Flight Delay Compensation United States

Being delayed when flying isn't just annoying. It can ruin vacations, eating into your precious leisure time. It can leave relatives stranded without information, awaiting your arrival. And it's a needless source of stress as well. Fortunately, there are ways to claim compensation for many flight delays, especially if the flights in question involve European airports.

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Find out whether you can claim compensation for delays

Although many American travelers seem to be unaware, the European Union has set out thorough regulations to protect passenger rights, and these rights extend to them. The regulation in question is called EU 261/2004, and it's something every traveler should be aware of. Under 261/2004 travelers can claim compensation for delayed arrivals of over 3 hours, providing their flight involves an EU airport. All flights that leave an EU airport are covered, as are those arriving at one as long as the carrier is based in Europe. So, if your flight leaves Berlin or Rome, and arrives at JFK late, or if you arrive in Amsterdam in the dead of night, compensation may be available.

The amount of flight delay compensation United States travelers can claim varies. There's a maximum of $700 (excluding accommodation and food costs, which airlines may have to cover). But even short delays can incur penalties of $200 or more. Delayed flights can take off or land in any EU nation, along with associated nations like Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway (or the UK). But the airline must be at fault to some degree. Claims probably won't be accepted if extreme weather situations were to blame, although be sure to check the status of your claim. 261/2004 covers a wide variety of scenarios, and payouts aren't hard to obtain. If you think you may be eligible, AirHelp is here to assist you with the claims process.

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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