No airline has a perfect departure record and while every precaution is taken to avoid delays, these can occur due to unforeseen circumstances. EU flight legislation EC 261/2004 makes provision for passengers who experience flight delays. Under the legislation, a delay which is eligible for compensation is defined as a previously planned flight which is delayed for more than three hours. The flight must depart from an airport within the EU, and certain flights landing at an airport within the EU are eligible too. The amount you get depends on the length of the delay and the flight distance.
Under EC 261/2004, you could be entitled to financial compensation of up to £520, as long as the delay you experienced was subject to the following conditions. Your flight must have been delayed for at least three hours or arrived at its destination over three hours late. It must have departed from, or been scheduled to depart from, an airport within the EU. If your flight departed from outside the EU but landed at an EU airport, then the airline must have its headquarters within the EU in order for you to be able to claim compensation.
To qualify, you must have checked in 45 minutes prior to the flight's scheduled departure and the incident must have occurred within the last three years. The delay must have been due to events which are the airline's responsibility, such as operational problems or technical malfunctions. Finally, claimants must have a valid ticket for the delayed flight to apply for flight delay compensation.
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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