Under EU regulation 261/2004, UK air passengers enjoy a wide variety of rights which could allow them to claim money back following flight delays. The regulation provides cash compensation and applies to all flights from the UK to EU destinations, so it's something all travellers should be aware of.
Regulation 261/2004 is the key document which sets out almost any flight claim UK passengers can make. It's important to note that travellers aren't generally liable for issues like delays or being denied boarding. Thanks to EU legislation, that burden falls on airlines. Travellers can claim if they are denied boarding on any flight into the EU due to overbooking - a common practice that airlines use to ensure that every flight is fully booked. Flight cancellations are included if the cancellation is within the airline's control. And delays are also covered, providing flights leave more than 3 hours late.
UK customers can obtain significant amounts of compensation if they file a claim. For instance, delays of just 3 hours can result in payments of £520. The amount paid will depend on factors like how far the flight has travelled. Before making a claim, be aware that delays due to weather, protests, or strike action are often not covered. But even then airlines could be penalised if they have not tried their hardest to avoid delays. So it's usually worth claiming, and success rates for passengers are high.
No win, no fee
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, airlines 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:
No win, no fee
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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