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How Do I Know If I'm Entitled to Compensation for My Disrupted Flight?

AuthorAda Kozłowska

Have you ever experienced a flight delay, cancellation, or overbooking? If so, you may be eligible for compensation!

But not every flight qualifies – so how can you tell if yours does? The laws on airline passenger’s rights can be confusing, to say the least. That’s why we’ve developed this comprehensive list to help you see if your flight might be eligible for compensation.

How to Know If You’re Entitled to Compensation for Your Delayed Flight

If you’ve had a delayed flight within the past three years, it may be eligible for compensation. Here are the rules:

  1. Your flight must have been going either to or from Europe (delayed flights within the U.S. are not currently eligible for compensation)
  2. The delay must not have been caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control (such as bad weather or political unrest)
  3. Your arrival at your final destination must have been three hours or more after the time your flight was originally scheduled to arrive

How to Know If You’re Entitled to Compensation for Your Cancelled Flight

If you’ve had a cancelled flight within the past three years, it may be eligible for compensation. Here are the rules:

  1. Your flight must have been scheduled to go either to or from Europe (canceled flights within the U.S. are not currently eligible for compensation)
  2. The cancellation must not have been caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control (such as bad weather or political unrest)
  3. The airline must not have notified you about the cancellation 14 days or more before the scheduled flight
  4. The arrival of your rerouted flight must have been more than two hours after the time your original flight was scheduled to arrive

How to Know If You’re Entitled to Compensation for Your Overbooked Flight

If your flight was overbooked and you were then denied boarding, then you could be eligible for compensation. Here are the rules:

  1. Your flight must have been overbooked
  2. You must have been involuntarily denied boarding (if you took a voucher for a later flight, you’re no longer eligible for compensation because that means you were voluntarily denied boarding)
  3. Your new flight must have sent you to your destination more than one hour after your original flight was set to arrive

*In the case of overbookings, an airline cannot claim “extraordinary circumstances” to get out of paying compensation. Read more about this ruling here.

*Special Note About Connecting Flights

If you’ve experienced a delay, cancellation, or overbooking with a connecting flight in the past three years, you may be eligible for compensation. But the law in regards to connecting flights can be a bit more confusing.

All of the rules above apply except:

*For connecting flights, your eligibility for compensation due to delay, cancellation, or overbooking depends on the total delay en route to your final destination.

*If you booked connecting flights on two separate airlines, then each of these flights are considered to be separate. Therefore the “final destination” will be considered the final destination of each individual flight, not of your whole trip.

How to File a Claim for Compensation

Did your flight’s criteria make the list? Even if one of your most recent flights didn’t make the list, disrupted flights from up to three years ago could be eligible for compensation. You can find out even more about this and other airline passenger rights by reading your airline’s contract of carriage. And if perusing legal jargon isn’t your thing, you can use the AirHelp scanner to find out if any of your past flights might be eligible for compensation!

If your most recent or up to three year old flight made the list, go ahead and file a claim for compensation. We need to hold airlines accountable to the law – don’t miss the chance to be given the compensation you deserve!

Image Credit: Giuseppe Milo

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