The EC 261 disruption compensation is important legislation that protects the rights of air travellers when carriers disrupt their flights. This law allows passengers to seek legal and financial compensation for losses incurred because of flight disruptions by an airline. Three situations for which you can claim disruption compensation include denied boarding, flight cancellation, or a long delay. Passengers must understand their rights under EC 261 to enjoy the full benefits.
You can file for compensation under the EC 261 law if your airline unlawfully prevented you from boarding a flight. The EC 261 also places a legal and financial burden on the airline when it cancels your flight, as long as the cancellation wasn't for reasons beyond the airline's control. You can also seek compensation if a carrier delayed your flight for three or more hours. Note that the compensation you can claim depends on several factors including the distance travelled and how long you were delayed before reaching your final destination. If any of these apply to you, the EC 261 law allows you to make a claim.
The law covers all flights departing from an airport in the European Union. It also extends to the Scandinavian territories of Iceland and Norway, Switzerland, the Canary Islands, the Azores, Saint-Martin, Madeira, French Guiana and other outermost regions of Europe. You are also covered if you are flying with a European carrier and your destination is in the EU, even if the flight departed from elsewhere. However, the EC 261 does not apply to flights departing outside the EU to destinations outside the European Union. However, you may still be covered if the carrier connects to a covered flight.
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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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