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Compensation if your flight is delayed

Passengers travelling within the EU enjoy special protection if their flight is delayed. Passengers facing adelay of two hours or more are already entitled to meals and refreshments provided by the airline. If a flight is delayed for three hours or more, then passengers are also entitled to compensation of up to EUR 600 from the airline. The only condition: the airline itself has to be responsible for the delay.

Waiting at the airport if the flight is delayed

When do passengers receive compensation for flight delays?

The amount of compensation depends on the distance of the flight. Passengers are entitled to EUR 250 for flights covering a distance of less than 1,500 km. Passengers set to travel between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres will receive EUR 400 from their airline. The compensation increases to EUR 600 for flights covering distances of more than 3,500 kilometres. The price you paid for the flight is irrelevant. You are entitled to compensation from low-cost airlines as well. Even if the original ticket price is lower than your entitled compensation.

What am I entitled to if my flight is delayed?

  • You are entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed for 3 hours or more
  • All passengers affected are entitled to compensation from a minimum of EUR 250 up to EUR 600
  • The airline has to provide food and refreshments if a flight is delayed for two hours or more
  • These rights are based on the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004
  • Airlines are under no obligation to pay compensation if the delay was caused by ‘extraordinary’ circumstances

What should I do if my flight is delayed?

  • Get the airline to provide you with a confirmation of the reasons for the delay
  • Collect delay information such as...photos, receipts documenting any expense incurred, tickets, vouchers
  • Exchange contact details with other passengers
  • Insist on receiving food and refreshments at the airport
  • Enter your flight data to calculate your entitled compensation
  • Make the most of our legal expertise: we’ll help you get your money back

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 " to be the moment at which the aircraft has reached it's final destination and one of its doors is open. This is based on the assumption that , at that moment, the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft.

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

The first thing you have to do is to determine whether or not you're entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, finding out this information isn't as easy as it sounds. You don’t have any access to flight databases, you can’t can't refer to any similar cases and you don’t have the legal expertise to check whether the Air Passenger Rights Regulation applies. But don’t worry, as experts for air passenger rights, this is exactly our area of expertise. We can tell you in a matter of minutes whether you are entitled to compensation or not. Simply enter your flight details into our specially designed compensation calculator. It analyses hundreds of thousands of flight movements and weather data and verifies in detail whether the Air Passenger Rights Regulation applies. We will provide you with an immediate initial evaluation free-of-charge. More than 600,000 customers have already used our service. Why not give it a try?

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If the compensation calculator shows that you are entitled to compensation, you can instruct us to start asserting your rights straight away. By choosing us, you are opting for the support of a partner that has been successfully asserting air passenger rights for years. We know how to negotiate with airlines and what sort of tricks they have up their sleeve. This allows us to interact with them on an equal footing. We’ll make sure that you get the compensation you are entitled to, even if that means going to court. Incidentally, when cases go to court, we have a success rate of 98%.

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

Many airlines do not honour their payment obligations. They ignore passengers who try to contact them or attempt to placate them. Sometimes, 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. This is a deliberate gamble on the part of the airlines: they hope that the passengers won’t know any better, or that at some point, they’ll be too annoyed and frustrated to keep pushing to have their entitlements honoured. Passengers are left out in the cold. This is something that Flightright refuses to accept. We help passengers enforce their rights and allow them to finally have their voices heard.

Don’t worry about becoming entangled in time-consuming, stressful correspondence with the airline. We handle the entire communication side of things for you. We are also prepared to go to court to enforce your rights while assuming all legal risks and fees involved. Which means we still bear all costs even if we lose the case. Our commission rate is 25% + VAT whether we win cases in or out-of-court. Don't waste any more time getting frustrated by the airlines - make the most of our expertise and knowledge of air passenger rights to finally get the compensation you are entitled to.

Tip: How to improve your chances of getting compensation

  • Get the airline staff to provide you with a written confirmation of the delay. This should include the name and signature of the airline employee, the place, date and time, and the reason for the delay. Airline staff usually have pre-printed forms available for situations like these.
  • Take photos and collect any receipts of food, drinks, taxis or hotel accommodation.
  • Talk to other passengers and get their contact details so you can update each other on what you know about the reasons for the delay and the airline’s reaction.

Business travellers and public officials are also entitled to compensation

Many people think that their employer will be entitled to any compensation for a delay during a business trip but that’s not the case. In fact, it is the passenger who has suffered the inconvenience that is entitled to compensation, not the person who paid for the ticket. This is the general principle set out in the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation for major flight delays, cancellations and cases of overbooking. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an employee of a private-sector company or a public official.

Was your flight delayed on a business trip? We're here to help! It's a lot easier than you might think: you don’t need any invoices or receipts to assert your claims. All you have to do is to give us your flight number and the date of travel. It goes without saying that you are entitled to compensation for flight cancellations and overbooked flights as well.

What are “extraordinary circumstances”?

Under the Air Passenger Rights Regulation, airlines are not obliged to pay compensation for delays or cancellations that are due to "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, and bad weather conditions.

An exception is made if the airline could have prevented the problem. If, for example, the airline failed to ensure that there were sufficient supplies of de-icer before the onset of winter, it could be held responsible for the delay - especially if flights operated by other airlines were able to depart on time.

Additional entitlement to food, refreshments and other benefits

If you've experienced a lengthy delay you're entitled to more than your potential compensation whether the airline is responsible for the delay or not.

Passengers booked on routes covering a distance of up to 1,500km with a delay of 2 hours or more are entitled to benefits which are separate from their potential compensation. Such benefits include complimentary vouchers for food and refreshments, and two free telephone calls or e-mails. This also applies to passengers on medium-haul flights (covering distances of between 1,500 km and 3,500 km) with a delay of 3 hours or more and long-haul passengers (flights of more than 3,500 km) who have faced a delay of 4 hours or more.

If your flight is delayed for more than 5 hours, you can even opt not to fly at all 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 - either to your destination or to your point of origin if it no longer makes sense for you to continue with your trip, for example because you have already missed your business meeting.

If your flight is delayed until the next day, generally the airline will organise the overnight accommodation and transfers, and then provide you with the information you need. Make sure to inquire with the airline before you go ahead and make any arrangements yourself as you may not be compensated for making alternative arrangements independently. Remember to ask for written confirmation of any benefits promised.

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 no more than 3 years ago.
  • The airline is responsible for the delay (e.g. technical fault or sick crew).
  • The flight stook 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, refreshment or travel vouchers.
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