Delayed Flight Compensation

Stay informed about air passenger rights in case of delayed flight and use our selected Top 5 flight claim companies’ service to obtain compensation in accordance with European Union Regulation EC 261.

Flight delay compensation under EC 261

Air travel can sometimes bring about unexpected and unpleasant situations, one of which is flight delays. In such cases, it’s essential to be aware of your entitlements under the European Union (EU) Regulation EC 261. If you’ve experienced a delayed flight, you may be eligible to receive compensation of up to £530/€600 for the inconvenience caused.

What are your rights when a flight is delayed?

  • If your flight is delayed for 3 or more hours, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation from the airline. 
  • The amount of compensation can range between £220/€250 to £530/€600, depending on the specific circumstances of the delay. 
  • Additionally, if the delay lasts for more than 2 hours, the airline is obligated to provide food and drinks to passengers. 
  • In the case of an overnight delay, the airline must also provide hotel accommodation and transfers to and from the airport. 

These obligations are outlined in the EU Regulation EC 261, which specifies the rights of air passengers and the responsibilities of airlines. So if you experience a flight delay and you believe that you may be entitled to compensation, choose a flight claim company from our Top 5 agencies list and get compensation.

What to do when your flight is delayed?

  • Contact the airline staff to confirm the delay and the reasons behind it. 
  • Keep your boarding pass and any other travel documents.
  • If the delay exceeds 2 hours, ask airline staff for food and drinks. 
  • Collect all the necessary documents, such as vouchers and receipts.
  • Gather any available proof of the delay.
  • Don’t sign anything or accept any offers which might waive your air passenger rights.
  • If the delay is overnight, demand the airline to provide you with accommodation.
  • Use our flight delay compensation calculator to check the amount of refund and claim compensation.

Can I apply for compensation for a delayed flight? 

You might be eligible for flight delay compensation:

  • If you reached your final destination more than 3 hours after the scheduled arrival time.
  • You departed from an EU airport or arrived at an EU airport with an EU-based airline.
  • Your check-in was on time, usually no less than 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
  • Your flight delay happened within the last 3 years, depending on the country’s laws.
  • The airline is responsible for the delay. The reasons for the delay were within the airline’s control.
  • Compensation is still available even if the airline provided food or vouchers.

How much compensation for the delayed flight can I get?

Under EU legislation EC 261 you may receive a refund for a flight delay if your arrival was more than 3 hours late. The amount of the compensation depends on the flight distance and how many hours you were delayed.

3 – 4 hours delayMore than 4 hours delayNever arrivedFlight distance
£220/€250£220/€250£220/€2501500 km and less 
£350/€400£350/€400£350/€400Internal EU flights more than 1500 km
£350/€400£350/€400£350/€400Non-internal EU flights 1500 – 3500 km
£260/€300£530/€600£530/€600Non-internal flights more than 3500 km

Check your amount of flight delay compensation with our flight compensation calculator.

What if my flight was delayed during my business trip?

Many travellers think that the company which bought the ticket is entitled to delayed flight compensation during business trips, but this is not true. Actually, the passenger who travelled can get a flight delay compensation, not the person or company who bought the ticket, regardless of whether he/she is an employee or public official.

Air passenger rights: food, drinks and accommodation

Under EC 261 law, airlines are required to provide passengers with food, drinks, and access to communication services like internet, telephone or fax if a flight is delayed for more than 2 hours, regardless of the cause of the delay. If the delay lasts overnight, the airline must provide hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the airport.

What if my flight delay is more than 5 hours?

If your flight delay is more than 5 hours, you are entitled to a full or partial refund of your airline ticket and a return flight to your departure point if you need that.

What if I get a higher or lower class seat in the new flight?

If the airline offers you an alternative flight and you get a higher class seat, you don’t have to pay additionally. If the alternative flight seat offered by the airline is the lower class you may get 30 – 75% reimbursement of the price you paid for the ticket.

How to get compensation for the delayed flight?

To determine if you’re eligible for flight delay compensation can be difficult, as it involves accessing flight databases, comparing your case to others, and checking if it falls under EC 261 law. This can be complicated for someone without legal knowledge or the necessary access.

A better option is to choose a flight claim company from our best agencies list to apply for your compensation. You can also enter your flight information into our free compensation calculator and find out what you’re entitled to. It’s an easy way to check your eligibility for compensation, without the hassle of doing it all yourself.

Cash compensation and flight vouchers

If an airline offers you flight vouchers due to a flight delay, you need to be careful. Accepting these vouchers could mean that you are waiving your right to claim compensation that you are legally entitled to. EU regulations state that compensation for flight delays should be paid in cash, electronic transfer, or checks unless the passenger agrees to accept vouchers instead. However, many people are not aware of their rights and often accept vouchers instead of the compensation they are entitled to.

For which flights can I get compensation under EC 261?

If your flight is delayed in Europe, you may be eligible for flight delay compensation. This includes flights departing from or arriving at EU airports, as well as flights in other European countries, such as Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, and distant territories such as French Guiana and the Canary Islands. The airline must be an EU-based carrier for flights outside of the EU to be eligible.

How is the arrival time counted?

When it comes to delayed flight compensation, what matters is the arrival time, not the departure time. In a 2014 court case, the European Court of Justice established that “arrival time” means when the plane has reached its final destination and one of its doors is open. This is when passengers are allowed to leave the plane.

What are extraordinary circumstances for a flight delay?

If your flight is delayed due to circumstances beyond the airline’s control, like severe weather or strikes by air traffic controllers, the airline is not liable for compensation. These are known as “extraordinary circumstances”. However, in April 2018, the European Court of Justice decided that strikes by airline staff are not considered extraordinary circumstances.

Airline responsibility for missed connection due to a delay

If one of your flights is delayed and you miss your connection, the airline is responsible for providing you an alternative flight to your destination. You may also be entitled to compensation under EC 261 law, up to £530/€600, if you arrive at your final destination more than 3 hours later than your original flight. This compensation only applies if your flights were booked as part of the same journey, not separately.