Flight Delays And Cancellations

Few things are as irritating as turning up an airport, anticipating a relaxing break abroad, only to find that your flight has been held up or - even worse - that the flight has been completely canceled. In those cases, travelers can have their vacations ruined, miss vital business meetings, or lose precious moments with family and friends. But there are ways to claim compensation when flight delays or cancelations happen.

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What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

This article applies to flight delays and cancellations into and out of the European Union - so we're not talking about flights to the Caribbean or Asia. Even so, millions of Americans fly to Europe every year, and a big number of those travelers experience delays. When that happens, a regulation called EU 261/2004 could become your best friend. This regulation is little known among US fliers, but it offers generous compensation for flight delays and cancelations and has surprisingly wide scope. For example, if your flight to Paris or Rome is delayed by as little as 3 hours, you can claim financial compensation. And the longer the delay, the more money passengers can claim - up to a maximum of around $700.

Cancelations are also covered. If passengers are informed of cancellations less than 14 days before departure, and the flight happened in the past 3 years, there's a very good chance that compensation is available. However, the fault must lie with the airline, so extreme weather probably won't qualify. Nonetheless, this leaves a huge spectrum of situations where airlines have made mistakes and let passengers down. If this sounds like it applies to you, get in touch. AirHelp is always ready to assist with claims under EU 261/2004.

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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