None of us enjoy experiencing flight delays but for many people, delays are just written off as "facts of life". However, thanks to a very useful set of European Union regulations, airline passengers may well be able to claim cash compensation when their journeys are delayed, easing some of the pain caused by the inconvenience. In this article, we will explain how the regulations work, and what you could claim should journeys go wrong.
The most important regulation to know about when considering how to claim for delayed flight connections is called EU 261/2004. That may not be the catchiest name around, but the regulation is actually extremely important and relevant to the interests of ordinary travellers. Passed in 2004, it sets out a series of obligations that airlines must respect, with financial penalties when the rules are broken. This includes generous compensation for delays, and a wide range of journeys could potentially be covered.
The legislation applies to all flights out of airports in the EU and overseas territories (such as French Guiana) or associated nations (including Iceland, Norway, or Switzerland). It also applies to flights arriving in the EU, if they are operated by an EU-based airline. So if you are flying from Paris to New York, your flight should qualify. Compensation of up to £520 can be claimed when flights are over 3 hours late at the point of arrival. These delays must be the fault of the airline, which in practice covers a large number of services - including issues like staffing and extended maintenance operations. There is a time limit, but if you have flown in the past 3 years, you should be eligible. Just get in touch with AirHelp, and we will help you arrange a claim.
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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