Flight Delay Claim? Avoid These Top 7 Mistakes

The Top 7 Mistakes Passengers Make When Making a Flight Delay Claim

Have you ever had the misfortune of landing at your destination hours after your originally scheduled flight time?

If so, you know that a flight delay can quickly turn into a nightmare, leaving you exhausted and scrambling to rearrange plans.

Thankfully, if you were stuck on an EU-regulated airline, you may qualify for compensation under the European Union 261 rule.

But before you claim compensation for your delayed flight, there are a few mistakes to avoid.

At ClaimFlights, we’ve gathered over 6 years of data from thousands of claims to identify the top 7 mistakes passengers make when submitting their flight delay claims.

Read on to learn our insights so that your next flight delay claim is smooth sailing.

Not Knowing About EU261 Rule

Making a flight delay claim is easier said than done. The first mistake that many passengers make is not being aware of their rights under EU261, a rule that protects passengers when their flights are delayed or canceled.

This means that travelers may qualify to receive compensation of between €250 to €600 per person, in addition to other benefits such as meals and hotel accommodations.

In order to get the maximum benefit from the EU261 rule, you must have all the facts about your delay readily available!

Make sure you know what caused your flight delay, the length of the delay, and if you faced any other inconveniences. These will be vital for your claim and help determine if you are eligible for reimbursement or not.

Ignoring the Airline’s Compensation Policies

One of the most common mistakes passengers make when making a flight delay claim is ignoring the airline’s compensation policies. Before filing a claim, you should be familiar with the airline’s rules and regulations.

Understanding your rights will make it easier to negotiate with the airline to get the maximum compensation possible.

For instance, some airlines offer compensation for flight delays of a certain number of hours, while other airlines have specific requirements for filing a claim for a certain type of delay.

It’s important to understand these differences so that you can pursue the right option for you.

Most airlines have their terms and conditions posted on their websites, though you may need to contact their customer service team if you need further clarification.

Also, if you purchased your ticket through an online travel agency (OTA) or another third-party provider, don’t forget that there may be additional requirements and terms related to how they process your flight delay claim.

Investigating all applicable rules ahead of time can save you time and headaches down the road.

Not Keeping All the Documentation

It’s important to keep all the documents related to your flight and not just those that worry you.

That’s because the airline and court could ask for any or all of them including boarding passes, cabin luggage tickets, travel insurance, and correspondence with the airline.

Keep all these documents safe in an accessible location.

That means you need to be prepared for when you make a delayed flight claim.

Specifically, you should:

  1. Keep a paper or digital record of your boarding passes and flight ticket from when you boarded the plane
  2. Make sure to keep copies of emails with the airline, including any communications between their customer support team
  3. Keep any records of travel insurance that reflects your trip before, during, and after it was delayed or canceled
  4. Ensure any other documents related to your trip are kept, such as bank statements showing pre-paid expenses (hotel bookings, etc.)
  5. Retain any other proof that is related to or affects your trip — these can include emails, text messages, or receipts, such as if you had to purchase alternative flights

Waiting Too Long to Make the Claim

When it comes to filing a flight delay claim, timing is key. It’s crucial to make sure you file your claim as soon as possible.

Depending on the airline and the country, you may only have up to 6 months to make a claim.

Waiting too long can be an issue because airlines tend to drag their feet on paying out compensation or you may miss out on other benefits if the statute of limitations has expired.

Here are a few tips for making sure your claim is successful:

  1. Keep all documentation of your delayed flight. This includes boarding passes, emails from the airline, etc.
  2. File at least one written complaint or appeal to the airline within 7 days of the flight delay
  3. Start filing your claim as soon as possible and don’t wait beyond the 6-month statute of limitations
  4. If you’re unsure of exactly what documents you need, consult ClaimFlights or any other flight delay claim companies, to help you guide through the process

Not Being Specific With Your Claim Amount

When it comes to making a flight delay claim, it’s important that you know exactly how much you’re claiming for—because if you don’t, then you risk losing out on the compensation that you’re legally entitled to receive.

To make sure that you get the full amount due to you, here’s what you should do:

  1. Calculate the sum of your lost costs: Start by adding up the costs of your flight—including fare and taxes—plus any extra expenses incurred as a result of the delay, such as food and accommodation.
  2. Figure out your passenger rights: Take into account factors such as the kind of ticket purchased and the airline used to choose an appropriate passenger rights law for making your claim.
  3. Practice due diligence: Make sure that all relevant information is included, such as records of your itinerary and dated receipts from any additional purchases made due to the delay.
  4. Make sure that your claim amount reflects all relevant considerations—that way it’s easier for the airlines to process your application quickly so that you can get your deserved compensation and move on with your life!

Trusting 3rd Parties or Acting Without Guidance

Are you looking for someone to take all the hassle and legwork out of claiming your flight delay compensation?

You might be tempted to search the web, or ask around, and find a third-party claiming company that can do the hard work for you.

But there are three big mistakes that you could make if you don’t fully research your options.

No Knowledge of EU Law

Be wary of any company that isn’t up-to-date with the latest EU legislation and consumer protection laws, like EC 261/2004.

They won’t know about your rights as a passenger as well as an experienced flight delay claim expert.

Hidden Fees or Commissions

When researching third-party companies, look into their fees and commissions.

Find out what services they offer, how much they charge per claim, and how much the success fee will be (if you win).

Don’t get surprised—find out what you’ll be paying upfront.

No Experience with Airlines or Airports

Look at reviews or ask around to see if these third-party claim companies have experience dealing with airlines or airports in your region.

They need to know which legal expertise to use if there’s a dispute and how to work with the airline so they can resolve the issue quickly without cutting corners on your behalf.

Trying to Handle It Yourself Without the Right Experience

Lastly, one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to make a flight delay claim is attempting to do it themselves.

The process can be complicated and it’s easy to make mistakes trying to do this on your own.

It’s important to remember that the airline doesn’t have your best interests at heart, so not all the documentation they provide will be accurate.

Without the right experience and knowledge, you may end up missing out on compensation that you’re entitled to and it might cost you time and money in the long run.

If you don’t have any experience dealing with flight delay claims, then getting help from an expert is always a good idea.

At ClaimFlights, our team of experienced claim experts knows exactly how to get you what you deserve in terms of compensation for delays after all, we’ve been doing this for over 8 years now!

Plus, we offer a no-win no-fee guarantee – so if we fail, you pay nothing!

Which is the best company to claim flight delay compensation?

ClaimFlights is the best flight delay claim company when it comes to the payout after their 25% service fee. Through ClaimFlights, you could get 75% of the receivable compensation.

The following table gives you a direct comparison of flight delay compensation claim companies.

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 8th August 2023.


Filing a flight delay claim doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can be especially if you’re not familiar with what mistakes to look out for.

So to make your experience smoother, remember not to forget to save your e-ticket, double-check the EU 261 regulation, or settle for a voucher instead of asking for money.

Whether it’s your first or third time making a flight delay claim, with the right guidance and help, you can maximize your chances of success.

Take advantage of the flight delay claim companies available to you, such as ClaimFlights, to ensure you get the reimbursement you deserve for your delayed flight.

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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.

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