EU Regulation 261: EU Rules on Flight Delays and Cancellations

September 2023

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EU Regulation 261: EU Rules on Flight Delays and Cancellations


EU Regulation 261/2004 is a legislative provision adopted in the winter of 2004 that covers compensation and assistance to air passengers in cases of flight cancellations, delays, and boarding denials. In this post, we'll go over the EU rules regarding flight delays and cancellations.



The regulation's rules apply to flights departing from an EU airport and, in most cases, also to flights operated by European airlines departing from a non-EU country but landing within the EU's borders. To come under the rules of EU Regulation 261, a flight must belong to one of the following categories:


  • The flight is delayed by a minimum of two hours on a route of 1,500 kilometers or less.
  • The flight is delayed by three hours or more for intra-EU routes or routes longer than 1,500 kilometers
  •  The flight is delayed by three hours or more on a route between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometer

If you want to learn more about your rights and compensation rates through our service, check out our price list


Which Passenger Rights Does EU Regulation Provide?


If you are a passenger on a flight that falls within this framework, according to the legislation, you may have the right to:

  • Meals and refreshments in an amount appropriate to the current delay time
  • Two phone calls or email communications
  • Hotel accommodation and possible transportation to the hotel if you have to wait for one night or more

 If the flight is delayed by more than five hours, and the passenger chooses not to continue the journey, they are entitled to a refund of their ticket. Similarly, if the trip includes other flights that become pointless due to the disruption of the journey, the ticket can be refunded. In such cases, it is also possible to opt for a ticket back to the original starting point.


Compensation for Delays of Three Hours or More


EU Regulation 261 provides for compensation if the delay is three hours or more. You can claim compensation as follows:

  • 1,500 kilometers or less: 250 euros
  • European intra-flights over 1,500 kilometers: 400 euros
  • Other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers: 400 euros
  • All other flights: 600 euros


The mentioned rates can be half the amount if the passenger is offered re-routing to the final destination with a flight that lands no more than two hours after the initially scheduled arrival time.

For flights of 1,500 kilometers or less, this is a maximum of three hours after the originally scheduled arrival time for European domestic flights, and a maximum of four hours for all other flights.


Passengers are not entitled to compensation if the reason for the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances such as strikes, political instability, security, or weather conditions, or if passengers have been informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before departure.


 If passengers have been offered re-routing between 7 and 14 days before the planned departure, and this re-routing involves the passenger's new departure time not being more than one hour earlier than the original departure time and the arrival time not being more than two hours later than the originally scheduled arrival time, they are also not entitled to compensation under EU Regulation 261/04.

You can learn more about your rights in case of flight delays in our article on the subject.


Is your flight delayed?

Getting the refund can sometimes be time consuming and difficult. Refundmore is at your service: File a case, and we’ll contact you when your compensation is ready. If the case isn’t won, you’ll pay nothing. No cure, no pay


By Frederik Hedegaard