EC 261 Compensation
If you fly regularly from or to the European Union, you need to know about EU 261/2004. This regulation forms the basis for compensation claims for airline customers throughout Europe, which could include city breaks and beach holidays for UK passengers, as well as business trips where delays can be catastrophic. So let's find out more about this crucial regulation.
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What Passengers Need to Know
Passed in 2004, EC 261 sets out a series of air passenger rights which are enforced by the European Union. When these rights are breached, airlines may be liable to pay EC 261 compensation to affected passengers. The rights involved are surprisingly broad but many passengers know little about them, so it's worth getting acquainted with what is covered. Basically, there are three areas where EC 261 compensation could apply: cancellations, denial of boarding, and delays.
Travellers can claim up to £520 if they are denied boarding due to the airline overbooking their flight. They can claim compensation if the arrival of a flight is delayed by over three hours. And they can also submit a claim if a flight is cancelled for reasons that are within an airline's control. This last point is important. All three claim areas require that the fault has been caused by the passenger's airline. So problems like weather or political unrest generally don't apply. However, there may be a case if the airline has failed to make adequate preparations. And there will definitely be a good case if passengers are removed from flights if their carrier has simply overbooked. In all cases, making a claim is simple and very often successful. To find out more and claim for yourself, get in touch with AirHelp, and we'll use EC 261 to your advantage.
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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