If delayed flights cause passengers to arrive more than 3 hours after their planned arrival time at the destination, passengers can claim up to $700 in compensation under EU regulation EC 261. Compensation for flight delays is dependent on several factors, which AirHelp can help clarify. Compensation claims for delayed EU flights can be made within 3 years of when the flight was scheduled.
To start with, regulation EC 261 only covers flight delays occurring within the EU, operated by an EU-headquartered airline arriving into the EU, or departing from an EU country to any destination. In such cases, if the flight is delayed for more than 3 hours from its scheduled departure time for reasons the airline could have prevented (for example engineering issues and staff strikes), and the passenger checked into the flight on time (usually 45 minutes before scheduled take-off), then passengers may claim monetary compensation.
The amount of compensation depends on the length of the delay and the flight distance or duration. Note that the right to compensation for delayed flights under EC 261 still applies even if the airline has already offered other forms of compensation such as food or airport vouchers. Public officials or passengers traveling for business are covered independently for flight delays under EC 261: it is not the company or public office that receives compensation for the individual's inconvenience.
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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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