Unfortunately, airline delays occur all the time. But legislation exists that allows passengers to do something about it. A European Union regulation known as 261/2004 enables travellers to set this right following serious delays. In this article, we'll explain what kind of airline delay compensation EU regulations provide and how to make a successful claim.
EU 261 has been in force since 2004, and is used by many travellers across the EU. It sets out a series of conditions which airlines have to meet. If they fail to do so, passengers can claim financial compensation. In some cases, the amount of airline delay compensation EU travellers have claimed has totalled £520. But what situations does the regulation apply to? Not all delays are covered. For instance, the delay must be longer than 3 hours to qualify, and it has to be recorded at the point of arrival.
So if your flight leaves 3 hours late but makes up time during the journey, you probably aren't eligible for compensation. Flights that take place outside the EU or the European Economic Area aren't covered. However, any flight that takes off from an airport in the EU or countries like Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway could be eligible, as well as flights landing there that are operated by an EU airline. This includes flights to and from UK airports. The delay must also be the fault of the airline - so extreme weather events are often not covered. But it may be worth exploring the options, as airlines can be responsible for poor responses to external events. Finally, the amount paid out as delay compensation varies depending on the scale of the delay and the distance travelled. Contact AirHelp and make a claim to see how much compensation you could receive.
AirHelp is the world's largest air passenger rights organisation, here to help air travellers secure compensation for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights .
We make claiming compensation easy and stress-free. Whether you are unsure of your rights, lack the time, or simply want an expert to handle your entire claim for you, AirHelp can help you get what you are rightfully owed.
We operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you can check your compensation risk-free.
How do you know when you should claim compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight? Though the law can be complicated, we're here to break it down for you:
Delayed flights: you may be able to claim compensation if your flight arrived 3 hours or more late.
Cancelled flights: you may be eligible for compensation if your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before it was due to depart.
Overbookings: you are owed compensation any time you are denied boarding through no fault of your own — so long as you didn't voluntarily give up your seat.
We should note that if extraordinary circumstances were involved, arirlines are under no obligation to pay compensation. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include bad weather, travel restrictions, and air traffic control strikes. Though these situations cause delays and cancellations, the airline isn't at fault, so can't be expected to offer compensation.
Remember these are European flight regulations and so only apply to flights departing from an EU airport, or flights landing in the EU with a European airline. The table below makes it clear which flights are covered:
|All flights under 1,500 km||Up to £220 per person|
|Internal EU flights over 1,500 km||Up to £350 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 km||Up to £350 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 km||Up to £520 per person|
Table shows values in € as specified in EC 261
In some circumstances the compensation amount may differ from the standard amounts shown above. The easiest way to find out what you’re owed is to use our Compensation Check.
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
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