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Compensation if your flight is delayed

If you’re unlucky enough to suffer a delayed flight, the good news is you may be due up to €600 in compensation from the offending airline. Based on Eu regulation, if the airline itself is responsible for the disruption, and you’ve been delayed for 3 or more hours, the minimum entitlement is €250 per passenger.

Compensation claims for delayed flights

What are my rights when a flight is delayed?

  • Compensation after 3 or more hours delay
  • Compensation between €250 and €600
  • Additional services after 2 hours delay
  • No compensation if the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances
  • The rights also apply for package holidays

What should I do if my flight is delayed?

  • Get the airline to provide you with confirmation of the cause of the delay
  • Collect relevant documents, such as receipts and vouchers
  • Make use of the complimentary food and drinks at the airport
  • Use our compensation calculator to check your compensation
  • Enter your flight data to calculate your entitled compensation
  • Use our legal expertise: we fight for your rights to enforce your compensation

When do passengers receive compensation for flight delays?

Based on the 2004 EU261 ruling, passenger compensation for flight delays is calculated based on the distance of the flight. For all flights that are delayed over 3 hours, and qualify under the current regulation, compensation is due. Here is an explanation of how the compensation is calculated, based on flight distance:

  • Short distance flight delays - Below 1500km - Passengers are due €250 compensation
  • Medium distance flight delays - Between 1500km and 3500km - Passengers are due €400 compensation
  • Long distance flight delays - Over 3500km - Passengers are due €600 compensation

The ticket price bears no relevance to the total amount of compensation, and as such you will be able to claim on flights with low-cost airlines. It is possible to claim on flights as far back as 6 years. For your claim to be eligible the flight must depart within the EU or, if it lands in the EU the airline must have its headquarters in the EU.

Flight delay compensation amounts based on flight distances

How is the delay calculated?

It is important to remember that delays are calculated based on the time of arrival, not the departure time. But what exactly is a flight’s “arrival time”? In September 2014, the European Court of Justice (case C-425/13) defined "arrival time" as the moment when the aircraft reaches its final destination and one of its doors opens. This is based on the assumption that this is the moment the passengers are permitted to disembark.

Delayed as a business traveller?

If you suffered a flight delay as a business traveller it will be you who receives the compensation, not your employer. Likewise, if you’re travelling as a state official, the regulation deems it that you’ll be the one entitled to recompense from the airline. It is the person who suffered the inconvenience of the delay who receives the compensation - not the whoever paid for the ticket. This stands regardless of the price of the ticket.

Important: you can claim up to €600 in compensation, even if you have already been reimbursed for the price of your ticket. Even if the airline provides you with vouchers you are still eligible to the full compensation amount.

How do I apply for compensation if my flight is delayed?

The first the thing to do is confirm that you are actually eligible for compensation. This is often not a simple process: getting access to flight databases, comparing your situation with other similar cases, checking whether your case applies under European Regulation No. 261/2004 etc. In fact, for an individual without the legal expertise or the required technologies, this can prove quite complicated.

The straightforward alternative is to apply for your compensation with Flightright. Simply enter your flight details into our free compensation calculator, establish that you’re entitled to a claim against the airline and then leave the rest to us. It will only take a few minutes for us to verify the eligibility of your claim. The Flightright tool analyses hundreds of thousands of flights, has access to a multitude of meteorological date, and is able to verify whether the submitted case applies under EU law. This enables you to get a free and immediate assessment of your situation. More than 3.2 million customers have already used our service. By choosing us, you are opting for the support of a partner that has been successfully asserting air passenger rights for over 7 years.

Check your claim in 2 minutes

If the compensation calculator indicates that you qualify for compensation for your flight delay, you can immediately instruct us to begin asserting your rights. As a result, you benefit from a partner who specializes in this area, as well as one who is both efficient and reliable in helping you to enforce your rights. Our network of European experts and our international experience allow us to negotiate on an equal footing with airlines. We are always there for you , so that you can get your delayed flight compensation as soon as possible. We do not hesitate to take the matter to court where necessary. In 98% of the cases where legal proceedings were required, our clients won their case.

What makes it so difficult for me to assert my rights myself?

Many airlines neglect to inform their passengers of their rights in the event of delayed flights. A common tactic is to ignore their customers completely. Alternatively, they offer passengers cheap vouchers that do not come close to the amount they are actually entitled to, and then get them to sign a declaration in which they end up waiving all other rights against the airline. The airline takes the risk that affected passengers will not really understand their rights, or will get frustrated with repeated attempts to enforce them. This is something that Flightright refuses to accept. We help passengers enforce their rights and allow them to finally have their voices heard.

With Flightright as your partner, you don't have to deal with time-consuming and laborious paperwork. We establish contact with the airline on your behalf in order to assert your rights in cases of flight delay. If necessary, we even go so far as to take legal action, where we have a success rate of 98%. Regardless of the outcome, we assume all the financial risk. If we fail to succeed with your case, for whatever reason, we are the only ones to bear the costs. When we do win, we take a fee of 25% (+ VAT) of the amount recovered. This protects you, as the customer, from any expense and investment. Benefit from our expertise and knowledge of the international legal aviation sector, and get your compensation by asserting your rights with us.

Additional services at the airport

Additional services when flights are delayed

If you've experienced a lengthy delay at departure you're entitled to more than your potential compensation, regardless of whether the airline is responsible for the delay or not. Here you can see your entitlements based on the length of the delay and the distance of your flight:

  • Short distance - Less than 1500km: departure delayed over 2 hours - free drinks and food, and 2 telephone calls, emails or faxes
  • Medium distance - between 1500 and 3500km: departure delayed over 3 hours - free drinks and food, and 2 telephone calls, emails or faxes
  • Long-haul - More than 3500km: departure delayed over 4 hours - free drinks and food, and 2 telephone calls, emails or faxes

Flight delayed over 5 hours?

If your flight is delayed for more than 5 hours, you can opt out of your flight and the airline will be obliged to refund you the price of your ticket. Alternatively, you have the right to ask the airline to arrange the quickest possible alternative form of transportation. The airline may also transfer you back to your original departure point, for example if you missed a business meeting due to a missed connecting flight as a result of the delay.

Flight delayed until the following day?

If the departure is postponed until the following day, you can take advantage of a night's accommodation and return transportation from the airport. Usually, airlines organise the overnight stay and transfers themselves and inform you of the planned arrangements. Before you decide to book something yourself, it is always best to check directly with the airline. Also make sure that you get written confirmation of everything if the airline offers to reimburse you for accommodation you found yourself.

What are "extraordinary circumstances" in cases of flight delay?

Sometimes a flight delay or cancellation will not qualify for compensation as the reasons behind the disruption were deemed to be "extraordinary circumstances". They are factors beyond the airline's responsibilities or control. These circumstances include:

  • Airport and airspace closures
  • Political instability
  • Unavoidable security risks
  • Strikes
  • Birds flying into the engine
  • Bad weather conditions

There are exceptions to the rule - for example if it is shown that the airline could have avoided the problem by taking reasonable measures, it will be liable for the delay of the aircraft. An instance of this would be if the airline cited bad weather conditions, and what actually happened was they failed to ensure that there were sufficient supplies of de-icer before the onset of winter. In this case they may be deemed responsible for the delay - especially if flights operated by other airlines were able to depart on time.

Checklist: You are entitled to cash compensation if...

  • You arrive at your destination more than 3 hours later than planned.
  • You have checked in for your flight on time (generally no less than 45 minutes before departure).
  • You encountered these problems on a flight operated 6 years ago.
  • The airline is responsible for the delay (e.g. technical fault or sick crew).
  • The flight took off in the EU (from any airline) or landed in the EU (provided that the airline is headquartered in the EU).
  • It doesn’t matter whether the airline has already provided you with food, refreshments or travel vouchers.
Check your claim in 2 minutes
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