The European Union established a regulation known as EC 261/2004 to protect passengers' rights in case of any inconvenience during air travel. It states that passengers are entitled to financial compensation from the airline if they are affected by long flight delays, short-notice cancellations, or are denied boarding. If you have been affected by one of these, you may be able to claim compensation thanks to EC 261/2004.
Passengers who have experienced a disruption to their flight can claim EC 261 compensation from the airline of the specific flight. To be eligible, the flight must have departed from the EU with any airline or landed in the EU while being operated by a European airline. According to the regulation EC 261/2004, airlines will be held financially accountable for flight delays that lasted longer than three hours, for cancellations with less than 14 days notice given, and for denying boarding to a passenger with a valid plane ticket.
However, these regulations may not apply in extraordinary circumstances such as an extreme change of weather, an unruly passenger, an act of terrorism, or an air traffic/airport strike. If your situation fits the criteria above, you may be able to claim up to $700 or a full or partial refund of your original ticket.
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:
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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AirHelp is a part of the Association of Passenger Rights Advocates (APRA) whose mission is to promote and protect passengers’ rights.
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