A European regulation known as EC 261/2004 means passengers who have experienced an EU flight cancellation in the past three years are entitled to financial compensation. However, the airline will not be financially or legally responsible if the cancelation was due to extraordinary circumstances which may include extreme weather or security risks. If the passenger's specific case meets all the criteria outlined under the regulation EC 261/2004, then they may claim compensation for the inconvenience.
Under the EC 261/2004 regulation, a flight is considered canceled if the plane has never lifted off from the tarmac. You will be able to claim compensation for an EU flight if it fulfills certain criteria. The flight must have been scheduled to leave Europe or arrive in Europe with a European carrier. The airline responsible for the flight must have notified you of the cancellation less than 14 days before the planned departure date. If you took an alternative flight, the new arrival time must be very different to the original itinerary.
You must have a confirmed reservation of the original flight and this flight must have been scheduled within the past three years. If the cancellations were due to extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather or political unrest, the airline may not be held legally or financially responsible. However, if the EU flight cancellation does fall under all these outlined criteria, you may be able to claim up to $700 per person for the inconvenience.
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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