EC 261/2004 is a regulation that has been established by the European Union to protect air passengers' rights. It says that if a flight is delayed, passengers can claim compensation from the airline, as long as they fall under certain criteria. However, if the flight delay was caused by an extraordinary circumstance, the airline is not held responsible.
EC 261/2004 regulations cover passengers who have experienced any flight delay during a flight that traveled from a European airport or traveled into Europe with a European carrier. Passengers with a flight delay of longer than three hours and that meets all the criteria outlined by the regulation EC 261/2004 may be entitled to financial compensation. The maximum compensation depends on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight.
If the delay was less than three hours long or if the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances, such as severe weather, then passengers can't claim compensation. However, if the flight delay lasted between three and five hours, passengers could claim up to $700 depending on the distance traveled. And if your flight was delayed for over five hours, you can even claim a full or partial refund of your original ticket.
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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.
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