Air Passenger Rights

Don’t be in the dark about your air passenger rights – our Top 5 flight claim companies guide you to compensation with EU Regulation EC 261 and fly stress-free!

How much compensation am I eligible for?

Flight claim compensation serves as a safeguard for passengers, ensuring they are rightfully compensated for disruptions caused by airlines.

European air passenger rights

Many air passengers still don’t know their rights which protect them while in transit. Even those who are aware of these protections may still question what their rights are in such situations. Top 5 flight claim companies, selected by experts from ReadnPick.com, can help you comprehend the air passenger rights and can aid you in claiming compensation for flight delays in accordance with European Union (EU) Regulation EC 261.

For which flights can I get compensation under EU regulations EC 261?

Most flights within Europe are eligible for compensation, including those that fly over non-EU airspace such as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and certain distant regions like French Guiana and Martinique, Guadeloupe and La Réunion, Saint-Martin, Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.

To qualify, your flight must either depart from an EU airport or arrive at one, except for flights departing from a non-EU country. In this case, the carrier must be an EU-based airline.

In some cases, disrupted flights outside the EU may also be refundable under EC 261, provided they are connecting flights with the same carrier and made under a single reservation (with the same booking reference number). The easiest way to determine if you’re eligible for flight compensation is to choose a flight claim company from our Top 5 agencies list and check eligibility on their website.

What are your flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding rights?

Air passenger rights refer to legal regulations that provide assistance and compensation to travellers in case of flight disruptions such as delays, cancellations, or denied boarding. European air passenger rights are outlined in EU Regulations EC 261, which entitles passengers to compensation in various circumstances.

However, despite the existence of these laws, many people are not aware of their rights or are unaware that they have legal recourse in such situations. In fact, nearly 85% of EU air passengers are not aware of their flight rights. In addition to individual country laws, there are also regional laws such as EU regulation EC 261, various US laws, Brazil’s ANAC Resolution No 400 and the Montreal Convention, which protects airline passenger rights on a global scale.

What is EU Regulation EC 261?

EC 261/2004 is a regulation in EU law that protects air travel passenger rights. Under this law, airlines are financially accountable when flights are delayed, cancelled or overbooked in cases if the disruption was caused by circumstances which were in airlines control.

EU 261 Regulation plays an important role in advocating for air passenger rights, this law is applied not only for European travellers. All passengers departing from European airports are covered under this law. Passengers arriving at Europe airports from other worldwide destinations may be covered as well in cases when the carrier is an EU based airline.

EU Regulation EC 261 compensation

Airline passengers are frequently unaware that airlines are legally and financially liable for flight disruptions in numerous situations. Knowing air passenger rights can be advantageous as each passenger may be entitled to receive compensation of up to £530/€600 for flight delays, cancellations, or denied boarding. However, it is not necessary to understand all the intricacies and legal jargon, as any flight claim company from our Top 5 list, with its team of legal experts, can assist you with the claims process.

Select from the following list the type of flight disruption you have experienced and find out more about flight passenger rights in these cases:

Furthermore, the amount of compensation passenger may receive depends on a lot of factors such as the flight distance and the amount of time the passenger was delayed arriving at the final destination.

Extraordinary circumstances flight delay compensation

According to EU Regulation EC 261, airlines are not required to pay compensation if the reason for flight disruption was due to unforeseeable events beyond their control. These events could include strikes by airport employees or air traffic control, political instability, extreme weather conditions, security threats, and other similar situations.

However, airlines still have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent delays, even in such extraordinary circumstances where refund is not required. If other airlines were able to prevent delays during the same circumstances, but your airline did not, then you may still be entitled to flight delay compensation.

In 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that airline staff strikes are not considered an extraordinary circumstance, and therefore passengers affected by such strikes may be eligible for compensation. 

Air passenger rights under EU Regulation EC 261

EU Regulation EC 261 requires airlines to provide various forms of assistance to passengers, in addition to monetary compensation.

Obligation to provide information about air passenger rights

Airlines must display information about passengers’ rights under EC 261 at their check-in counters in all airports where they operate.

Reimbursement or re-routing

If your flight is delayed by more than 5 hours, you are entitled to a full or partial refund of your ticket, in addition to compensation, and a return flight to your original departure point if necessary.

Right to care

Regardless of the cause of the flight delay, airlines are required to provide food and drinks if you are waiting for more than 2 hours, depending on the distance of your flight. Additionally, the airline must offer access to internet, phone calls, or fax services. If the delay requires an overnight stay, the airline must provide hotel accommodations and transportation to and from the airport. The level of additional care provided will depend on the specifics of your flight:

Flight detailsLength of delay
Flights 1,500 km or less2 hours or more
Internal EU flights more than 1,500 km3 hours or more
Non-internal EU flights 1,500 km – 3,500 km3 hours or more
Non-internal EU flights more than 3,500 km4 hours or more
Upgrading and downgrading

If you are offered a higher class seat on an alternative flight due to a flight delay, you will not be required to pay any additional fees. However, if the alternative flight seat offered by the airline is of a lower class, you may be eligible for a reimbursement of 30-75% of the ticket price you originally paid.

Flight delay compensation time limit

Your right to claim compensation for a flight delay under EU Regulation EC 261 is subject to a time limit, which varies depending on the laws of the country where you are making the claim.

It is important to note that the country where you are making the claim is not determined by your nationality, but rather by where the airline is headquartered or which court has jurisdiction in cases involving the airline.

Here is the chart of time limits for you:

CountryTime limit
Austria3 years
Belgium1 year
Bulgaria5 years
Croatia3 years
Cyprus6 years
Czech Republic3 years
Denmark3 years
Estonia3 years
Finland3 years
France5 years
Germany*3 years
Greece5 years
Hungary5 years
Iceland2 years
Ireland6 years
Italy26 months
Latvia10 years
Lithuania10 years
Luxembourg10 years
MaltaNo limit
Netherlands2 years
Norway3 years
Poland1 year
Portugal3 years
Romania3 years
Slovakia2 years
Slovenia2 years
Spain5 years
Sweden**3 years
Switzerland2 years
United Kingdom6 years

* In Germany the limitation period expires the last day of the third year (for example, the disrupted flight was on 22/3/2018, the limitation period for this flight expires on 31/12/2021).

** In Sweden the limitation period is renewed at any time when a claim is made. So the limitation period for any subsequent claims would be 3 years from the time the last claim was filed.

What is the Montreal Convention?

The Montreal Convention is a contract signed by more than 130 countries globally that outlines airline liability in the event of flight delay, and for cases of damage or loss of baggage. However, this convention is not as extensive as EU Regulation EC 261 in regards to flight disruption.

What air passenger rights are covered by the Montreal Convention?

The Montreal Convention outlines passenger rights for various types of flight disruptions, such as flight delays, cancellations, or denied boarding.

If a passenger incurs additional expenses due to a disruption, such as missing a prepaid reservation, the airline may cover these expenses. However, documentation of the incident and proof of additional expenses, such as receipts, are necessary. Only damages resulting directly from the disruption will be refunded. The Montreal Convention also provides protection for issues such as damaged, delayed, or lost luggage.

Strict time limits apply under the Montreal Convention, and claims must be filed as soon as possible. For damaged baggage claims, the time limit is 7 days, while delayed baggage claims must be filed within 21 days. For lost baggage that remains lost for more than 21 days, claims must be filed within 2 years.

Which flights are covered by the Montreal Convention?

The Montreal Convention is applicable to international flights between countries that have adopted the agreement. It has been signed and is recognized by over 130 countries globally.

The Convention also applies to flights within a single member country, but only if there is a planned stopover in a different country, making the flight international rather than domestic.