EC 261 Disruption Compensation

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.

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What Qualifies for EC 261 Disruption Compensation?

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.

AirHelp is here to help you get compensation for flight delays and cancellations. Find out what you could be entitled to.

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About AirHelp

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:

Claim up to £520 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, cancelled, or overbooked within the last 3 years.

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How Much Flight Compensation?

DistanceCompensation
All flights under 1,500 kmUp to £220 per person
Internal EU flights over 1,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 kmUp to £520 per person

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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