Flight Compensation

EC 261/2004 was established by European Union law in order to protect passengers' rights during any flight inconveniences. It states that passengers have the right to claim compensation from their airline under certain circumstances, such as flight cancellations, long flight delays, and being denied boarding. If the airline under investigation falls under the criteria outlined by EC 261/2004, passengers will be able to hold the airline legally and financially liable for the inconvenience.

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Regulations regarding flight compensation

According to the EC 261/2004, any passenger that faces disruption to their flight may have the right to claim for financial compensation from the responsible airline. To be eligible, the flight must have departed from a European airport or landed in Europe from any destination around the world with a European carrier. As outlined by the regulation EC 261/2005, airlines can be held financially and legally accountable for several circumstances including a flight delay that lasted longer than three hours, a flight that has been canceled fewer than 14 days before the departure date, and a passenger being denied boarding to their flight.

However, if the inconvenience was caused by extraordinary circumstances, such as a severe change of weather, an unruly passenger, an act of terrorism, or an air traffic/airport strike then the airline isn't obligated to compensate. If you have experienced such an inconvenience in the past three years on a flight that falls under all the outlined criteria, you may be able to seek up to $700 in compensation or a full or partial refund of your original ticket.

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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