Hearing about cancellations and delays at London Heathrow Airport doesn't get travel off to a great start — but the good news is that in the EU you're protected by a law called EC 261. This ensures that you can still get to your destination, and also you might be owed up to US$700 per person in compensation. Our free Compensation Calculator will tell you exactly what you're owed.
Most passengers using London Heathrow Airport (LHR) are protected under a law called EU Regulation No. 261/2004. That's because EC 261 covers all departures from EU airports as well as departures from the EU's 'outermost regions' — places like the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Martinique.
Flights landing at London Heathrow Airport may also be protected by EC 261 too, depending on where they departed from. Check the table below for all the details.
EC 261 doesn't just protect Europeans, it exists to protect anyone flying within its jurisdiction. And it usually gives passengers up to 3 years to make a claim — so you can check whether you're still owed compensation for previous London Heathrow Airport flight cancellations too.
|Route||EU Airline||Non-EU Airline|
|Departures from London Heathrow Airport||✔️ Yes||✔️ Yes|
|Arrivals at London Heathrow Airport||✔️ Yes||❌ No|
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When you heard that London Heathrow Airport had canceled flights, your first thought was probably about how you could find another way to reach your destination. Luckily, that's taken care of by Regulation EC 261 — airlines must offer passengers a choice between alternative travel options or a refund.
In addition, if your flight was cancelled with less than 2 weeks until you were due to depart you could be entitled to up to US$700 per person.
We should make you aware of one exception which can affect London Heathrow Airport flight cancellations though: extraordinary circumstances. This clause excuses airlines paying compensation when flights are canceled due to circumstances beyond their control. Things like bad weather, incidents at London Heathrow Airport, and strikes by Heathrow Airport staff would all be considered extraordinary circumstances and passengers won't receive compensation for the resulting cancellations.
The simplest way to find out if you're owed flight compensation is to enter your flight details into our free compensation check tool. You can also read our comprehensive guide to flight cancellation compensation.
EC 261 also protects air travelers when there are delays at London Heathrow Airport. If your flight is delayed by 3 hours (or even longer) then each passenger could be owed up to US$700 in compensation.
To work out your total delay, you should compare the time you actually landed at your final destination to the time you were scheduled to arrive. This allows airlines to make up for a delayed take off, by making good time on the flight itself.
If you're not sure exactly when you landed AirHelp can check it for you — start your claim here, and we'll check your flight details against our comprehensive and accurate flight database, as part of the claim process.
Be aware that if the delayed flights from London Heathrow Airport were caused by extraordinary circumstances, then the airline will not have to pay out any compensation. EC 261 is fair to airlines in this regard. As they can't control situations like bad weather or impactful activities by Heathrow Airport staff, they shouldn't be held liable to pay compensation for them either.
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This table gives you a good idea of the amount of compensation you might be entitled to, but there are lots of special cases and exceptions that can affect the total amount. To make things simple for passengers, we've built a compensation tool which tells you what you're owed and helps get your claim started with AirHelp.
We all want to avoid delays or flight cancellations happening, but here’s what you should do when you are affected by one:
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