Delayed flights can be little more than an inconvenience for some or can have major ramifications for others, depending on the circumstances. However, regardless of the extent of the personal inconvenience, did you know that the EC 261 entitles you to claim compensation for any EU and many international flights if they are delayed for more than three hours? The amount of compensation can vary but you may be entitled to as much as £520, as well as other benefits including hotel stays, meals and reimbursement for unavoidable downgrades.
Here's a brief overview of when you are eligible to claim money back for a delayed flight. You're entitled to claim if your delay exceeded three hours, took off from the EU (regardless of airline) or landed in the EU (as long as it's an EU-based airline). Something to keep in mind though is that the delay can't be your fault! If they held the gate for you, the other passengers may have earned the right to claim but you won't have, so make sure you check in on time.
Also, you need to submit your claim within three years of the delayed flight. Airlines may seek to offer you vouchers or other complementary goods as compensation but you should ensure that you are not waiving your rights to claim EC 261 compensation by accepting them. If what the airline offers you is more than the maximum you could claim under EU law, then we say take it!
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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:
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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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