Choosing the right airline that matches your requirements is the first step in order to enjoy your journey and your holiday to the full. Airlines differ in terms of the services they offer, the routes they fly and how they handle their clients. Over time all these aspects have improved, but even today there are major differences between airlines, that can essentially subdivided into three groups. It's worthwhile remembering that although the rules on flight refunds are the same throughout Europe and therefore for all carriers, differences in behaviour still exist.
Here are the three main distinctions:
These are the larger companies, the most important ones and the ones that travel the longest distances; they usually offer higher quality services and do not apply additional fees for the services they provide. Getting refunds and reimbursements from these airlines is usually not a problem, even though they can be subject to overbooking, delays in the larger airports and baggage loss.
One example of a national airline is AirFrance-KLM
Low cost airlines
The low cost airline market expanded quite considerably towards the end of the 90's, when thanks to an important deregulation it became possible for many airlines to become independent low cost airlines. During the course of the second half of the first decade of the 2000s, partly due to the financial crisis, many airlines were reingineered or shut down. The speed of refunds varies from one airline to the next, but usually they don't experience overbooking problems. They are however subject to delays and cancellation, especially those companies that find themselves in economic difficulties.
The typical example is Ryanair
At one time there were many more regional airlines, now they are buckling under the competition provided by low cost airlines, and in some cases are being transformed and taking on the low cost economic model.
They usually cover secondary routes, and for this reason can be subject to delays and cancellation, which are not always ascribable to the carrier's fault, and therefore it's best to find out the reason for any cancellations.
An example here in Italy is Meridiana
Information on the main airlines
Seeing as it is often complicated obtaining the kind of information one requires from airlines in order to obtain a refund, here are the pages of the main airlines that operate in Italy: