EU Regulation Flight Delay

The EC Regulation 261/2004 is a comprehensive law which protects EU passenger rights. If you're departing from an airport in the EU, you are protected under this regulation no matter which airline you are travelling with. When the airline is headquartered in the EU, EC Regulation 261 also applies to flights landing in the EU. European Union lawmakers designed EC 261 to hold airlines financially accountable for flights that have gone awry when the airline is at fault. In such cases, you are entitled to claim compensation.

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Know Your EU Passenger Rights

For example, this EU regulation covers delays that cause the flight to arrive at its destination at least three hours later than originally planned, if the airline is responsible for the delay. In such cases, you are entitled to file a delayed flight claim of up to £520 for all flights departing from any EU airport as well as those landing at any EU destination, provided the airline is headquartered in the European Union. To file this claim, you also need to have checked in on time - at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure.

Another good thing to know is that under EC 261, you are still entitled to claim flight delay compensation even if the airline has already provided you with perks such as free refreshments or travel vouchers. Unfortunately, passengers cannot file claims for flight delays due to extreme weather or other unforeseeable circumstances, as these are beyond the control of the airline. Last but not least, you need to file your claim no later than three years after the flight operated.

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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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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