Documents You Need To Claim Compensation for a Delayed or Cancelled Flight

Claiming compensation for delayed or cancelled flights is streamlined with the right documents and our comprehensive guide.
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Many travelers underestimate the importance of keeping records and gathering evidence when their flights are delayed.

However, having proper documentation is essential to strengthen your case and increase the chances of a successful claim.

In this article, we will explore why documentation plays a vital role in claiming compensation for delayed flight and provide you with valuable insights on what document you should keep ready to maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Your Rights on Delayed Flight

Under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, you may have specific entitlements for delayed flights. Here’s a breakdown of your potential rights:

  • If your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours on arrival at the final destination, you may qualify for compensation of up to 600 euros.
  • For delays of more than 2 hours, the airline is obligated to provide complimentary snacks, meals, and beverages. Additionally, passengers should receive two phone calls and access to email or fax.
  • In cases of delays exceeding 5 hours, you have the right to seek a refund. For overnight delays, airlines should provide hotel accommodation and transportation.
  • Airlines are exempted from compensation claims for extraordinary circumstances, which is beyond their control.
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Why Documentation is Important for Claiming Compensation?

  1. Evidence of the Delay: Documentation serves as evidence of the flight delay compensation. It helps establish the actual departure and arrival times, allowing you to determine if you meet the criteria for compensation according to the airline’s policy or EU regulations.
  2. Supporting Your Claim: Airlines typically require documentation to support your compensation claim. Without proper documentation, your claim may be dismissed or delayed, making it challenging to receive the compensation you are entitled to.
  3. Verifying Passengers and Flights: Documentation is essential for verifying the passengers affected by the delay and the specific flight in question. This information is necessary for the airline or compensation service to process your claim accurately.
  4. Proving Losses and Expenses: If you incurred any additional expenses due to the flight delay, such as accommodation, meals, or transportation, proper documentation is vital to substantiate these claims. Receipts and invoices play a crucial role in supporting your request for reimbursement.
  5. Legal Requirements: EU regulations, such as EU 261, have specific requirements for claiming flight delay compensation. To meet these requirements, you need to provide the necessary documentation to demonstrate eligibility and establish the circumstances of the delay.

Flight Compensation Process

To request flight compensation, follow these steps:

  1. Check if your flight qualifies for compensation under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004.
  2. Gather all relevant documentation, including your flight details, boarding pass, and any records of the disruption.
  3. Contact the airline directly to inform them of the issue and request compensation. Provide them with the necessary information and details about the disruption.
  4. Follow the airline’s specific procedures for compensation claims, which may involve submitting a formal complaint through their website, email, or customer service.
  5. Keep a record of all communications with the airline, including dates and details of your conversations or correspondence.
  6. If the airline denies your claim or fails to respond within a reasonable timeframe, you may escalate the matter by contacting the relevant aviation authority or the National Enforcement Body in your jurisdiction.
  7. Consider seeking legal advice or assistance if necessary, especially if your claim is complex or if you encounter difficulties in obtaining compensation.

Remember to be persistent and thorough in providing the required information to support your compensation claim.

Essential Documentation for Flight Delay Compensation

To ensure a smooth and successful compensation claim process, here are the essential documents you should gather:

1. Flight Information

  • Boarding Passes: Keep your boarding passes as proof of your presence on the affected flight.
  • Ticket Confirmation or Itinerary: Provide the confirmation or itinerary details to validate your booking and flight details.

2. Delay Details

  • Delay Confirmation: Request an official confirmation from the airline specifying the duration of the delay. Or, note the actual arrival time, when you were allowed to deboard the plane.
  • Flight Records: Keep any records or notifications provided by the airline regarding the delay or cancellation.

3. Supporting Documents

  • Receipts: Retain receipts for any additional expenses incurred due to the delay, such as accommodation, meals, or transportation.
  • Invoices: If you had to make alternative travel arrangements, such as booking a new flight, collect the invoices as evidence of the associated costs.

4. Communication Records

  • Correspondence: Save any emails, messages, or letters exchanged with the airline, including communication regarding the delay or compensation claim.
  • Notes: Make detailed notes of any conversations or phone calls with the airline, noting the date, time, and names of the individuals you spoke with.

5. Other Supporting Evidence

  • Photographs: If applicable, take photographs of the departure board or any other relevant visuals that demonstrate the delay or its impact.
  • Witness Statements: If there were other passengers affected by the delay, collect their contact information and request statements corroborating the incident.

Remember, gathering these documents as soon as possible after the flight delay occurs is essential. Delaying the collection of evidence may result in the loss of crucial information or difficulty in obtaining supporting documentation.

Was your flight delayed? You may be eligible for compensation

Has your flight been delayed for more than 3 hours or even canceled? Don't worry, you may be eligible for compensation up to 600€ under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Check if You're Eligible

We offer "No Win - No Fee" Services, so claiming is Risk-Free!

Benefits of Documentation

  1. Stronger Legal Grounds: By providing comprehensive documentation, you present a stronger case, giving you a better chance of success when claiming compensation.
  2. Clarity and Transparency: Documentation provides a clear record of the events and surrounding circumstances of flight delay, ensuring transparency and minimizing any confusion or disputes.
  3. Facilitates Communication: Having proper documentation enables effective communication with the airline, making it easier to present your case and negotiate a fair settlement.

Valid Proof for Flight Compensation

Proper Documentation acts as valid proof for requesting flight compensation and avoiding airline rejection.

Flight Tickets and Boarding Passes: These documents confirm your travel details, including the date, time, and flight number, providing a foundation for your claim.

Confirmation of Delay: If the airline confirms the delay in writing or via email, it serves as crucial evidence.

Witness Statements: Statements from fellow passengers who experienced the same delay can further strengthen your case.

Avoid Rejection from Airlines

  • Complete and Accurate Documentation: Ensure all documents are thorough and error-free to prevent airlines from finding reasons to deny your claim.
  • Consistency with Records: Verify that your flight details accurately match the airline’s records.
  • Official Delay Confirmation: Obtain and include written or emailed confirmation of the delay from the airline.
  • Strength of Documentation: A well-organized and convincing presentation of documents can significantly reduce the chance of claim rejection.
  • Preparation for Legal Steps: Adequate documentation not only persuades the airline but also prepares you for legal proceedings obligations if needed.


When claiming flight compensation, documentation is vital in supporting your case and ensuring a successful claim. It provides evidence of the delay, supports your compensation claim, and helps verify the passengers, flights, and losses incurred.

By collecting and organizing the necessary documents promptly, you increase your chances of receiving the compensation. Remember, when in doubt, consult a reputable EU passenger rights portal like ClaimFlights.

Don’t let a flight delay go uncompensated. Take charge, gather your documentation, and claim what you are entitled to. With proper documentation, you can ensure a smoother claims process and receive the rightful compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can a flight be delayed before compensation?

Three hours or more delays are accountable for consideration for compensation as per the EU law EC 261. This regulation applies to flights departing from any airport within the European Union or those arriving in the EU with an EU-based airline.

The amount of compensation is determined by the flight’s distance, with possible reimbursements ranging from €250 to €600. This policy ensures passenger rights are upheld in cases of significant travel disruptions.

What to do if a flight is delayed or canceled?

If your flight is delayed or canceled, contact the airline’s customer service immediately to understand your options. For delays, ask about compensation, food vouchers, or accommodation.

If canceled, request rebooking on the next available flight. Stay updated on the flight status via the airline’s app or website. For cancellations, check if the airline offers refunds or alternative travel arrangements.

Do airlines have to compensate for delays?

Yes, airlines are often required to compensate passengers for significant delays, especially in regions governed by specific regulations like the EU’s EC 261. The criteria for compensation depend on the duration of the delay, the flight distance, and the region’s air passenger rights laws.

What are you entitled to when your flight is delayed?

When your flight is delayed, entitlements can include financial compensation, assistance such as meals and refreshments, and, in some cases, accommodation if the delay necessitates an overnight stay. The specifics depend on the governing air passenger rights regulations and the airline’s policies.

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Was your flight delayed? You may be eligible for compensation

Has your flight been delayed for more than 3 hours or even canceled? Don't worry, you may be eligible for compensation up to 600€ under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Check if You're Eligible

We offer "No Win - No Fee" Services, so claiming is Risk-Free!

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