Under EU Regulation EC 261, passengers may be entitled to compensation up to the equivalent of $700 for airline cancelations. Note that not all cancelations are eligible for compensation, and it is dependent on a range of factors and stipulations clearly outlined in EC 261. These factors include when and where the flight was scheduled to depart from or arrive at, how far in advance the airline informed passengers of the cancelation, the reasons why the flight was canceled, and the effects or further disruption caused by any replacement flights onto which the passengers were placed by the airline.
Determining whether a flight has been officially canceled is the first step in claiming compensation for airline cancellations. This is defined by EC 261 as the non-operation of any scheduled flight on which at least one passenger was booked. Following that, even flights that were canceled may not be eligible for airline cancellation compensation if they were caused by factors beyond the airline's control (for example, the weather, medical emergencies, or acts of sabotage).
However, for cases in which the flight was canceled by factors within the airline's control (for example, staff strikes, engineering problems, scheduling changes) then compensation for canceled flights may be claimed under EC 261 (but only if the airline notified passengers of the cancellation less than 14 days before scheduled departure). This is applicable to all flights scheduled to depart from within the EU to any destination and on any airline, and any flights scheduled to arrive into an EU country, either from within the EU, or from outside the EU if the airline is headquartered in the EU.
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AirHelp is the world's largest air passenger rights organization, here to help air travelers secure compensation for delayed, canceled, 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 canceled 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.
Canceled flights: you may be eligible for compensation if your flight was canceled 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 Calculator.
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