Can I Claim Compensation For a Delayed or Cancelled Flight?

No one ever wants to deal with a delayed or cancelled flight, as it tends to disrupt plans and might even alter connecting flights. As a result, there are now agencies like Flightright constantly working to ensure passengers are treated fairly and get properly compensated for any inconvenience caused by the airline. If you have ever wondered whether or not you can claim compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight, this article seeks to answer your questions. 

What is Flight Compensation?

The Flight Compensation Regulation (EC No 261/2004) is a European Union law put in place to protect airline passenger rights in the event of flight delays or cancellations. With this regulation, affected passengers from flight disruptions can file a claim of €250 to €600, depending on circumstances around it.

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible?

The first thing you must know is if you are eligible to claim this compensation. Below are the criteria you must meet to be able to file a compensation claim. 

  • Your flight is departing from an EU member state or landing in one and the airline is headquartered within the EU. 
  • Your flight was delayed for at least 3 hours.
  • The airline informed you of the cancellation less than 14 days before the initial departure date.
  • The reason for the flight disruption is within the airline’s control. 

All of these will apply only if you have a valid ticket and booking confirmation. If you are travelling on a discounted ticket specifically for you, the law does not apply. If you’re filing a claim for flight delay, you must have checked in at least 45 minutes before departure time.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

The EU 261/2004 regulation states that a passenger can be entitled to compensation of €250 to €600. However, the exact amount you can claim depends on some factors and this includes the flight distance and the length of the delay. 

The flight distance is calculated as follows:

  • Short distance (e.g. London – Edinburgh) – Below 1500km –  €250 compensation.
  • Medium distance (e.g. London – Athens) – Between 1500km and 3500km – €400 compensation.
  • Long distance (e.g. London – Tokyo) – Over 3500km – €600 compensation.

If you’re filing a claim for flight delay, it is calculated as follows:

  • Short: 2 hours
  • Medium: 3 hours
  • Long: 4 hours

Apart from the monetary compensation, you are also entitled to free meals and refreshments if your flight is delayed or cancelled after you have checked in. In addition, if you have to spend the night at the airport due to the disruption, the airline is obligated to prepare a hotel accommodation for you. 

When Am I Not Entitled

While the EC261 law protects passengers, there could be times when you’re unable to file a claim. This applies when the reason behind the flight delay or cancellation was beyond the airline’s control. This may include bad weather conditions, security risks, and political unrest, among others. 

Bottom Line

Understand your rights under the EC261 law, so you can exercise them at the appropriate time.  If you ever have your flight delayed or cancelled, you can kick-start the process of getting compensated or talk to a professional to make the process swift.