How long can a flight be delayed before compensation?

Last updated on March 28, 2023

The length of time a flight must be delayed before compensation is available to passengers depends on the laws and regulations of the country where the airline is based or where the flight is departing from or arriving to.

For example, under European Union law (EU261), passengers may be eligible for compensation if their flight is delayed for 3 hours or more and the delay was not caused by extraordinary circumstances such as severe weather or a security alert.

EU law applies to flights departing from an airport located in the European Union or arriving in an EU airport on an EU airline, regardless of the passenger's nationality. It also applies to flights departing from an airport located outside the EU to an EU airport on an EU airline, if the flight distance is over 1,500 km. You may check the amount of flight delay compensation you may be eligible for with our calculator.

In the United States, there are no federal regulations requiring airlines to compensate passengers for delayed flights. However, some airlines may offer compensation or travel vouchers at their discretion.

If you believe you are entitled to compensation, you can file a complaint with the flight claim company, which you may choose from our Top 5 flight compensation agencies list.

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