EU regulation 261/2004 was passed in 2004 to protect air passengers who have experienced flight disruptions. It enforces the rights of air passengers who have been denied boarding or been subject to delays or cancellations, and to compensate them for the inconvenience and costs that may have happened a result. The EU Regulation 261 is binding law in all current European Union member states, and they do not have the choice to opt out of the regulation. Certain countries, such as Norway and Switzerland, have opted in to EU Regulation 261, even though they are not EU member states.
It is important to understand your rights as an air passenger before flying. All passengers, regardless of nationality or age, are protected under EU Regulation 261 when flying from an airport based in an EU member state or arriving into an EU country while travelling with an EU airline. This means that non-EU airlines must follow EU flight compensation regulations when operating flights departing from EU airports.
Under EU regulation, you are entitled to care and assistance from the airline when suffering severe flight disruptions. Care and assistance include overnight accommodation and transport to accommodation if delayed overnight, free food and drink while experiencing long delays at the airport, and the option to make two telephone calls or emails.
EU Regulation 261 also entitles you to financial compensation for flight disruptions, provided the disruption was not due to an extraordinary circumstance. To find out if you're eligible for monetary compensation, simply submit your details to our compensation checker totally free of charge, and we'll help you to get the reimbursement you deserve.
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:
|All flights under 1,500 km||Up to £220 per person|
|Internal EU flights over 1,500 km||Up to £350 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 km||Up to £350 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 km||Up 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.
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