Air travellers have learned to live with flight delays caused by airlines. Most people don't know that they can claim plane delay compensation for these inconveniences. Under the EU law called EC 261, air passengers can claim up to £520 if their flights are delayed. Knowing your rights under this law will make it easier to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Eligible passengers can demand financial compensation for a wide range of inconveniences caused by airlines. EC 261 entitles even business travellers and public officials to file claims for plane delays. Even if your employer bought your air ticket, it is you, as the one who suffered the inconvenience, who is entitled to receive compensation under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation. EC 261 requires airlines to inform their passengers of their rights and privileges. Besides the right to financial compensation, delayed passengers are entitled to refreshments and accommodation if they have to wait overnight. The airline must also provide passengers access to emails, telephone calls, and other means of communication.
Passengers can also request a full or partial reimbursement of their ticket. Where necessary, EC 261 also requires airlines to provide a return flight. Airlines cannot charge extra if they upgraded a passenger's seat on an alternative flight, but air travellers can seek reimbursement if their seat was downgraded. Passengers can seek financial compensation if they meet the distance and time requirements. This makes it important to know the eligibility criteria to claim compensation for flight delays.
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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:
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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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