Delayed flight compensation

Delayed Flight Compensation

The regulation that covers delayed flight compensation is called EC 261/2004. This is a regulation of the European Union that covers EU territories, as well as Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland.

You can file a claim for delayed flight compensation if all of the following apply:

  1. You arrive at the final destination three or more hours later than the time originally scheduled.
  2. Your departure is from the EU (regardless of the destination or the air carrier) or your destination is in the EU and an EU based airline performed the flight.
  3. The airline is responsible for the delayed flight (no extraordinary circumstances as adverse weather conditions, airport strikes, security treats, medical emergency, etc. Involved).
  4. You are on time to check in for your flight.
  5. The delayed flight happened during the Statute of Limitations in the country where the air carrier is headquartered.

Delayed Flight Compensation Amounts

The delayed flight compensation amount entitlement depends on the distance of your flight and the delay time. The table provides all compensation amounts.

Distance< 2 h> 2 h> 3 h> 4 h
less than 1500 km€0€0€250€250
between 1500 km and 3500 km€0€0€400€400
more than 3500 km€0€0€300€600

Delayed Flights Covered By EC261/2004

Unfortunately not all delayed flights are covered by the regulation.

  • If you travel within EU, all flights are covered.
  • If your departure is in EU, all flights are covered
  • If your departure is not in EU, but your destination is in EU, you are covered only if the operating airline is EU based (headquarters location in EU).
  • If neither your departure nor destination is in EU, you are not covered.

Check if the delayed flight is covered by EC 261/2001 in the table provided:

FlightEU airlineNot EU airline
Within EUCompensationCompensation
Starting in EUCompensationCompensation
Landing in EUCompensationNo
Outside EUNoNo

Connecting Flights

When there is a connecting flight involved and you miss your connection due to a delayed flight, you have the right to receive compensation if the flights are booked on the same reservation. The amount of compensation is calculated based on the total distance of your booked journey and the delay in hours at the final destination.

Documents Needed to Claim Delayed Flight Compensation

Every airline may ask for different documents package to process your claim. Keep everything related to the delayed flight (booking confirmation, boarding passes, electronic ticket, luggage tags, etc.). Keep all receipts if you have any additional expenses related to your flight delay.

Request information about the reason of the delay – a technical issue, the aircraft arrived late from a previous flight, waiting passengers from another flight, etc.

Other Passenger Rights By EC 261/2004

Right of Care

When you have delayed flight the airline must take care of you. You have the right to receive some essentials such as food, refreshments and communications. You are also entitled to hotel accommodation and airport transfer when you have a long delay that requires an overnight stay.

All depends on the flight distance and delay time. The table below gives more information about your eligibility:

FlightLength of the Delay
Flights up to 1,500kmflight delay > 2h
EU flights more than 1,500kmflight delay > 3h
1,500km – 3,500km, outside the EUflight delay > 3h
More than 3,500km, outside the EU flight delay > 4h

Keep in mind that it does not matter if the airline have already provided you with food, refreshments, overnight accommodation and transfers. All essentials provided fall under the right to care and are completely unrelated to flight delay compensation. You can still claim the financial compensation.

Right of Reimbursement And Re-routing

You have the right to a full or partial refund of your ticket price and a flight, which will send you back to the airport you started your travel from if the flight is delayed for more than 5 hours. This is in addition to your compensation for a delayed flight you can claim.

Upgrades And Downgrades

If there is a case were the only available seats in an alternative flight are higher class compared to your reservation, you have the right to travel for the same amount of money and the airline should not want more. You can still claim your compensation. If you have a reservation for first or business class, but the airline offers lower class seats, you can request a refund of thirty to seventy-five percent of the amount you paid.