Did you know that each year thousands of people are entitled to compensation that they do not claim? EC 261 is legislation that covers many, if not all, of the most frustrating moments you've had at an airport. It makes it the airline's problem when things go badly wrong. In short, you are entitled to EU compensation in the event of a flight cancellation, delay or if you're denied boarding - unless any of these occurred due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline's control. So, if you look out your terminal window and can't find your plane because it's obscured by a snow blizzard, you might be out of luck. For almost everything else, it makes sense to know your rights!
So, how do you know if your flight falls under the EU compensation act EC 261? Most routes within Europe are covered, even those not officially travelling within EU airspace. Many international flights are also covered if they are due to land in the EU and are operated by an EU-based carrier. If you are confused, insist that the airline inform you of your rights. They may not go out of their way to highlight the fact, but EC 261 includes an obligation for airlines to make passengers aware of any compensation they may be entitled to.
And what are those compensations? For delays, cancellations and denials of boarding, passengers are entitled to financial compensation of up to £520 as well as access to free meals, communication and hotel stays when required. Get lucky with your alternate flight and you may even find yourself sipping on champagne with an upgrade at no extra charge!
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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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