Eu Regulation 261 2004

The regulation known as EC 261/2004 was created by the European Union to protect passengers' rights when flights don't go as planned. This regulation gives passengers rights and holds the airlines financially accountable. It outlines the refunds, compensation, and reimbursements that passengers may claim from an airline under specific circumstances. If you ever have experienced a delayed or canceled flight, were denied boarding, or maybe even had a flight rerouted in the past three years, you should know more about how the EU regulation 261/2004 may help you claim for compensation.

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All you need to know about EU Regulation 261/2004

In comparison to other regulations regarding passenger rights, EC 261/2004 is one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation. It plays an important role for both European and non-European passengers who experience air travel inconvenience during their trip. It covers all passengers that travel from a European airport or travel into Europe with a European carrier from any destination around the world. When passengers face flight issues, they should know that the airline is legally and financially responsible for the situation.

If the specific scenario, flight, and destination fit all the criteria outlined by the EU regulation 261/2004, passengers may be able to claim up to $700 per person in compensation. However, passengers are not entitled to compensation if the disrupted flight faced extraordinary circumstances, including political unrest, inclement weather such as lightning, air traffic control strikes, or security risks such as terrorist acts or unruly passengers.

AirHelp is here to help you get compensation for flight delays and cancellations. Find out what you could be entitled to.

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About AirHelp

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:

Claim up to $700 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, canceled, or overbooked within the last 3 years.

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How Much Flight Compensation?

DistanceCompensation
All flights under 1,500 kmUp to €250 per person
Internal EU flights over 1,500 kmUp to €400 per person
Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 kmUp to €400 per person
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 kmUp 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.


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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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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