Passengers are protected by the EC 261 regulation in the case of canceled flights. If a flight is canceled for reasons within the control of the operating airline, passengers may be entitled to compensation up to the equivalent of $650. Whether or not passengers can make a compensation claim depends on various factors, which are easy to clarify in order to make a claim with the aid of AirHelp.
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Passenger rights and compensation if a flight is canceled
Flight cancellations, as defined in the EC 261 regulation, cover any scheduled flight, with at least one passenger booking, which did not depart due to reasons within the control of the operating airline (including pilot strikes, mechanical issues, or scheduling conflicts). The right to claim compensation exists if the airline only notifies the passenger of the cancellation within 14 days of the scheduled departure time. It covers all flights within the EU, all flights departing from an EU country to outside the EU, and flights originating outside the EU but arriving into an EU country as long as the operating airline is based in the EU, regardless of the passenger's citizenship.
In these cases, the airline must offer passengers a full or partial refund, a seat on the earliest possible flight to their final destination, or to re-book a ticket at a later date of the passenger's choosing. If any of the replacement flights cause significant disruptions to travel plans, then passengers are eligible for compensation. The amount of compensation depends on the length of delay between passengers' original flight and re-scheduled flight, as well as the duration of the canceled flights (the highest levels of compensation are for non-internal EU flights over 3,500 km).
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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