Flight Delay Compensation US

Nobody enjoys being delayed when they are due to take international flights. In fact, delayed flights are one of the most annoying experiences international travelers can encounter, causing missed connections, irritating waits for those at the other end, and stress in airport lounges. Fortunately, compensation is available under a regulation called EU 261/2004. Let's find out more.

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Know your rights when flying to Europe

As the name suggests, EU 261/2004 was passed by the European Union in 2004. But it's only now being recognized as a powerful weapon for international passengers. This simple document sets out a series of rights for passengers and obligations for airlines that fly into or out of the European Union and associated nations. This includes Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Norway, the UK, and Switzerland - so beach or ski vacations, city breaks, and historical tours may well be covered. According to 261/2004, $700 is the maximum flight delay compensation US travelers can claim - which is quite a lot compared to many ticket prices. This amount would apply for long haul flights with extensive (usually overnight) delays.

But even shorter delays can qualify for some compensation. The shortest delays covered are 3 hours, and the time is calculated based on arrival times, not departures. So if your flight makes up time across the Atlantic, you may not qualify. Additionally, compensation is only paid when airlines are at fault. Political unrest, extreme weather, or natural disasters may not be sufficient reasons for payouts. But even so, airlines often make mistakes in responding to exceptional events. And in everyday travel, delays are usually caused by carriers themselves. So get in touch with AirHelp and see if you can claim. Compensation could be on the way.

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?

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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