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 (EU) that covers all the EU airspace, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Island and the outermost regions – i.e. French Guiana and Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe and La Reunion, Saint-Martin, Madeira and the Azores, and the Canary Islands.

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

  1. You arrive at your final destination three or more hours later than the time originally scheduled.
  2. Your departure is from the EU (regardless the destination or the air carrier) or your destination is in the EU and the flight is operated by an EU based airline.
  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. Your delayed flight happened during the Statute of Limitations in the country where the air carrier is headquartered.

Delayed Flight Compensation Amounts

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

Distanceless than 2 hoursmore than 2 hoursmore than 3 hoursmore than 4 hours
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 your delayed flight is covered under EC 261/2001 in the table provided:

Travel itineraryEU carrierNon-EU carrier
From EU to EUCoveredCovered
From EU to non-EUCoveredCovered
From out of EU to EUCoveredNOT Covered
From out of EU to non-EUNOT CoveredNOT Covered

Connecting Flights

When there is a connecting flight involved and you miss your connection due to a delayed flight, you are entitled to compensation if the flights are booked in the same reservation. The amount of compensation is calculated based on the total distance of your booked journey and the delay in hours at your 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 your 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 Under EC 261/2004

Right of Care

When you have delayed flight the airline must take care of you. You are entitled to 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 your flight distance and delay time. The table below gives more information about your eligibility:

FlightLength of the delay
Flights up to 1,500kmmore than 2 hours delayed
Intra-EU flights over 1,500kmmore than 3 hours delayed
Non-EU flights between 1,500 and 3,500kmmore than 3 hours delayed
Non-EU flights over 3,500kmmore than 4 hours delayed

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 you are entitled to.

Right of Reimbursement And Re-routing

You have the right to full or partial refund of your ticket price and a return flight to your point of departure if your flight is delayed more than 5 hours. This is in addition to your compensation for delayed flight you can claim.

Upgrades And Downgrades

If you are offered an alternative and the only available seats are in a higher class than the one on your reservation, the airline cannot charge you extra and you can still claim your compensation if your delay falls under EC 261.

If you have a reservation for first or business class, but the class of the alternative flight is lower, you can request a refund of 30 to 75% of the price you paid.