The European law EC 261 provides a broad range of protections for air travellers, including delay claims. Under this legislation, you can claim compensation of up to £520 if you've been on a delayed flight.
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What You Should Know About Delay Claims
To file a delay claim as a disrupted passenger, you need to be eligible under the following conditions. Your delayed flight needs to have arrived at its destination more than 3 hours later than planned, and it needs to have taken off in the EU. If it landed in the EU but took off from somewhere else, then the airline needs to be registered within the EU. You must have checked in at least 45 minutes before departure and the delayed flight must have occurred within the last 3 years. For a claim to be successful, the airline must have been responsible for the delay. You can make a claim regardless of whether the airline provided refreshments or accommodation. Your compensation also depends on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay.
Also, the person who suffered the delay is the one entitled to the compensation. This means employees are entitled to flight delay compensation even if their employer paid for their ticket. Delay claims can be paid in different forms. EC 261 states that airlines must compensate delayed air travellers in cash, cheques, or electronic transfers. Airlines may offer to compensate you with flight vouchers but you have a right to demand monetary compensation. Unfortunately, 85% of European air travellers don't know they can refuse flight vouchers and ask for financial reimbursements from airlines. This means it's essential to know your rights so you can claim the compensation that you are owed.
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.
Claiming Compensation for Flight Delays and Cancellations
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:
How Much Flight Compensation?
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.
What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Cancelled
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
- Hold onto your boarding pass and other travel documents.
- Ask why the flight was delayed or cancelled.
- Request food, drinks, and if necessary, free transport and hotel accommodation.
- If you had a cancelled flight, ask for an alternative flight or a refund.
- Keep all receipts of any extra expenses you may have had, including necessary food, clothing, etc.
- Be careful not to sign any waivers or accept vouchers that will require you to waive your right to compensation.
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