Air travel can be frustrating for passengers if a booked flight is cancelled. EU legislation EC 261/2004 protects passengers as it guarantees compensation in such cases. Passengers can claim a tidy sum of up to £520 for flight cancellation, sometimes even after the airline has arranged a replacement flight. However, the airline is not obliged to pay out if they issued notice of the cancellation more than 14 days before the flight was due to depart.
There are a few aspects that determine if you are eligible for compensation. First, the cancelled flight must have been scheduled to take off from an airport in the EU - regardless of where in the world the airline is based. Compensation may also be available for cancelled flights which were scheduled to land in the EU, as long as they were with an EU-based airline. Additionally, the arrival time of the replacement flight should have varied considerably from the original flight plan.
Finally, the reason for the flight cancellation must not have been due to extraordinary circumstances such as turbulent storms or political issues. You could be owed up to 250 EUR in compensation for cancelled flights that were less than 932 miles (1500km) where the replacement flight arrives at its destination 2 hours later than the originally scheduled one, and 125 EUR if it arrives within 2 hours. For flights over 932 miles (1,500km), you could be owed 400 EUR if the replacement is over 3 hours late, 200 EUR if it is less. Finally, for flights over 2,175 miles (3,500km) you could be owed £520 if the replacement is over 4 hours late, and 300 EUR if it is less.
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:
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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