Nobody enjoys suffering airline delays. Whether you are jetting off for a Mediterranean break or visiting friends in Berlin, having to spend hours in airport departure lounges, unsure of when you will arrive, is extremely frustrating. Luckily, it's possible to claim compensation for a delay. So let's explore how.
The most important thing to know about when making a flight delay claim is something called EU 261/2004. This regulation may sound obscure, but is actually a really important tool for airline passengers. Enforced by the European Union, it sets out a series of passenger rights, allotting compensation for overbookings, cancellations and - crucially - delays. It applies across the EU to any flights departing from European airports, and flights flying into European airports operated by European airlines. Nations like Switzerland or Norway that have agreements with the EU are also included, so it covers a huge chunk of major destinations.
It's possible to claim significant amounts of compensation via a flight delay claim. Under 261/2004, passengers can claim up to £520 from their airline if flights are over three hours late when arriving at their destination. The amount claimed will vary depending on the length of the delay and the distance travelled. For instance, the largest compensation amounts apply to flights over 2,200 miles (3,500km). But even short-haul flights within the EU qualify for substantial claims. The regulations don't just apply to internal flights, by the way. They also apply if you are flying to New York from Paris, or from Munich to Bangkok. Most situations are covered, providing the airline was at fault, and the flight occurred less than three years ago. And AirHelp is here to ensure that you receive all of the compensation 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.
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
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