Air Passenger Rights under EU Regulation 261/2004

Under EU Regulation 261/2004, you have the right to compensation of up to €600 for flight delays of more than 3 hours, flight cancellations without prior notice and denied boarding due to overbooking.

Enter your flight details and check the amount you can claim:

Air Passenger Rights

Air passengers often face disruptions due to flight cancellations and delays. What they aren’t aware of is that there are air passenger rights which make them eligible for compensation, thus securing them while traveling.

According to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), there are approx. 60 different national air passenger regulations.

Here are some of the most important pieces of US, EU, and international air passenger rights.

EU Air Passenger Rights

Your rights under EC261 rule:

If you experienced longer flight delays or flight cancellations without prior notice, or you were denied boarding due to overbooking, you have the right to ask for compensation under European law EC261.

It should be a delay of more than 3 hours at the final destination. Find out how much you can claim using our free flight compensation calculator.

I have a different nationality, can I claim under EU 261 Rule?

You are entitled to flight delay compensation

  • if your flight delays for over 3 hours due to airlines’ fault.
  • your flight was departed from an EU airport or landed at an EU airport with an EU-registered airline.
  • there doesn’t exist extraordinary circumstances such as extreme weather or security threats, which are beyond the control of the airlines.
Origin and Destination EU Airline Non-EU Airline
From Inside EU to Outside EU YES YES
From Inside EU to Inside EU YES YES
From Outside EU to Inside EU YES NO
From Outside EU to Outside EU NO NO

Country-wise time limit to file a claim

The expiration of your entitlement under EC 261 Rule does terminate in the end. The expiration period is different for different countries.

Also, one must note that nation you guarantee isn’t chosen by your nationality, however, is controlled by where the headquarters of the carrier is, or what court has purview in cases concerning the aircraft.

As always, we have a handy chart for you:

Country Limitation Period
Belgium 1 year
Poland 1 year
Iceland 2 years
Netherlands 2 years
Slovakia 2 years
Slovenia 2 years
Switzerland 2 years
Italy 2 years 2 months
Austria 3 years
Croatia 3 years
Czech Republic 3 years
Denmark 3 years
Estonia 3 years
Germany 3 years
Finland 3 years
Portugal 3 years
Romania 3 years
Norway 3 years
Bulgaria 5 years
France 5 years
Greece 5 years
Hungary 5 years
Spain 5 years
Cyprus 6 years
Ireland 6 years
United Kingdom 6 years
Latvia 10 years
Lithuania 10 years
Luxembourg 10 years
Malta 10 years

US Tarmac Delay Rule

The US Tarmac Delay Rule (or Airline Passenger Protections rule EAPP #1 of 2010) is a US air passenger rights rule. It addresses the problem of passengers being stranded on the aboard ground due to denied boarding, flight delays or missed flight connections.

Among the other Regulations, it states the following:

  • Airlines are not allowed to wait in tarmac for more than 4 hours for international flights and over 3 hours for domestic flights.
  • It also protects air travelers against involuntarily denied boarding.
  • Moreover, carriers must keep up “operable lavatories” and provide delayed passengers with essential medical attention at no additional cost.

The details of the Tarmac Delay Rule are quite complex. To understand it clearly, you may read it on the US government’s Department of Transportation Website.

Alternatively, you may read further about it over United or American Airlines or any other airlines website, as the airline contract of carriage differs for different airlines.

You might be entitled to claim up to 400% of your one-way fare back. After a tarmac delay of 2 hours, airlines must also provide with adequate food and water at no extra cost to the passengers.

In accordance with the Tarmac Delay Rule, airlines are obliged to report each and every case and offer unsolicited tarmac delay compensation.

The airline is also obliged to provide a check or cash compensation to passengers who were involuntarily denied boarding.

However, there are some exceptions to these rules and time limit can be extended in case of lengthy tarmac delays. The rules above do not apply in the following extraordinary circumstances:

  • In case the pilot chooses there is a need to keep voyagers on the plane, identifying with safety or security.
  • In case air traffic control specialist denies landing the plane which would basically interrupt air terminal exercises.
  • Political unrest.

Sometimes, the airlines’ excuses with the ‘Act of God’ but every event can’t be the ‘Act of God’. We here help you to understand the clear fact and thus you won’t be facing any difficulties.

We would reveal the true information and would fight any excuses avoiding the compensation that you are entitled to receive.

US Rule 240

In the United States, the governs various aspects of flight. US Rule 240 is not a federal requirement. Compliance with Rule 240 is entirely at the discretion of each airline.

In the US, there is no fixed federal rule on flight delay compensation or air passenger rights.

Rule 240 originates from a time when the airline industry was strongly regulated.

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 allowed the airline industry to define its settings for Rule 240. Many airlines, however, did remain compliant with Rule 240.

Some of the new and low-cost airlines such as JetBlue do not acknowledge Rule 240. Instead, they have come up with their own models of compensating customers

Therefore, it is necessary that you check the airline’s contract of carriage, to claim compensation for flight delays or cancellations.

In Delta’s contract of carriage, if there is a flight cancellation or delay of greater than 90 minutes, it can cancel the remaining ticket and refund the unused portion of the ticket in the original form of payment. If the passenger does not request cancellation and refund of the remaining portion of the ticket, Delta will transport the passenger to the destination on Delta’s next flight on which seats are available in the class of service originally purchased.

The airline has its own contractual terms and conditions of carriage to which the passenger must abide by.

This creates a problem when claiming compensation for flight delays or asserting claims for infringements of other air passenger rights.

In general, it is frequently quite difficult for the consumer to make a claim as this often depends on individual circumstances.

Claim Flights cannot make US claims in compliance with Rule 240. At present, Claim Flights can only help with EU air passenger rights. We cannot help with US air passenger rights.

Worldwide Air Passenger Rights

Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99)

The Montreal Convention establishes airline liability and a modern compensatory regime for the victims of air disasters.

A resolution was adopted following the 38th Assembly of ICAO member states in 2013. It encourages all states that have not yet done so to enact MC99.

The Convention is designed to unify numerous international airline liability treaties. This helps to provide more transparent legislation regarding the international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo. It is currently valid in the US, EU, 110 UN member states and 30 other countries.

The Warsaw Convention 1929

Warsaw Convention defines “international carriage” and sets the rules for airline liability, limitations, and legal jurisdiction. It also requires that carriers issue baggage checks for checked luggage.

The Convention also limits the liability of the carrier. Thus creating a limitation period of two years within which a claim must be brought (Article 29).

Warsaw Convention amended in 1955 at The Hague, Netherlands, and in 1971 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. As of 2015, the Warsaw Convention had been ratified by 152 states.

Esenia Ulbrich

Esenia Ulbrich

Founder & Legal Head

Esenia Ulbrich is the founder of Claim Flights and heads the legal team. She hold a master of business administration and loves sailing in the Saronic Gulf, hiking in the alpes and spents time with her daughter.

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