Plane Delays

Traveling within the EU? Did you know that there is a European Regulation called EC 261 that protects air passengers, entitling you to receive up to $700 in compensation if you experience a lengthy plane delay? What's more, with the AirHelp assistance, making an EC 261 claim and getting the compensation you're owed is both simple and easy.

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Your Rights In The Event of a Plane Delay

EC 261 plays a pivotal role in advocating for the rights of airline passengers. When a disruption like a plane delay is the fault of the airline, EC 261 places the onus on the air carrier to financially compensate its passengers. Of course, there are rules around eligibility, so let's have a look at the most important ones.

The first thing to check is how late you arrived at your final destination if delays meant that you finally landed 3+ hours later than scheduled you may be eligible for compensation. The other big thing to look at is where you are flying from and to. You are eligible to receive compensation in the event of a plane delay if you are flying within the EU or out from any EU country. This also applies to Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the so-called "outermost regions". That's places like French Guiana and Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe, La Reunion, Saint-Martin, Madeira and the Azores, as well as the Canary Islands.

Flying into the EU is a different matter, however. You are covered for flight delays when flying into the EU on a carrier that has its headquarters somewhere in the EU so a flight from Singapore to Paris on American Airlines would not qualify. If your flight happens totally outside the EU then you are not protected by EC 261. It is also important to note that you will not be eligible to make an EC 261 claim if your plane delay was due to extraordinary circumstances, such as airport strikes, security concerns, or inclement weather. In these cases, the airline is not obliged by law to offer financial compensation, since the disruption was caused by events outside of the airline's control. However, if other airlines were prepared for the circumstances and effectively prevented delays, you may be eligible for financial compensation under EC 261.
If that sounds confusing, the simplest way to find out if you are eligible for compensation following flight delay is to use AirHelp Eligibility Checker.

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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