Rights during flight delays

Delayed flight? Read about your rights to claim compensation here.

Did you know that you might be eligible for compensation if you have experienced a delayed flight within the last 3 years? According to the EC-Regulation 261/2004 you may be entitled up to €600.

At Refundmore, we are experts within air passengers’ rights, and we are happy to assist you in claiming compensation from the airline.

Financial compensation during flight delays

Financial compensation for flight delays is not required by law. Still, it has been established by legal precedent that passengers whose flights are delayed have the same right to compensation as passengers who experience a cancellation.

When am I eligible for compensation?

According to the Regulations, you are eligible for compensation if you are at least three hours delayed to your final airport destination.

You might as well be eligible for compensation if you:

  • Are travelling from EU countries.
  • Are travelling to EU countries with a European headquartered airline. (However, there are exceptions to this rule i.e. regarding Swiss airlines, which may change your entitlement for compensation.)

If you are flying from the US to Dubai you are not covered by the EC-regulation, and you are not eligible for compensation even if you experience a flight delay of more than three hours. The same applies if you are flying to an EU country from an airport outside the EU, if you are travelling with a non EU air carrier. The Regulation only applies to flights outside the EU if you travel with an EU airline. Who you bought the ticket from, is irrelevant.

How much should I expect in compensation?

You should never expect anything - but you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. The table below gives you an overview of how much:

Reason Delayed arrival time Flight distance under 1,500 km Flight distance 1,501 - 3,500 km Flight distance more than 3,500 between EU-countries Flights over 3,500 km to/from EU-countries
Cancellation*   2 - 3 hours      250 €      200 €      200 €      300 €
Cancelled / Delayed   3 - 4 hours      250 €      400 €      400 €      300 €
Cancelled / Delayed More than 4 hours**      250 €      400 €      400 €      600 €
Overbooked        250 €      400 €      400 €      600 €

* If cancelled less than 7 days before the planned departure.

** If cancelled between 14-7 days before the planned departure.

Your right to compensation depends on the flight distance. The longer the distance to your destination, the higher the compensation. Try our calculator which gives you an estimate of how much you may be entitled to. Simply enter the departure and arrival airports, insert the airline name, and the duration and reason for the delay.

Extraordinary circumstances

If extraordinary circumstances caused your delayed flight, you wouldn't be entitled to compensation from the airline.

Extraordinary circumstances can be:

  • Unusual weather conditions (weather which presents a safety risk)
  • Terrorist/military action (an event that constitutes a threat to the general security)
  • Curfew/flight ban
  • Acute illness or illness of passengers

Passengers should be aware that the airline sometimes qualifies a reason for the delay as an “extraordinary circumstance”, though the cause was actually within the airline’s control. This is done in an attempt to avoid the compensation obligation. We have seen many cases where an airline denies valid claims (e.g. by indicating unusual weather, even though the weather was not a contributing factor to a delay or cancellation), and we always recommend that you seek legal advice if you disagree with the airline’s decision.

Circumstances that may lead to compensation

The following are circumstances that are not considered “exceptional or extraordinary circumstances” and may lead to compensation:

  • Technical problems
  • Insufficient flight crew/crew shortage
  • Traffic or congestion at the airport
  • Late arrival of the aircraft due to operational reasons, which are the airline’s fault

Are you ready to find out whether you have a valid claim? Please enter your travel information in our calculator and get immediate answers as to whether you are entitled to compensation. You are also welcome to Contact us by e-mail: [email protected]

Ready to claim your compensation? Delayed or cancelled flight?

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