The EC 261/2004 is a regulation established by the European Union law to protect air passengers' rights in situations like cancellations. Thanks to the regulation, passengers may be entitled to claim for compensation or reimbursement from the responsible airline if their flight is cancelled. If you have experienced a plane cancellation in the past three years, you should be aware of the rights that you may claim. However, the EC 261/2004 regulations also say that if the cancellation was caused by an extraordinary circumstance, the airline is not responsible.
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Information Regarding Plane Cancellations
According to the regulation EC 261/2004, a flight that does not leave the tarmac can be labelled as a cancelled flight. A passenger may claim for compensation if the flight was scheduled to depart from a European airport or land in Europe while using a European carrier. The airline must have notified the passengers about the cancellation less than 14 days before the scheduled date of departure and the arrival time of the new scheduled flight must be different from the arrival time of the cancelled flight.
The passenger must have a confirmed reservation for the cancelled flight, and the flight under investigation must have taken place in the past three years. However, if the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances, the airline is not held responsible. This includes severe weather or security risks. All passengers that had cancelled flights that meet the criteria outlined by EC 261/2004 may claim up to $700 per person as compensation.
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:
How Much Flight Compensation?
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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