European Union Regulation 261 protects passengers' rights while flying, so when there's a flight delay money can be claimed back. Passengers are entitled to compensation whenever their flight is delayed over 3 hours, but the amount varies depending on the length of the delay. Most passengers begin the process of claiming money back when they return home, but passengers are entitled to some compensation at the airport.
When flights are delayed more than 3 hours, airlines must provide passengers with food and drink, a hotel room if the delay lasts the night, and transport to the airport, if passengers need to stay in a hotel.
Any passenger can claim flight delay money back, as long as their delay occurred under these circumstances. Passengers can claim money if their plane takes off from any airport in the European Union or is scheduled to land in an airport in an EU Member State, as long as their flight is operated by an EU airline. The most compensation that passengers can get is $700 (600 EUR). This is only awarded for flights that were delayed by over 4 hours and cover a distance of 2,174 miles (3,500 km). The maximum money back that passengers on flights that travel under 932 miles (1,500 kilometers) can claim is 250 EUR.
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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.
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:
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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.
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
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