EC 261

There are many reasons not to worry when travelling on an EU airline thanks to the EC 261 legislation. Sometimes, flights can be cancelled, subjected to a delay, or downgraded. You could also be denied boarding a plane when you had a confirmed reservation. In all of these cases, the operating airline should be held accountable when they are responsible for disrupting the flight. At AirHelp, we help clients to determine whether or not their claims are valid and to make successful claims for financial compensation.

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Your Rights under EU regulation 261/2004

In the event of flight delay or cancellation, you are eligible for alternative transportation, passenger care, and compensation as per EC 261. For journeys longer than 2,175 miles (3,500km), you should be refunded 75% of the airfare paid during the initial booking. For distances ranging between 932 miles (1,500km) and 2,175 miles (3,500km), a 50% compensation of the airfare applies. And for flights up to 932 miles (1,500km), passengers should be granted a 30% refund. Should your flight be downgraded to a lower class, you deserve a reimbursement within 7 days.

However, you are not entitled to compensation when the disrupted flight is attributed to extraordinary circumstances that were unavoidable even after all reasonable actions were taken. Such scenarios include security risks, political disputes, unpredictable safety concerns, and bad weather. Neither do you have the right to compensation if the operating airline communicates the cancellation or delay 7-14 days prior to departure. Similarly, there's no compensation when the operating airline offers an alternative flight departing up to 2 hours before the initial departure time.

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?

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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AirHelp is a part of the Association of Passenger Rights Advocates (APRA) whose mission is to promote and protect passengers’ rights.

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