"We apologize for the inconvenience" is a typical response from airlines when a flight is delayed or canceled. But for European departures at least you might be able to get your money back as well as claim flight delay or United Airlines cancellation compensation under a law known as EC 261. In some circumstances, you could be owed as much as $700 (€600) per person, in addition to a full refund of your flight ticket.
Find out how much United Airlines flight compensation you're owed.
While United Airlines isn't a European airline, whenever they fly in Europe they comply with European regulations. That is good news for any passenger affected by a flight cancellation, as a last-minute cancellation of a European departure may entitle them to a fair United Airlines compensation payout.
With any United Airlines flight cancellation, you'll be offered an alternative flight to your destination, or you can get your money back with a full refund if that's what you'd prefer. But in addition, if your flight was canceled less than 14 days before you were due to depart a European airport, EU laws say passengers may be entitled to up to $700 per person in compensation.
If United Airlines was able to offer you an alternative flight that would land at a very similar time to your original, they won't have to pay you compensation. They would also be exempt from paying compensation if there were extraordinary circumstances which made the cancellation necessary. That means anything that is beyond the airline's control, for example, bad weather, a medical emergency, or some form of disruptive event affecting the airport.
Because there are these exceptions, the easiest way to check if you're owed United Airlines canceled flight compensation is to use our free compensation calculator.
If you've been on a late flight departing from a European airport, it's worth checking if you're owed United Airlines flight delay compensation. That's because under EU law, flights that are delayed by 3 hours or more might be eligible for up to $700 per person in compensation from their airline.
It doesn't matter where you were flying to — what does matter is your arrival time. For compensation, it is the time that you arrived in your destination that's significant, not the time that you took off. So even if you technically departed on time, if you arrived at your destination more than 3 hours late, you may be eligible for compensation.
One important exclusion is for those United Airlines flight delays that are caused by extraordinary circumstances. This refers to situations that are outside of the airline's control. Common examples are delays caused by bad weather or an air traffic control strike. Because the airline cannot prevent these delays, they shouldn't have to pay compensation for them.
But if the delay is due to something they can control — such as a strike by United Airlines staff, or a maintenance issue, you're entitled to make a flight delay compensation United Airlines claim.
Europe's air passenger rights, EC 261, are among the most comprehensive in the world. They are designed to ensure airlines like United Airlines take appropriate care of their passengers and compensate passengers fairly when their journeys are disrupted by flight delays, cancellations, or overbookings.
All passengers on a flight departing from a European airport are covered by EC 261. However, as United Airlines is not a European airline, they do not need to pay EC 261 compensation when they are flying outside of Europe, or even on flights to Europe if the departure airport is outside the EU.
|Covered by EC 261|
|Flights departing EU airports||✔️ Yes|
|Flights arriving at EU airports||❌ No|
|All flights under 1,500 km||Up to €250 per person|
|Internal EU flights over 1,500 km||Up to €400 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 km||Up to €400 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 km||Up to €600 per person|
Table shows values in € as specified in EC 261
All paying passengers are treated equally by EC 261. It doesn't matter where a passenger is from, whether they are an adult or a child, or how much they paid for their ticket — the compensation amounts are the same.
As you might expect with any law, there are exceptions and special circumstances that can affect how much compensation is owed in every individual case. AirHelp makes it simple to check what you’re owed with our free compensation calculator.
United Airlines is one of three major US airlines, along with Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. It operates a large domestic and international route network, with an extensive presence in the Asia-Pacific region. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance.
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