Flight Delay Compensation

Ever experienced 3 hours flight delay? If yes, then according to the European Union Regulation EC 261/2004, you have the right to ask for compensation. This amount is up to $700 (€600) per person.

The European Commission (EC) introduced Regulation No. 261 in 2004 to care for air passengers. The compensation is up to 600 Euros for flight delays, cancellations and denied boarding.

You are eligible for compensation if …

  • You arrived with a delay of 3 hours or more at the final destination.
  • You departed from an EU airport, or landed at an EU airport with an EU regulated airline.

For the record, 'arrival time' is registered when the aircraft lands and one of its doors opens. But the airlines usually try to amend this rule.

They argue that as soon as the aircraft hits the runway is the arrival time. Don't be surprised, companies love exploiting loopholes in the system.

The good thing is you do not have to be an EU citizen to claim.

Flight delay occurs, and it is a common thing for air travelers. But, it's important to know your rights in case you face one. This way you would know what you are entitled to.

It can be due to so many reasons. The airlines are not responsible for all of them.

Can airlines have control over storms and extreme weather conditions? No, but they can be responsible for things under control like technical faults or mishandling aircrew.

Simply put, if the delay could have been avoided, the airline owes you money.

By the way, the stats are on your side. Looking at historical data the airlines have been responsible for most of these. This is good news.

The US and the EU have different policies for the air passengers. The EU gives more rights to air travelers. You could also say that it puts more pressure on the airlines.

But you should know how it works. Strangely, not many people knew that they can claim money from the airlines. It is like leaving cash on the table. So think of this 'explanatory guide' as an awareness post.

Amount of Compensation

The compensation amount varies depending on the length of the delay and route distance.

You can use our free compensation calculator to check the compensation amount that the airline owes you. Enter your flight number and travel date in the compensation checker tool and the exact amount will pop right up.

The rule is simple. To claim money back, you should have reached later than 3 hours at your final destination.

The following table is a snippet of the amounts you can expect in Euros (€) from airlines under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Arrival delay Route distance Compensation
Up to 2 hours 59 mins Any distance None
3 hours or more less than or equal to 1500 km €250
more than 1500 km within EU €400
1500 to 3500 km €400
3 to 4 hours 3500+ km €300*
4 hours + 3500+ km €600

* We have dealt with thousands of flight disruption cases. And have received reimbursement up to €600 for each customer. With a 99% win record, we can confidently say that we will get your cash back.

To calculate the route distance, you can use the Great Circle Mapper Tool. It is an online tool to calculate the route distance. Simply enter your departure and arrival airport and that is it.

Am I entitled to compensation for a delayed flight?

Under the EU Law (EC 261 of 2004), to be eligible for compensation;

  • You must have arrived later than 3 hours at your final destination.
  • Your flight must have departed from an EU airport or landed at an EU airport with the airline headquartered in an EU country.
  • Flight distruption should not be caused due to extraordinary circumstances or situations beyond the control of airlines.
  • You checked in on time (i.e., 45 minutes before departure time.)

EU covers 28 countries, including the Canary Islands, Iceland and Azores. Bear in mind that the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Faroe Islands are not covered.

To read details about your rights for short haul, medium haul or long haul flights, you can visit UK’s Civil Aviation Authority Website.

Let's use a simple example.

Your original flight was from Los Angeles to London with British Airways, or from Munich to New York with American Airlines, but landed after a delay of over 4 hours. In both these cases, you have the right to ask for compensation.

What are Exceptional Circumstances? Can I claim compensation for delays due to extraordinary circumstances?

There are exceptional (extraordinary) circumstances under which you are not eligible for compensation.

These are:

  • Natural disasters such as Earthquake, Tsunami, bad weather, lightning strikes, and volcanic eruptions
  • Air traffic control restrictions
  • Crew members strike
  • Political unrest
  • Technical issues caused due to a bird hitting the plane engine

The table given below clarifies when a passenger can or cannot demand compensation when it comes to exceptional circumstances:

Circumstance Strike Natural Disasters Technical Problem
Circumstances which couldn’t be avoided A strike is an exceptional circumstance. Earthquake, Tsunami, Extreme weather, Volcanic eruption are natural disasters and cannot be controlled. If happens on a broader scale, for example, closure of Airport due to the technical problem.
Ordinary Circumstances when airlines may pay compensation If any other airline was operational during strike. If the runway was not cleared. If it could be avoided, for example by catching birds at the runway or keeping spare parts.

Note: Strike is only considered as extraordinary if all flights traveling the same day are canceled or delayed. However, if other airlines were operational then you can ask for compensation.

My flight was delayed, What are my rights?

Case 1: Flight delays on arrival for 3 or more hours than the scheduled arrival time

i. If the route distance was up to 1500 km, you can claim up to €250 as compensation. Say, your American Airlines flight (AA 6276) from London (LHR) to Madrid (MAD) was delayed at Madrid Airport for more than 3 hours, you can claim up to €250.

ii. If the travel distance was between 1501 km to 3500 km, you can claim up to €400. Say, your Air France flight (AF 1890) from Paris (CDG) to Istanbul (IST) was delayed for 3+ hours, you can claim up to €400.

iii. If the delay was for 4 hours or more and the route distance was 3500+ km you can claim up to €600. For example, Air China flight CA 966 from Frankfurt (FRA), Germany to Beijing, China (PEK) was delayed for 4+ hours at the Beijing Airport. The compensation amount would be €600.

The following table gives a concise picture:

Distance Compensation Amount
<= 1500 km €250
1500 km to 3500 €400
>= 3500 km €600

Case 2: Flight delayed beyond the scheduled departure time

i. For 2+ hours delays and total travel distance up to 1500 km, OR

ii. For delays of 3+ hours and total travel distance between 1501 km and 3500 km, OR

iii. For 4+ hours delays and total travel distance above 3500 km

The airlines should offer meals and refreshments free of charge while you wait for your flight. They should also give you 2 free phone calls, emails or fax services.

iv. If the flight is delayed for more than 5 hours

Then the airlines should refund the ticket cost within the next seven days.

You can also claim a refund for connecting flights and ask for a return ticket to your original destination.

v. If there's an overnight delay, and it is necessary to stay

Then the airlines should provide hotel accommodation and transport facility between airport and hotel.

Flight delayed during departure for more than 5 hours

Under EC Regulation 261/2004, if your flight delays for 5 or more hours, you can claim the refund.

Monetary compensation is not the only thing that the airline is to provide their passengers.

Following is a list of things that every airline should offer passengers in case of a delay:

  1. Snacks & Beverages.
  2. Facility to email and make phone calls.
  3. If during the delayed hours, passengers have no other choice but to stay at a hotel, the airline should offer hotel accommodation and transport facility to it.
  4. In case of missed connection, free flight or an alternate transport facility to the original destination must be offered.

For missed connections:

You can get a refund of the ticket cost for the part of the journey not covered. And ask for a return ticket to your original destination.

You can also ask for compensation if you reached your final destination later than 3 hours of the scheduled arrival time.

Here’s the thing, airlines hate paying. When you claim with the airline they will come up with excuses to stall you. Chances are you will end up waiting for weeks before you hear anything from them.

If you plan to send them a legal notice, you will need to hire a lawyer. But lawyers do not entertain small value claims, which plays well for the airlines. The customer gets tired of trying and gives up the claim.

So, what to do?

How to claim compensation through us?

Claiming ‘delayed flight compensation’ is simple as ABC with "ClaimFlights."

We excel in claiming compensation for delayed and canceled flights.

Simply enter your flight number and date in our free Compensation Calculator.

After entering the required information, mention the reason and details of your flight. Our compensation calculator will tell you the amount that you can claim. Other documents you may need to provide include; flight ticket, boarding pass, contact details, etc.

The process does not take more than 2 minutes. To claim on your behalf, you will need to digitally sign the claim form.

ClaimFlights 3 Steps Claiming Process

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Input Claim Let us work Get Paid
Enter your flight number and date of your journey. A claim expert will organize everything. Using our database, your case will be well researched. Your compensation (minus our success fee) will be transferred directly to your bank account.
It will take less than 2 minutes to enter the details and close the process with a digital signature. We bring your claim to fruition. We will send you an invoice in .pdf format if requested.

Benefits of Choosing "ClaimFlights"

  • ClaimFlights claim experts work on a "No Win-No Fee" basis. We do not charge our customers any fee until we win their case and get compensation from the airlines.
  • Our professional team is well trained and experienced in sending claim letters to the airlines, and dispute in court if necessary.
  • Simply provide us the required information and assign us the case by digitally signing it. We will claim compensation from the airline on your behalf.
  • We have a fantastic success record. We charge very less fee from our customers compared to other flight compensation companies. We also educate you about your rights so you can handle such situations in the future.

How to know the amount that you can claim?

Simply put your flight number and scheduled date in our compensation checked tool. The amount will immediately show within 2 minutes.

EU 261 Rule additionally entitles you to claim compensation for holiday packages

According to the EC Regulation (Directive 90/314/EEC) on compensation, the air passenger also gets protection for tour packages, vacation packages, holiday packages, and travel packages.

The rule applies only to packages that are purchased within the EU Member States. However, if the trip is scheduled for a destination outside the EU, even then you get this protection.

Your schedule should have route information, destination, as well as the transport facility, mentioned clearly on it. It is extremely important to have this data.

The trip organizer needs to mention the time and location of the flights' connections and stopovers in written form.

If there is anything missing from the above-mentioned data then it is solely the responsibility of the tour organizer.

If the terms and conditions are not met properly, the airlines can revise the price of the compensation.

Now you know how the EU protects air passengers. But what about the United States? Even though the EU Laws provide better care, the U.S. gives other benefits.

Tarmac Delay Rule / Rule 240

U.S. Department Of Transportation (DOT) has set certain rules like Tarmac Delay Rule or Rule 240 for airline passengers to claim compensation. If they had any inconvenience at the airport due to delays, cancellations and denied boarding.

US Tarmac Delay Rule is the US air passenger rights rule which addresses the problem of passengers being stranded on the ground aboard aircraft, denied boarding and flight delays.

It states, among other regulations, that airlines are not allowed to wait for more than four hours on international flights or over three hours on domestic flights and also protects air travelers against involuntarily denied boarding.

Any flight departed from or arrived at US airport if delays or was canceled, entitles the passengers to ask for compensation in accordance with Tarmac Delay Rule.

You might be entitled to claim up to 400% of your one-way fare back. In accordance with the Tarmac Delay Rule, airlines are obliged to report each and every case (14 CFR Part 244) and offer unsolicited compensation. Furthermore, the airline is obliged to offer each passenger who was denied to board with a check or cash on the same day it occurs.

Rule 240 is introduced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to claim compensation if air passengers have inconvenience at the airport due to delays, cancellations or denied boarding problems. FAA’s Rule 240 was obsolete after the deregulation in 1978. But still, some US airlines like United Airlines are following this rule.

Regardless of where you are in the world, there are many ways you can get some form of reimbursement. It can be cash, voucher or some other benefits to help you get through the inconvenience caused. Knowing your rights goes a long way.

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Flight Delay Compensation Calculator
You could receive up to $700 per person. Claim for your rights and check your itinerary for free here.
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Flight Delay Compensation Calculator
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Flight Delay Compensation Calculator
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Flight Delay Compensation Calculator
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Flight Delay Compensation Calculator
E.g., 08.12.2019
Flight Delay Compensation Calculator
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