A delayed flight can cause frustration and financial loss for a passenger. EU Regulation 261 is a law that was created to help a passenger in case of unfortunate scenarios caused by delays. However, to be covered by this law, passengers must be able to answer yes to the following questions:
Extraordinary circumstances is a term used to define circumstances over which the airline had no control, such as weather conditions, security threats, terrorism, strikes or unrest.
If you answer "Yes" to all these conditions, then you can claim compensation of up to £520 under the EU law. All you need is the date and flight number.
Your eligibility for payment is mainly dependent on the distance of the journey, although some other factors are considered. For flights less than 932 miles (1500km), you could collect £250, or a tidy £520 for flights exceeding 2174 miles (3500km). To approximate the length of your flight, you could assume that a 932-mile (1500km) flight takes an average of 2 hours while a 2174-mile (3500km) flight takes four and a half hours.
Some exceptions, however, do exist. If the plane took off and landed in the EU, your reimbursement cannot exceed £400, regardless of the actual distance. Additionally, the compensation could be cut by half if the delay did not exceed 4 hours.
If your flight arrived at its destination more than 3 hours late, subsequently making you miss your connecting flight, the airline should arrange for your travel. Although no distinctive laws exist for this rule, the mentioned 3-hour rule applies to claim your compensation should you be denied boarding.
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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