
Any flight ticket issued in Brazil (even if the flight is operated abroad).
Brazilian law covers air passengers affected by flight issues that are out of their control. So a flight delay or flight cancellation is covered by these laws. But if you miss your flight because you didn’t get to the airport on time, or if you decide to cancel your flight and take a later one, these laws will not come into effect.
The easiest way to find out if you’re covered is to use the AirHelp Eligibility Check.
One important point about the law is that it exists to ensure that airlines are treated fairly as well. When airlines are responsible for the delay – for example, staff shortages or a technical fault, it is clear that they must be held responsible for any passengers affected.
However, when a delay is caused by circumstances outside of the airline’s control, like a strike by air traffic control or extreme weather, the airline is no longer considered to be responsible. These kinds of events are called extraordinary circumstances.
If your flight is delayed or canceled as a result of extraordinary circumstances, passengers are still entitled to care. However, airlines are not expected to provide compensation for events that are outside of their control.
The one important exception to this is if the airline neglects their duty of care. While extraordinary circumstances are outside of the airline’s control, they are rarely unexpected. Airlines have ample time to prepare for disruptions. If it’s clear that they failed to do so, AirHelp can help those passengers that were affected by making a case for compensation.
If your flight is delayed at the airport the airline is required to let you know about it promptly. They must also inform you about the flight’s new expected departure time. Following this, the airline must provide an update on the delayed departure time every 30 minutes.
The airline must also provide you with a written explanation about the delay if you request it.
The longer a delay is the more essentials you become entitled to. The airline must provide you with:
Over 1 hour: passengers must be provided with access to communication – for example, a telephone call or Wi-Fi access for emailing, etc.
Over 2 hours: passengers must be provided with meals appropriate for the time of day. The airline may either provide food, or it can hand out meal vouchers to waiting passengers.
Over 4 hours: at this point, we consider your flight severely delayed, and 2 important rights kick in.
Reimbursement or rebooking – The airline must look to get you to your destination as soon as possible. We have more details about the choices below.
Accommodation – If the airline cannot get you to your destination any sooner, they must provide you with suitable accommodation.
However, airlines only need to offer accommodation if an overnight wait is required (so if you have a 5-hour wait during the day, no accommodation will be offered). Airlines must also provide transfers to the accommodation. If you live in the city of departure the airline doesn’t have to offer you accommodation – but they must offer you the transfers to your home.
When flights are severely delayed (over 4 hours) or are canceled, ANAC 400 says passengers have the right to choose what happens to them next.
Airlines must offer passengers the following 3 choices:
A ticket on another flight.
A refund of the fare – including airport taxes and fees.
A way of getting to their destination via other means – e.g. a bus ticket plus transfers.
An important point to note is that transferring to another flight (or route) to your destination must be offered for free.
Passengers who opt for a ticket on another flight can choose to take the next available flight – regardless of whether that flight is with the same airline, or a competitor going to the same destination. Alternatively, they can take a later flight operated by their airline – on the time and date that suits the passenger.
Either way, passengers who are rebooked then have priority over other passengers on that flight. That means that if the replacement flight was overbooked, the already inconvenienced passenger would not be asked to give up their seat.
Passengers are still entitled to the care detailed above, until the passenger departs on their flight (or depart on alternative transport). Though the right to care will end if the passenger opts for reimbursement.
Sometimes, airlines may need to make changes to your flight – for example, the departure time could be later, or they may change your direct flight to a connecting flight. If this happens to you, ANAC 400 offers some protection.
The airline can make the following changes, so long as they let passengers know about the change at least 72 hours before the original departure time.
|Change in time|
|Domestic flights||+/- 30 minutes|
|International flights||+/- 1 hour|
If your flight changes by more than this, or if the airline does not inform you of a change more than 72 hours in advance, they must offer you either:
An alternative flight
A full refund
If you’re not advised about the flight change and subsequently turn up at the airport for your original departure time, the airline must rebook or reimburse you for your flight.
They could also provide you with alternative transportation (that could be a bus, taxi, ship, or a private driver service like Uber) and they must take care of your food, drink, and accommodation where necessary.
Brazilian laws act to discourage airlines from overbooking flights, which can lead to denied boardings.
If you are on a flight which has been overbooked, the airline will look for volunteers to give up their seat. These passengers must still be compensated – though, the passenger and airline are free to agree exactly what that compensation looks like.
If no volunteers are found, airlines are able to deny boarding to some passengers. These passengers must be offered an alternative flight, the care outlined above, and additional compensation. This compensation is set under ANAC 400 and is payable immediately.
|Compensation amount (US$)||Compensation amount (SDR*)|
|Domestic flights||$345||SDR 250|
|International flights||$690||SDR 500|
*SDR = Special Drawing Rights. ANAC 400 compensation amounts are in SDR. We have included the approximate US$ amount here.
Be aware: sometimes airlines will ask you to sign a volunteer overbooking form. Don’t do that unless you voluntarily give up your seat. Ask instead to sign for involuntary denied boarding.
Brazilian laws offer additional protections for air passengers who may require assistance.
Rights when you fly:
Another ANAC resolution, Nº 280, covers the rights of air passengers with additional needs. This law recognizes that the following passengers may require more assistance when they fly:
Passengers aged 60 and over
Pregnant and breastfeeding passengers
Passengers accompanied by an infant (a child under 2)
Passengers with reduced mobility
Any passenger with a specific condition that limits their autonomy
The airline is required to offer these passengers appropriate care and assistance while they are at the airport and during the flight.
In the event of flight issues:
Passengers with additional needs, as defined above, have priority when flights are delayed or canceled.
The primary consequence of this provision is that if passengers are offered a replacement flight, passengers with additional needs will be reallocated onto new flights first.
Passengers with additional needs must also be offered accommodation whenever there is a wait of 4 or more hours, regardless of whether the delay means an overnight wait.
Brazilian laws allow passengers to claim compensation for flight delays and cancellations that occurred in the past:
|Claim for flights in the past:|
|Domestic flights||5 years|
|International flights||2 years|
You're on a flight which lands or takes off in Brazil.
Your flight was overbooked which resulted in denied boarding - OR - your flight was delayed - OR - your flight was canceled.
The airline didn't provide necessary communication, refreshments or accommodation.
The flight was within the last 5 years (2 years for international flights).
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