Airline Delay Compensation
Under EC 261/2004, a European Union law which establishes regulations regarding passengers rights in case of any disruptions during their flights, passengers have the right to claim compensation for a delay. According to these regulations, airlines can be held financially and legally accountable if there is a flight delay that lasted longer than three hours and was not caused by any extraordinary circumstances. If you have experienced a flight delay in the past three years that lasted longer than three hours, you may be able to claim for financial compensation.
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Regulations Regarding Airline Delay Compensation
The EC 261/2004 was created to protect all passengers that have experienced inconvenience while on a flight from a European airport or into Europe with a European carrier from any destination around the world. If you took a flight that had a delay of more than three hours and fulfils the criteria outlined by the regulations, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The total amount of financial compensation you may claim from the airline is dependent on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight.
If your flight delay lasted between three and five hours, you could claim up to $700 depending on the distance traveled. Lastly, if your flight was delayed for over five hours, you may even claim for a full or partial refund of your original ticket. However, the airline is not held responsible for any legal or financial matters if the delay caused by any extraordinary circumstances, which may include severe weather, terrorist acts, or an unruly passenger.
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.
Claiming Compensation for Flight Delays and Cancellations
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:
How Much Flight Compensation?
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.
What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Canceled
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
- Hold onto your boarding pass and other travel documents.
- Ask why the flight was delayed or canceled.
- Request food, drinks, and if necessary, free transport and hotel accommodation.
- If you had a canceled flight, ask for an alternative flight or a refund.
- Keep all receipts of any extra expenses you may have had, including necessary food, clothing, etc.
- Be careful not to sign any waivers or accept vouchers that will require you to waive your right to compensation.
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