Flight Delay Compensation

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A flight delay is inconvenient, stressful, and costly for anyone. But did you know that almost 82% of affected airline passengers do not claim compensation for flight delays? According to EU Regulation 261/2004 and UK law, every passenger is entitled to financial compensation for flight delays of up to €600 per person. Now let’s get to the point and take a closer look at the rights of passengers and how to claim compensation for flight delays.

Passenger Rights in Case of Flight Delay

For flights that fall under EU 261 regulation, a delay of more than 3 hours may be eligible for financial compensation, provided that the airline itself is responsible for the failure. If you wonder how much compensation you can get for a flight delay, the amount of compensation to passengers for flight delays is calculated based on the distance of the flight. It can be up to 600 euros. 

Additionally, your airline company must also provide you with food and refreshments during the delay.

When Are You Entitled to Compensation for a Delayed Flight?

There are several circumstances when you can expect a flight delay refund. First, if a passenger arrived at the destination 3+ hours later than planned or checked in for the flight on time (no less than 45 minutes before departure). Another circumstance is when a passenger’s flight took off in the European Union (many flights into the EU also qualify). You should also know that you can expect reimbursement if you had issues on a flight operated less than 3 years ago. 

It is important to note that it is possible to receive international flight delay compensation if the delay occurs due to technical or operational problems of the airline. Also, it is essential to clarify this when claiming. Besides, it doesn’t matter if the airline company has already served you some food, travel vouchers, or refreshments.

However, the company would not be responsible if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances. Here are examples of such circumstances:

  • Bad weather.
  • Either airport or union strikes.
  • Bird strikes.
  • Restrictions by air traffic controllers (for example, runway closure).
  • Either civil or political unrest.
  • Security threats at airports.

Flight Delay Compensation 

If EU261 regulations cover your delayed flight and you arrive at your final destination at least 3 hours late, you have the right to claim flight delay reimbursement automatically.

The flight compensation depends on the flight distance. Сheck the table below:

Less than 3 hoursBetween 3-4 hoursFour hours +Distance
0€250€250All flights up to 1500 km
0€400€400All flights between 1500 km and 3500 km
0€400€400All intra-EU flights over 3500 km
0€300€600All non-EU flights over 3500 km

How Is EU Flight Delay Compensation Calculated?

How to claim compensation for flight delay is one question, but how EU flight delay compensation is calculated is another story. The first thing to consider is that the flight delay reimbursement calculation depends on the moment you actually arrive at your final destination. Now, let’s see what exactly a flight’s “arrival time” means.

According to the definition by the European Court of Justice (case C-452/13), “arrival time” is a point at which the plane reaches its final destination; importantly, one of its doors must be opened. The idea of this definition is based on the fact that passengers have permission to get off the plane.

The delay’s length is purely based on when you arrive at the destination but not how late the aircraft was at departure. And it is crucial to remember this, as the pilot can make up for lost time during the flight. For instance, let’s say your flight has been delayed by three hours and ten minutes at departure, but a passenger reaches the destination only two hours and fifty minutes late. In this case, a passenger cannot receive compensation for a flight delay. If the scenario is vice versa, you can expect compensation.

It is also important to note that arrival time is the moment when the plane opens one of the doors after the destination is reached (see case C-425/13 of the European Court of Justice, issued in September 2014). In this scenario, there should be several minutes between the time the airplane lands and the actual time of arrival.

Compensation for Business Travelers

Now, how about the airline delay compensation for the business traveler? If you are a business traveler and have experienced a flight delay, you must get compensation, not your employer. It is important to remember this. Similarly, if you are a state official, you will be recompensed by the airline.  In other words, the one who suffers from the delay receives the compensation — not the one who paid for the ticket. Also, it stands regardless of the ticket price.

Which Flights Are Covered by EU261?

The EU 261 regulations apply to all passengers on flights within Europe, as well as to flights departing from a European airport and those landing in Europe on European airlines. See the table below:

ItineraryEU air carrierNon-EU air carrier
From inside the EU to inside the EU✅ Covered✅ Covered
From inside the EU to outside the EU✅ Covered✅ Covered
From outside the EU to inside the EU✅ Covered❌ Not covered
From outside the EU to outside the EU❌ Not covered❌ Not covered

How to Claim Flight Delay Compensation

How to claim flight delay compensation is the right question for you if you want to get a refund. Now, let’s see what exactly to do to receive it.

Legal Representation

So, the best option for a passenger is to seek the assistance of our partners, who provide legal services in the field of air passenger rights. We aim to help passengers solve problems related to flight cancellation, delay, luggage problems, etc., and receive the compensation they deserve, according to EU 261. Based on your issue, we will individually select the best service provider, increasing the chance of receiving compensation.

Contact the Airline Directly

To receive compensation for your flight delay, you can directly apply to the airline company. Yet you should be ready, as the process requires some time and is quite complicated overall. Here are some basic rules on flight delay compensation:

  • Confirm that you are eligible for reimbursement. This is not that easy: an airline employee needs to review the flight database, compare your case with similar cases, and determine whether it’s EU 261. Considering the complexity of the process, it would be way easier to prove your eligibility with the help of a professional lawyer.
  • When it comes to flight delay rights, many airline companies neglect to inform passengers of these if delays happen. Instead, they can offer you some cheap vouchers, and the airline will ask you to sign a declaration to close the question without providing reimbursement. We consider this unacceptable and want to help our clients get the fullest out of their passenger rights.

Documents You Need to Claim Flight Delay Compensation

The airline companies have different procedures and a pack of documents for paying reimbursement for delays. We recommend that passengers keep all documents related to a flight. Basically, you will need the following:

  • Flight information in detail.
  • Attached travel documents.
  • Flight distance details.
  • The length of a delay at arrival.
  • The reimbursement sum you are claiming.

If you choose to file a claim via our partners, you should know that they know all the variations in procedures and the list of documents required by each airline company. Considering this, the chances of getting fair compensation are much higher.

What You Can Get Besides EU Flight Delay Compensation

The good news is that airline delay reimbursement is one of many things you have a right to get. In addition, there are some other things to expect. Let’s find out more below.

Right to Сare

If the flight is delayed for 2 or more hours, the airline company is obliged to provide passengers with food, refreshments, and access to communication, specifically 2 phone calls, emails, and faxes. It is also important to note that this rule works regardless of whether the airline company is to blame for the delay or not. At the same time, if the delay is 6 or more hours, the airline company is obliged to provide hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the airport.

Right to Reimbursement or Re-routing

In the event of a flight delay of at least 5 hours or more at departure, all passengers have a right to either a full or partial reimbursement of the original tickets. Additionally, if needed, a passenger can get a return flight to the point of a passenger’s department point, free of charge. And if it is the beginning of your trip, so you have yet to travel, you can also receive a full refund. However, it will only be a partial refund if you have already flown some part of the route. The alternative option is as follows: the airline company can rebook a new flight to your final point of destination. You are free to choose the variant you prefer the most.

Upgrading and Downgrading

Another thing to consider is that if the airline company offers you an alternative flight (and you even may get an upgrade), the company cannot charge you anything extra. Nonetheless, if the alternative flight’s class is lower, a passenger can expect flight delay compensation USA of between 30-75% of the original price you paid.

Further Compensation

As a passenger, you should also know that if you received a reimbursement under EU 261, you still have the right to claim further compensation. This rule, however, does not apply when a passenger voluntarily withdraws a reservation. Keep in mind, though, that the sum of compensation you can expect to get, according to EU 261, may be deducted from the additional compensation you get.


Can You Claim Compensation for Flight Delays Caused by Bad Weather?
Usually, passengers cannot claim flight delay compensation for flight delays due to bad weather conditions. Most flight delays caused by bad weather are considered extraordinary circumstances. However, it is possible in some cases. We recommend that each case be analyzed separately.
Can I Get Compensation for a 2-Hour Flight Delay?
If your flight is delayed for 2 hours, the airline company is obliged to provide you with a voucher that can be used at the airport. Yet, if you haven’t received a voucher, you can reimburse the costs incurred as compensation from the airline company. To get it, you must keep all receipts as proof.

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