Air Passenger Rights for Flight Delays and Cancellations

Air Passenger Rights: Your Rights to Reimbursement

Many of you travel throughout the year, and sometimes you may have problems with your flight.

In certain cases, you may have the right to compensation or refund. We can help you understand your air passenger rights and claim what you’re entitled to.

Provide us with your flight details and check how much you may claim following the EU Regulation 261 of 2004.

Air Passenger Rights

As an air passenger, you might be eligible for compensation for flight delays and cancellations. What many passengers don’t realize is that certain rights can entitle them to compensation, providing a safety net during their travels.

As per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there are nearly 60 distinct national air passenger rights in play worldwide. To help you navigate these, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide detailing your rights under US, EU, and International regulations.

Read on to ensure you’re well-versed with your entitlements next time you take to the skies!

EU Air Passenger Rights

If your flight has been delayed, cancelled, or you’ve been denied boarding due to overbooking, don’t worry! Under the European Union’s Regulation EC 261/2004, you may be entitled to a compensation of up to €600. However, it’s important to note that this applies if your delay exceeds 3 hours upon reaching your final destination.

Wondering if you’re eligible? Check out our the comprehensive guide to flight delay compensation and make sure you’re not missing out on what you’re owed…

How much can I claim for a delayed flight?

Understanding the amount you could potentially claim due to a delayed flight is straightforward. It’s all based on the distance of your intended journey:

  • If your journey is less than 1500 km, you could claim up to €250.
  • For flights ranging from 1501 to 3500 km, the compensation amount rises to €400.
  • Lastly, for longer flights of more than 3500 km, you’re eligible to claim up to €600.

Here’s the table below to understand how much you may claim for a delayed flight:

Distance less than 1500 km 1501 to 3500 km more than 3500 km
Claim Amount €250 €400 €600*

* However, there’s a small condition to bear in mind: if your flight exceeding 3500 km doesn’t cross EU borders, your claim amount could be reduced by 50%, meaning you may receive up to €300, instead of the full €600.

Can I claim under the EU 261 Rule if I have a different nationality?

Don’t worry if you are not an EU citizen, you can still claim compensation under the EU 261 Regulation. All passengers, regardless of nationality, are entitled to delayed flight compensation under certain conditions:

  • Your flight has been delayed by more than 3 hours upon reaching your final destination.
  • Your flight either departed from an EU airport or landed at an EU airport operated by an EU-registered airline.
  • The delay wasn’t due to extraordinary circumstances, such as severe weather conditions or security concerns.

These rules mean that you’re protected and could be entitled to compensation, no matter where you’re from!

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

Which is the best company to claim flight compensation?

As the leading flight delay claim company, we at ClaimFlights put your needs first. Even after our 25% service charge, you’ll be walking away with 75% of your compensation. Opt for ClaimFlights and experience the advantage of superior payout.

The following table compares flight claim companies’ payout to determine the best company to claim flight compensation.

Your payout* (as Flight Delay Compensation)
for less than 1500 km for 1501 to 3500 km for more than 3500 km
ClaimFlights €187.50 €300 €450
Flightright €125.75 €201.20 €301.80
AirHelp €125 €200 €300
ClaimCompass €125 €200 €300
SkyRefund €125 €200 €300

Source: Price comparison of flight delay claim companies, as of July 2023.

Country-wise time limit to file the claim

Do remember that your right to claim under EU law does eventually expire, and the timeframe varies from country to country. It’s crucial to note that the relevant country here isn’t based on your nationality, but rather the location of the airline’s headquarters, or the jurisdiction of the court overseeing the aircraft.

So, always ensure you’re aware of these details to avoid missing out on your entitlement. Here’s a handy chart for you to determine the time limit to file your compensation claim:

Central Europe Limitation Period
Austria 3 years
Czech Republic 3 years
Germany 3 years
Hungary 5 years
Poland 1 year
Slovakia 2 years
Slovenia 2 years
Northern Europe Limitation Period
Denmark 3 years
Estonia 3 years
Finland 3 years
Iceland 2 years
Ireland 6 years
Latvia 1 year
Lithuania 3 years
Norway 3 years
Sweden 4 years
United Kingdom 6 years
Western Europe Limitation Period
Belgium 1 year
France 5 years
Luxembourg 10 years
Netherlands 2 years
Switzerland 2 years
Southern Europe Limitation Period
Cyprus 6 year
Greece 5 years
Italy 2 years
Malta 10 years
Portugal 3 years
Spain 5 years
Eastern Europe Limitation Period
Bulgaria 1 year
Croatia 3 years
Romania 3 years

US Air Passenger Rights

Tarmac Delay Rule

US Rule 240

Tarmac Delay Rule

The 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 ground due to denied boarding, flight delays, or missed connecting flights or any kind of flight disruption.
Among the other Regulations, it states the following:

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

You can find clear information about it on the US government’s Department of Transportation Website
Alternatively, you may read further about it on the websites of United, American Airlines, or any other airline, as the airline contract of carriage varies among different carriers.

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

Following the Tarmac Delay Rule, airlines are obliged to report 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, these rules have some exceptions, and the 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 an air traffic control specialist denies landing the plane, which would increase the distance of the flight or interrupt air terminal exercises.
  • Political and Social 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 face any difficulties.

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.

The US has no fixed federal rule on paying compensation for a delayed flight 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 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 delayed or cancelled flights.

Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99)

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

A resolution came into effect as of 4 November 2003 and it 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 136 states along with EU 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 – Basis Of Claim).

Warsaw Convention was 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.

Note: At present, ClaimFlights only helps with EU air passenger rights. To claim under US air passenger rights or other rights, contact the airlines or regulatory body directly.

Esenia Ulbrich

Esenia Ulbrich

Founder & Legal Head

Esenia Ulbrich is the founder of ClaimFlights and heads the legal team. She holds a master's in business administration and loves sailing in the Saronic Gulf, hiking in the Alpes, and spending time with her daughter.

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