Flight Delay Compensation: Claim under EU Law
Was your flight delayed? For flight delays, you may claim flight delay compensation up to 600€ per person under European Regulation EC 261 of 2004. You only have to pay a small provision to us if we are successful in getting compensation for your delayed flight.
Use our free flight delay compensation calculator below to check how much you may receive for your delayed flight. Assign us to claim on your behalf on a “No Win No Fee” base.
Flight Delay Compensation Calculator
In this guide, we cover
Flight Delays – Can You Get Compensation for Delayed Flights?
Rushed to the airport with heavy baggage and finding out your plane to be late can be quite frustrating indeed.
Thankfully, by the EU law known as EC 261, you could be eligible for compensation or refund for flight delays.
Under EU Law, air travelers are qualified for compensation for delayed flights if the flight was delayed on arrival.
Under the EU Law (EC Regulation 261), you may claim delayed flight compensation depending on the following factors …
- You reached the final destination with a delay of more than three hours
- Your departure was from the EU airport or arrival at the EU airport with the EU-regulated airline
- And the delay wasn’t caused due to extraordinary circumstances or situations beyond the airlines’ control.
Airline Delays? What are Your Rights?
Can I get compensated for more than 2 hours delay flight?
If you experience flight delays of more than 2 hours, the airlines are responsible for the “right to care”.
Your “right to care” is an obligation for the airline to offer you:
- free meals and refreshments, proportionally to the length of the delay. It can be in the form of meal or meal vouchers.
- 2 free phone calls, email, or fax service. So you can make arrangements or inform relatives who are supposed to pick you up or cancel a rental car, etc.
- hotel accommodation & transport facility for an overnight delay.
You may get compensation for a delayed flight if it was late for more than 3 hours at the final destination.
Note: The airline has an obligation to display the relevant information regarding your passenger rights and the content of EC 261 at the check-in counter.
When do airlines compensate you for delays?
When you fly inside the EU, or if your flight departed from the EU airport, you are protected by EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation EC 261/2004, which states that you are eligible for financial compensation up to 600€ for delayed or cancelled flights.
If extraordinary circumstances didn’t cause the flight delay, EU law gives you the privilege to get compensated for long delays.
Can a delayed flight be undelayed?
Yes, it may happen.
The airline company may arrange another plane at the same time. Thus, it’s always safe to reach the airport at check-in time.
If you were notified through a text message or an email of the flight problem, you may reach the airport 2 hours before your flight.
Also, a flight delayed at departure can be undelayed on arrival if there’s no air traffic congestion.
Reasons why flights are delayed?
There are multiple reasons behind flight disruptions. Some reason for flight delay falls under the direct control of the airlines, such as aircraft turnarounds between flights, Air passengers’ punctuality, mechanical problems, crew members’ performance, etc.
On the other hand, other delayed flight reasons beyond the airlines’ control are airport delays due to weather, air traffic control, security, etc.
Some other reasons why your flight is delayed are mentioned below:
- Air Traffic Control restrictions
- Unfavorable weather conditions
- Waiting for connecting passengers
- Waiting for crew members
- Technical problems
- Late Arriving Aircraft
- Bird Strikes
You Must Read: Why are so many flights delayed today?
Are you entitled to compensation for a delayed flight?
If a delay occurs on arrivals for more than 3 hours, you are legally entitled to financial compensation from the airlines under European Regulation EC 261/2004. And the amount of compensation is between 250€ to 600€.
It doesn’t matter if you have citizenship outside the EU. To qualify for reimbursement, the delay should be at the final destination. Your flight must have departed from EU airport or arrived at EU airport with an EU-regulated airline.
Are you eligible for compensation if not an EU citizen?
You may claim under EU law, even though you are not an EU citizen. EU law applies to everyone around the world. It doesn’t matter whichever citizenship you hold.
Following are the conditions when you can claim delayed flight compensation under EU law, based on your original and final destination:
|Origin and Destination||EU-regulated Airline||Non-EU regulated Airline|
|EU ✈ EU||✅Yes||✅Yes|
|EU ✈ Non-EU||✅Yes||✅Yes|
|Non-EU ✈ EU||✅Yes||❌No|
|Non-EU ✈ Non-EU||❌No||❌No|
- if your flight departed from a Non-EU airport with a Non-EU-regulated airline.
- if the original and destination airport were outside the EU member states.
We add more benefits to passengers outside the EU. No VAT is applicable when you enforce your rights through ClaimFlights.
How Much Compensation For A Delayed Flight?
Flight delay compensation amounts vary between 250 Euros to 600 Euros. It depends on the length of the delay and route distance.
Here’s the table below to let you understand “how much compensation you may get for delayed flights”:
|Compensation Amount||Length of Delay||Route Distance|
|250€||3+ hours||less than 1500 km|
|400€||3+ hours||between 1500 to 3500 km|
|600€||4+ hours *||more than 3500 km|
Note: We have dealt with several thousands of flight delay cases. And, we have successfully claimed up to 600€ for each of our customers. With a 99% win record, we can confidently say that we will get your money back.
How long does a flight have to be delayed for compensation?
If your flight has been delayed for more than 3 hours at the final destination, you are eligible for compensation under EU law.
Your flight should have departed from an EU airport or arrived at an EU airport with an EU-regulated airline.
Should I accept flight delay compensation in cash or a flight voucher?
It can be pretty frustrating when you get to know that your flight was delayed. You contacted the airline’s customer support to request compensation for your inconvenience.
But all that the airlines may offer you is reimbursement in the form of flight vouchers. Before accepting flight vouchers, you should first check if other options are available. You might be entitled to something much better.
EU regulations clearly state that compensation for delayed flights should be paid in cash, electronic bank transfer, or cheques. Unless the air passenger chooses to accept travel vouchers or other services in place of monetary compensation.
Do I have to accept vouchers for flight delay compensation?
No. An Airline voucher’s value is generally lower than the amount of compensation you are entitled to, something much better. The only voucher you must accept from the airline is a meal voucher.
Can you get money back if your flight is delayed?
Under EU passenger rights law, it is possible to claim your money back if your flight was delayed for more than 3 hours. Airlines are obliged to provide a full refund to air passengers if a flight is
significantly delayed and the air traveler chooses not to travel. However, airlines will look at whether your flight costs are necessary or not.
How to get compensation for airline delays?
If you are in a situation where you need to request compensation for your airline delay, follow these simple steps:
First, Contact the airline customer service at the airport. The airline staff (Customer Service Assistants) may help you by providing information about your rights and the process to file a compensation or refund. Or, search out the airline’s website or call their customer services department to describe your situation and claim directly.
Second, contact a flight compensation company if you are not confident of claiming directly from the airline or they rejected your claim. They know all your rights. They can help you with airline delay compensation. Compare yourself which is the best company to claim delayed flight compensation based on their flight delay fees and customer reviews from US or residents outside the EU.
Third, to save the commission from the claim companies, we recommend you to use our free flight delay compensation letter and claim on your own. This process can take longer, or even airlines may reject it, citing some unavoidable circumstances beyond their control.
Are infants entitled to compensation for delayed flights?
When you are flying with a baby or kid, if you paid the partial cost of the ticket, it is possible that your kid too deserves compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.
Whereas, if you hadn’t paid for the ticket, i.e., infants flying free of cost fall outside the scope of EC Regulation, and they wouldn’t be entitled to compensation.
Know All Your Rights as an Air Passenger
EU law Flight Compensation Regulation EC 261/2004 protects air passengers with compensation for delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights. Whereas there are certain conditions to be eligible for compensation, the departure must be from an EU airport or arrival at an EU airport with an EU-regulated airline.
EU Flight Compensation Rules
For flight delays of more than 3 hours, you could be entitled to claim flight compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.
The EU delayed flight compensation follows some rules, though …
- You should have been delayed for more than 3 hours on arrival
- You should have departed from an EU airport or landed at an EU airport with an EU-regulated airline
- The cause of flight delay shouldn’t be due to extraordinary circumstances.
European flight delay compensation rules are valid for all passengers who departed from an EU airport or arrived at an EU airport with a delay of more than 3 hours. You do not have to be an EU citizen or resident of an EU country to claim under EU law.
EC 261 EU Air Passenger Rights
Can I get a refund if my flight is delayed?
Under EU Regulation EC No 261/2004, if airlines delayed your flight for more than 5 hours and choose not to travel, airlines are obliged to provide a full refund. Airlines have to compensate for delayed flights of more than 3 hours at the final destination.
Flight departure delays
If there’s delay at departure, you are eligible for “Right to Care”. The airlines must offer:
For 2 Hours Flight Delays
For 5 Hours Flight Delays
Plus, compensation of up to 600 Euros, if you reached your final destination later than three hours.
Business Traveler’s Rights (Flight Delay Compensation Business Trip)
Counting business trips under working hours will affect your compensation. Reimbursement for flight disruptions during working hours mostly goes to the employer. And during private and unpaid hours, it goes to the passenger.
A recent European court ruling confirms that only the passenger who traveled can ask for reimbursement, not the one who paid for the ticket.
Do airlines have to compensate for delays on package holidays?
According to the EU law Directive 90/314/EEC, air passengers also get protection for tour packages, vacation packages, holiday packages, and travel packages.
The rule applies only to packages purchased within the EU Member States. However, if the trip is scheduled for a destination outside the EU, you get this protection even then.
Your schedule should have an explicit mention of the route, destination, as well as transport facility. It is essential to have this data.
The trip organizer must mention the time and location of the flights’ connections and stopovers in written form.
If anything is missing from the data mentioned above, it is solely the responsibility of the tour organizer.
If the terms and conditions are not appropriately met, the airlines can revise the compensation price.
How long can a flight be delayed before compensation?
To claim compensation for a delayed flight, your flight should have arrived later than 3 hours at the final destination.
No compensation for less than 3 hours delay.
What happens if you miss a connecting flight because of a delay?
In case of missed connection due to a delay of more than 3 hours after your scheduled arrival time, the affected passengers can ask for a refund of the ticket cost for the part of the journey not covered. And a return ticket to the original destination.
Whereas, if the airline provides alternate transportation, and the passenger reaches the destination later than three hours, they are even eligible for compensation.
Note: In order to claim compensation for missed connection due to delays or cancellations under EC 261, the passenger must book the entire journey under one ticket or one booking reference.
US Flight Delay Compensation Rights
Under US Air Passenger Rights, air passengers aren’t much benefited as compared to European Passenger Rights when the flight is canceled or delayed.
However, some US regulations still protect air travelers in case of flight lateness, such as tarmac delays.
According to the US DOT (Department of Transportation), airlines are not required to compensate passengers when their flights are delayed. If the US air travelers experience a tarmac flight delay of 2 hours or more, they are entitled to refreshments such as food and water. Airlines must provide their passengers with free snacks, drinking water, bathroom access, and medical attention.
Compensation is required by US law only when you were ‘bumped’ from a flight involuntarily or for delayed, damaged, or lost baggage.
NOTE: We can only help you with a refund or compensation that falls under EU law. For US flight delay compensation, you may contact directly the airlines for reimbursement.
Tarmac Delay Rule
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has set specific rules like the Tarmac Delay Rule for airline passengers, which provides some benefits over tarmac delays.
US Tarmac Delay Rule addresses the problem of passengers being stranded on the ground aboard aircraft, denied boarding, and flight delays.
Airlines must provide snacks and drinking water for delays over 2 hours during a tarmac delay.
It states, among other regulations, that airlines are not allowed to wait for more than four hours on international flights or over three hours on domestic flights and also protects air travelers against involuntarily denied boarding.
Global Delayed Flights Regulations: The Montreal Convention
The Montreal Convention (MC99) 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 132 countries, including the USA, Canada, India or Russia, and all EU member states.
What are extraordinary circumstances?
The term’ extraordinary circumstances’ can apply to events where the airlines delayed their flights due to something out of their control.
European Regulation 261/2004 states that airlines are not responsible for flight delays caused by extraordinary circumstances, and they are not required to compensate passengers.
Extraordinary circumstances are the conditions – beyond airlines’ control – that cause flight disruption, despite taking reasonable preventive measures.
Such conditions are uncontrollable; thus no compensation in such cases. Whereas, if there’s news on other airlines in operation, there could be chances to reimburse.
If the airline can prove that the lateness was caused by an extraordinary circumstance that couldn’t be ignored, even if all reasonable measures had been taken, no compensation is payable.
Can you claim for delays due to extraordinary circumstances?
|☛Can you claim compensation for delayed flights due to weather?|
|☛Do Airline strikes fall under extraordinary circumstances?|
|☛Can you claim if there was a technical fault with the plane?|
|☛Do airlines have to compensate for delayed flights?|
Can you claim compensation for delayed flights due to weather?
Bad weather conditions have a significant bearing on safe flight operations. Airlines can thus deny compensation claims for bad weather delays since the safety factor cannot be compromised.
However, constant or customary “normal bad weather conditions” at any airport cannot be considered an “extraordinary” situation there, and the cancellations or delays are not justified in such cases.
Do Airline strikes fall under extraordinary circumstances?
Earlier, airlines have claimed that strikes action falls into the exceptional circumstances category. Still, the Currently, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) conclusively ruled that an organized strike by staff “does not fall under the extraordinary circumstances.“
Can you claim if there was a technical fault with the plane?
Yes, passengers are entitled to claim compensation in the case of flight delay due to technical problems as it’s not considered an extraordinary circumstance according to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Do airlines have to compensate for delayed flights?
Yes, under EU law, airlines have to compensate for flight delays. It must be due to their responsibility and not due to an ‘Act of God’ or extraordinary circumstances beyond their control.
Thus, you could not claim if the lateness was caused due to exceptional circumstances such as a volcano blocking air traffic, a heavy snowfall, medical emergencies, a storm, a cyclone, an earthquake, an act of terrorism, political unrest, adverse severe weather conditions, airport delays due to employee strikes or air traffic control strikes.
What to do when your flight is delayed?
Ask reason of delay
Note Arrival Time
Claim Money Back
How do I file a claim for airline delay compensation?
Here’s the thing, airlines hate paying. When you file a flight delay claim with the airline, they make excuses to stall you. You will end up waiting for weeks before you hear anything from them.
If you plan to send them a legal notice, you will need to hire a lawyer to claim compensation for a delayed flight. But lawyers do not entertain small value claims, which plays well for the airlines. The customer gets tired of trying and gives up the claim.
Proceed your Claim with the Best Flight Compensation Company
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Get back to Topics if you missed anything related to flight delays
EU Air Passenger Rights
Are you eligible to Claim?
Rights on Package Holiday
To do's for Flight Delays
Arrival Flight Delays
Amount of Compensation
Flight Departure Delays
How to claim money back?
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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.