Delayed flight compensation

Delayed flights are more usual than you might think. But you can get the compensation for such flight disruptions under EU Regulation 261/2004.

Worth knowing, if your flight delay takes more than 2 hours, airlines must provide you with meals and drinks. In fact, there are more care services, such as telephone, internet and accommodation, airlines have to supply in the event of longer delay. When the flight delay takes more than 3 hours and airlines are responsible for that delay, you have the right to apply for the delayed flight compensation, which might be up to 600 euros.

Circumstances to receive a delayed flight claim compensation

There are certain conditions to receive delayed flight compensation. They depend on the flight origin, extraordinary circumstances etc.

Firstly, you may receive compensation for the flights that begin inside the EU or land in the EU (if the carrier is EU-based airline). Flights in Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are also included into regulation. All types of flights, such as charter, scheduled and low-cost, may be compensated. What is more, package holidays may also be compensated.

In the event of extraordinary circumstances, such as strikes, political unrest, bad weather conditions, airport operation failures, airplane manufacturing errors, birds flying into the engine and similar disruptions, you will not receive compensation. Fortunately, flight staff strikes are excluded from this exception.

Delayed flight compensation may also be rejected if you arrive late to the departure gate. Make sure that you will be at the gate on time. Also, compensation doesn’t belong to you if you bought your flight ticket with a special tariff, which is not available to other customers directly (for example, an airline staff tariff).

In short, certain conditions must meet requirements in order to receive delayed flight compensation. You should apply for the compensation as soon as possible, because various countries have different time limits for validation of application. You may find those mentioned factors briefly in the table below:

Compensation payment is deliveredCompensation payment is omitted
Flights that begin inside the EUWhen flight disruption appears because of extraordinary circumstances. Flight staff strikes are excluded from this list.
Flights that land in the EU (if the carrier is EU-based airline)Because of late arrival to the departure gate of the passenger
Flights in Norway, Iceland and SwitzerlandSpecial tariff ticket
Charter, scheduled and low-cost flights and also package holidays
If passenger applied for the compensation before the end of application validation date in that country

Amount of delayed flight claim compensation

You may receive this amount of compensation in condition flight arrival is more than 3 hours later than it was planned:

  • 250 euros, when the distance is less than 1500 km.
  • 400 euros, when the distance is 1500 – 3500 km.
  • 600 euros, when  the distance is more than 3500 km.

Care services

Airlines must provide care service to their passengers under these circumstances even in extraordinary conditions:

Inside the EUOutside the EU
Flight distances less than 1500 km:

A delay more than 2 hours

Flight distances less than 1500 km:

A delay more than 2 hours

Flight distances less than 1500 km:

A delay more than 3 hours

Flight distances less than 1500 km:

A delay more than 3 hours

Flight distances less than 3500 km:

A delay more than 4 hours

Care services include:

  • Food and drink.
    Airlines must provide food and drink for their passengers in proportion to their waiting hours.
  • Telephone and Internet.
    Airlines must refund up to 2 phone calls, emails or faxes.
  • Accommodation.
    Airlines must pay for the hotel if overnight stay is needed while waiting. Transfers to and from the airport are also refundable.

Suggested steps when flight is delayed

Every passenger should know the process, what to do in the moment when the flight is delayed. In fact, airlines are not concerned about passengers compensation, so it is important to to know your rights, but also communicate with them. In the list below you will find main suggestions, what should you do if your flight is delayed:

  • Don’t lose or throw away your boarding pass or other travel documents.
  • Ask airlines staff for the written confirmation why your flight was delayed.
  • Don’t sign any documents that would eliminate your air passenger rights for this flight.
  • Collect contact details of other passengers in case you will need more information about reasons of delay and airlines reactions.
  • Request a full refund of the ticket if needed (full refund is available when the flight delay takes more than 5 hours).
  • Take photos proving the existence of the flight delay.
  • Request airlines staff to provide you drinks and foods, telephone or internet, hotel room and transfer if needed (care services must be provided even in the event of extraordinary circumstances).
  • Collect your receipts of your expenses for the food, drinks, transfers or hotel room.

Important tips before applying for compensation

There are some special facts to know when you apply for delayed flight compensation. Read them carefully and use them if needed:

  • Apply for the flight claim compensation as soon as possible, because there are different time limits for application in various countries.
  • Each passenger receives compensation. If you traveled with your family, all your family members may receive compensation for the delayed flight.
  • If you were on the business trip, you are the one, as a passenger, who should apply for the compensation, not the company, which paid for the ticket.

FAQ: frequently asked questions about flight delay compensations.

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