Flight Delay Rights

If you take regular international flights, you'll definitely be familiar with delays. Delayed flights feel like a fact of life for frequent fliers, causing annoyance and stress whenever they occur. But did you know that it's possible to claim compensation when these delays occur? If you are flying into or out of the European Union (EU), there are some flight delay rights that all travelers should know about. Let's look at them in more detail.

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These flight delay rights have been laid down in a key regulation called EU 261/2004. This document was passed by the EU in an attempt to regulate the behavior of all airlines operating within the European region. It applies to the 28 EU nations (such as Sweden, Spain, France, or Belgium), as well as the UK, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. And it's a very useful tool to know about when delays take place. That's because EC 261/2004 sets out a clear range of flight delay rights, which can result in significant compensation. Basically, the regulation states that if flights from the EU, or into the EU on a European airline, reach their destination more than 3 hours late, passengers are entitled to up to $700 in compensation.

The amount isn't fixed and will vary depending on how far passengers had to fly, and how late the flight was. But even moderate delays usually result in payouts of $200-$300. Flights must have been taken in the past 3 years (so there may be scope to claim for last year's vacation), and the delays need to be the fault of the airline. This covers staffing and technical issues and has very wide applicability. To find out more and make a claim, contact AirHelp, and get compensated for aviation errors.

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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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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