Navigating EU Regulation 261/2004: A Step-by-Step Guide to Flight Compensation

Last updated on May 16, 2023

In today’s era of reliable flight scheduling, disruptions are a common occurrence. From flight cancellations to overbookings and significant delays, air passengers suffer more frequently than they should. To ensure that air passengers are appropriately compensated, the European Union has implemented Regulation 261/2004. In this article, we will explain the essential aspects of EU Regulation 261/2004 in detail and offer a step-by-step guide on navigating flight compensation.

What Is EU Regulation 261/2004?

Formally known as ‘Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004’, EU Regulation 261/2004 is a set of rules created by the European Union in order to protect air passengers’ rights in case of disruption. This regulation serves to ensure that air passengers are compensated for delays, cancellations, and denied boarding due to overbooking. This regulation applies to all EU member states, as well as European economic area airlines that depart from EU airports, and airlines worldwide that depart from EU airports.

Rights in Case of Flight Cancellation, Delay or Overbooking

Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers have the following rights in the event of a flight cancellation, delay, or overbooking:

  • When their flight is cancelled, passengers are entitled to either an alternative flight or a refund. Additionally, in cases involving long delays and cancellations, airlines must provide meals, refreshments, and overnight accommodation where necessary.
  • In cases of flight delayed for more than two hours, passengers are entitled to meals and refreshments, as well as communication and transportation expenses to the final destination. The airline may also be liable to pay compensation up to 600 Euros under certain circumstances.
  • If a flight is overbooked and passengers are denied boarding, they are entitled to financial compensation and assistance under certain circumstances.

Know Your Rights When Flight is Overbooked

When a flight is overbooked, passengers must be notified of the issue before check-in. Airlines are also required to inform you of your right to seek compensation if you are denied boarding due to overbooking. During this time, you have the following rights:

  • Request a full refund for the ticket, even for non-refundable tickets.
  • Request an alternative flight departing from the same airport at the earliest available time or get a flight to the final destination at no extra cost.
  • Receive compensation for the inconvenience and distress caused.
  • Seek reimbursement for additional expenses incurred due to the flight disruption.

How to Claim Compensation

Claiming compensation can be a complicated process. For this reason, many people opt to use flight claim companies to guide them through the process. Such companies can contact airlines and file claims on a passenger’s behalf. Many of these companies claim a portion of a passenger’s compensation as a service fee.


It is essential to be aware of your rights when it comes to flight disruptions. EU Regulation 261/2004 provides a set of rules to protect the rights of European and international air passengers. From flight cancellation, delay, or denied boarding due to overbooking, passengers are entitled to compensation and assistance from their airline under certain circumstances. Therefore, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the rules, know your rights, and consider the services of flight claim companies to guide you to the flight compensation you are entitled to.

EU Regulation 261/2004 is a crucial law that protects your rights as an air passenger when your flight is disrupted. It’s important to know your rights and how to claim flight compensation you’re entitled to. Take charge of your travel experience and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. You may also explore the Top 5 flight claim companies.