It's important to know your rights as a passenger when you travel by air, as unexpected turns can cause your flight to be disrupted or delayed. Thanks to the EC 261 regulation, if you're flying into or out of the EU, you may be eligible to receive compensation or benefits if you experience flight disruptions.
Airline compensation for delayed flights is a result of your flight being canceled, overbooked, downgraded, or in cases where your luggage was damaged or lost, or you were denied boarding. In these circumstances, EC 261 makes it the responsibility of the airline to make sure their passengers get the compensation they are entitled to.
You will be covered by EC 261 if your flight flies out of any of the 28 EU countries (including the French Antilles, the Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands - though not the Isle of Man nor the Channel Islands). You will also be covered if you're flying into the EU, as long as the airline is headquartered in the EU. If, for example, you fly from the UK to the United States with American Airlines, you will be covered by EC 261.
The easiest way to find out if you are covered under EC 261 is to use the AirHelp Eligibility Checker. Travelers who've had flights canceled due to airport strikes, inclement weather, security concerns, or anything cited under EC 261 as an "extraordinary circumstance" are not eligible for airline compensation for delayed flights. However, the airline must show that it has taken reasonable measures to prevent delays.
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:
|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
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.
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
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