Delayed flights are a travel nightmare that everyone has experienced, but most passengers traveling in the European Union don't know they're entitled to EU airline compensation when their flight is delayed. When any flight departing from an airport in the European Union, is delayed, passengers can claim compensation, thanks to EC Regulation 261/2004.
This regulation was established in 2005 to preserve the rights of airline passengers in cases of delayed flights, cancellations, being denied boarding, or having their seat downgraded. Since then, legal cases have further defined the law practically and now we know when passengers can claim.
EC 261/2004 enables passengers on any European Union flight that is delayed to claim EU airline compensation. However, passengers don't have to board in Europe to get compensation. When passengers board a European airline in another continent that is delayed, they are still entitled to compensation according to the law. Furthermore, if passengers are delayed on an American or Asian airline that departs from European Union territory, they too are entitled to compensation.
The amount of money you are entitled to varies depending on the distance of your flight, but anyone who is delayed over 3 hours can claim some money back. Passengers who are traveling under 932 miles (1,500 km) can claim a maximum of 300 EUR, while the maximum is 600 EUR.
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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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