Flight delays occur for a variety of reasons and can cause a lot of stress and frustration. In many cases, you may be entitled to flight delay compensation worth up to €600 according to the EU regulation 261. The EU Regulation 261/2004 protects passengers by offering them a series of rights and compensation for flight delays. It allows passengers to enforce a set of rights. The idea behind this regulation is to make sure that passengers get the compensation they deserve from the airline.
In order to even start thinking about getting financial compensation for a delayed flight, basic conditions must be met to make it worth claiming compensation from the airline for the given flight.
There are three basic conditions for eligibility:
- Flight delay compensation claims are only applicable to flights leaving an EU airport and/or any flight arriving at an EU airport by an EU registered carrier. (This means that every flight from EU airports is covered by the EU regulations, regardless of where the airline is based. )
- You experienced a delay and you arrive at your final destination at least 3 hours after than planned
- The airline is responsible for the delay (e.g. technical difficulties, operational circumstances, crew strike etc.)
How much Compensation can I claim for my Delayed Flight?
Delay compensation amounts are set by the regulation so are always awarded in Euros and range from 250 Euros to a maximum 600 Euros per passenger.
The combination of factors described above subsequently defines whether a potential claim for obtaining financial compensation has been incurred, and the amount thereof.
The amount of the compensation that you are entitled to is determined by the distance of the flight:
– 250€ for flights less than 1500km
– 400€ for flights between 1500 and 3500km
– 600€ for flights more than 3500km
Note: The cost of the ticket has no relevance to the total amount of compensation, and as such you will be able to claim on flights with low-cost airlines.
What happens if I Miss a Connecting Flight due to a Delay?
If something disrupts one of your flights, it may cause you to miss your connection. Yes, this sounds like a nightmare but don’t worry, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Plus your airline should arrange a new flight for you.
Passengers who miss a connecting flight due to a delay on the previous flight and are delayed at the final destination for over 3 hours will be able to claim between €250 and €600 compensation. The amount of compensation available is dictated by the distance of the entire journey, from the starting airport to the final destination.
The flight plan needs to be under one booking for this to be able to claim flight compensation – although it does not matter if you have a mix of different airlines in that booking, most often the connecting flights are with the same airline, but that isn’t always the case.
If a passenger has booked all legs of their journey with one single booking, the airline must take care of you and also offer alternative transportation at their own cost as soon as possible. If the passenger has booked the flights separately – with different airlines, and the first is delayed, there is nothing to be done if they miss their connecting flight. Additionally, the passenger has no right for alternative transportation organized by the airline.
Now imagine the following scenario. Your first flight is delayed by 45 minutes. As such this doesn’t entitle you to a compensation (because the delay would need to be at least 3 hours), but due to this 45 minutes delay on the first flight, you miss your connecting flight and you need to take the alternative flight offered by the airline.
If, in this case too, you end up arriving at your final destination with 3 hours delay or more, you are entitled to a compensation under the delayed flight EU rules. What matters here is that in the end you have experienced a flight delay of 3 hours or more. Even though the first flight was delayed only 45 minutes and the second flight was technically ‘on-time’, don’t hesitate to claim your compensation.
How far Back can I claim Flight Delay Compensation?
The rules of the directive do not provide a universal timeframe for the filing of claims, and leaves it to each country’s own claim terms. For example, in Germany the claim period is 3 years, in Luxembourg – 10. Limitation periods can be between 2 and 10 years. This means that you can claim compensation even a few years later from your disrupted flight.
1 Year – Belgium, Poland
2 Years – Iceland, Netherlands, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy
3 Years – Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Sweden
5 Years – Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Spain
6 Years – Cyprus, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom
10 Years – Luxembourg
Lifetime – Malta
Am I entitled to get a Compensation for Flights with Low Cost Carriers or Charter Flights ?
Neither the amount paid for the ticket nor its category / class interferes with the legitimacy of the right to compensation. The type of airline is irrelevant, if your flight is eligible, you can get compensation for the inconvenience suffered. Even compensation amount is irrespective of how much you paid for your ticket, because it’s meant to compensate you for the time you lost as a result of the delay, cancellation or denied boarding. So every passenger who travelled under a paid ticket should be entitled to receive delay compensation.
All flights are eligible for compensation, as long as they fall within the geographic boundaries fixed by the EU legislator: Arriving at an airport in an EU member State, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland with a community airline. Or leaving from an airport in an EU member State, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland.
Flight Delay Compensation for Business Travelers and Public Officials
Many people think that their employer will be entitled to any compensation for a delay during a business trip, but thats not the case.
In fact, it is the passenger who has suffered the inconvenience that is entitled to flight delay compensation, not the person who paid for the ticket.
If you suffered a flight delay as a business traveller it will be you who receives the compensation, not your employer. Likewise, if you’re travelling as a state official, the regulation deems it that you’ll be the one entitled to recompense from the airline. It is the person who suffered the inconvenience of being delayed that receives the compensation – not whoever paid for the ticket. This stands regardless of the price of the ticket.
This is the general principle set out in the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation for major flight delays, cancellations and cases of overbooking. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an employee of a private-sector company or a public official.
How do I know if my flight was delayed in excess of 3 hours?
This is often difficult to determine for passengers. The delay in arrival determines whether the flight falls under the compensation regulation: if this was 3 hours or more, passengers may be entitled to compensation. If you’re not sure your delay was 3 hours or more you can submit your claim with us anyway. We will then assess what the actual length of your delay was and whether you’re entitled to receive compensation.
Extraordinary Circumstances – Sometimes the Airlines Do Not Have to Pay Delay Compensation
In order for the airline to be obligated to pay you financial compensation for your delayed flight, this cannot consist of extraordinary circumstances that could not have been prevented by the airline. If this is the case, the airline is released in these circumstances of any obligation to pay compensation.?In all other cases you are entitled to obtain your financial compensation for the delayed flight.
The term ‘extraordinary circumstances’ may apply to a number of sequences of events where the delay was caused by something out of the normal, things such as:
– Airport and airspace closures
– Political instability
– Unavoidable security risks
– Birds flying into the engine
– Bad weather conditions
There are exceptions to the rule – for example if it is shown that the airline could have avoided the problem by taking reasonable measures, it will be liable for the delay of the aircraft. An instance of this would be if the airline cited bad weather conditions, and what actually happened was they failed to ensure that there were sufficient supplies of de-icer before the onset of winter. In this case they may be deemed responsible for the delay – especially if flights operated by other airlines were able to depart on time. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell the difference between difficult and truly extraordinary circumstances.
Right to Care: Food, Accommodation and Refreshments
It is the airlines’ obligation to make the wait for your flight comfortable. This is known as a passenger’s “Right to Care”. In its most basic form, the airline is required to offer you food and drinks for the duration of your wait.
When you’re stuck waiting for the airline to get you back on track toward your destination, European law EC 261 says you’re entitled to a number essentials, depending on your flight details.
Regardless the reason of the delay, Your airline must provide you with:
- A reasonable amount of food and drink
- Two communications (phone calls, emails, fax)
- Hotel accommodation if needed
- Transfer to and from that accommodation
Airlines are clever when it comes to NOT paying compensation
You can get up to 600 Euros for your Delayed flight.
BUT, you know what?!
Airlines are clever when it comes to paying compensation. They have a full closet of tricks and excuses for not paying compensation and this greatly affects an airline’s reliability.
Do you know what they do? all that the airline offers are vouchers as flight compensation…
Not quite what you were expecting, is it?
Do not hurry to make conclusions, we can not consider all vouchers as the airline trick.
If that’s what you were hoping for, hold on a second before accepting that offer: you might be entitled to something much better.
Do you know, what is a point of offering vouchers? Travel voucher’s value is generally lower than the amount of the compensation you are entitled to. It’s a more cost-effective for airline carriers than paying compensation for a delayed flight.
Read our blog post about Vouchers: Travel and Meal Vouchers as Flight Delay Compensation? NEVER ACCEPT