Under EU legislation, passengers are protected when their flights are delayed or cancelled. Although many flights do arrive and depart on time each day, there are sometimes circumstantial delays which cannot be avoided. If passengers find themselves stranded at the airport for several hours or their journey is significantly disrupted, delayed passengers may be entitled to up to £520 in compensation. This may apply even if they were offered another flight at a later time, food vouchers or accommodation. Any passenger departing from a European airport is covered by the legislation, and in certain cases, passengers flying into Europe are too.
You can claim money for delayed flights under certain conditions as specified in EC 261/2004. Under these laws, passengers whose flight or flights are delayed for longer than three hours are entitled to financial compensation. The amount you are entitled to depends on how long the delay is and the flight distance. If you arrived at your destination three hours later than your scheduled arrival time, you will be entitled to monetary compensation.
As long as the airline is based in the EU, and your plane was scheduled to depart from and land within EU borders, you will be entitled to a financial claim. Passengers must be checked in within 45 minutes before departure to qualify and the delay must not have occurred more than three years ago. In addition to this, for the legislation to apply the airline must bear responsibility for the delay, such as in the case of striking workers, operational mistakes or technical difficulties. If your employer paid for your ticket, they do not receive the refund or claim. Instead, it is paid directly to the person who experienced the delay.
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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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