When Can You Claim For Flight Delays

Under EU law, you are entitled to compensation which can include a financial payout of up to £520 if your flight is significantly delayed. But when can you claim for flight delays? Anyone with a delayed flight that fits the following conditions is entitled to file a claim. Your arrival time must have been more than three hours after the scheduled one and your flight must have departed from the EU (any airline) or landed in the EU (but the airlines must also be headquartered in an EU country). You must have checked in on time, are not in any way responsible for the delay yourself and the cause of the delay must have been within the airline's control. Finally, the flight in question must have occurred within the last 3 years.

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Understand the circumstances under which you can receive compensation for a delay

If your experience of a delayed flight meets this list of criteria, you can make a claim. If, however, the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances then you may not be entitled to compensation. It is the responsibility of the airline to provide suitable evidence of any extraordinary circumstances to the relevant authorities.

It is also worth noting that even if you are business passenger with a flight paid for by your company, it is you who is entitled to the compensation afforded to you under EU law and not your employer. The compensation varies based on factors such as the length of the delay and the distance covered on the flight. Airlines may offer you vouchers or even cash payouts in the event of a delay but it is important to ensure you are not waiving any of your rights to compensation before accepting them.

AirHelp is here to help you get compensation for flight delays and cancellations. Find out what you could be entitled to.

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About AirHelp

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.


Claiming Compensation for Flight Delays and Cancellations

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:

Claim up to £520 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, cancelled, or overbooked within the last 3 years.

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How Much Flight Compensation?

DistanceCompensation
All flights under 1,500 kmUp to £220 per person
Internal EU flights over 1,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 kmUp 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.


What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Cancelled

If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:

  • Hold onto your boarding pass and other travel documents.
  • Ask why the flight was delayed or cancelled.
  • Request food, drinks, and if necessary, free transport and hotel accommodation.
  • If you had a cancelled flight, ask for an alternative flight or a refund.
  • Keep all receipts of any extra expenses you may have had, including necessary food, clothing, etc.
  • Be careful not to sign any waivers or accept vouchers that will require you to waive your right to compensation.

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