If you are intending to fly from or into any airport in the European Union in the near future, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the European compensation scheme for aviation passengers. Under EU regulation 261/2004, passengers have a number of rights which can be invoked should their flights be delayed or cancelled. This includes the provision to pay financial compensation and to reimburse for tickets, should situations meet the requirements of the regulation. Obviously, we hope that nothing will go wrong with your flights, but if errors occur, it's good to know that there is a legal remedy.
Many people are unaware of regulation 261/2004 and its potential benefits but it's a vital tool for thousands of UK passengers every year. Under the regulation, passengers can apply for compensation if they are denied boarding due to their flight being overbooked. They can claim if their flight was cancelled as long as the reason for the cancellation was the fault of the airline. And passengers can also claim if their flight was delayed for 3 or more hours.
The amount passengers can claim can be up to as much as £520, depending on the length of the delay and the distance the passenger intended to travel. This applies to any flight entering the EU zone, as long as it is with a European carrier, as well as all flights leaving the EU. And it also covers flights in countries like Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland, which aren't in the EU but are still part of the compensation system. Sometimes, what are called extraordinary circumstances will apply, and airlines aren't obliged to compensate. But much of the time, EU 261/2004 results in money back for travellers, and if you want to claim it, AirHelp is here to assist.
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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