/ tips

EU Delay/Cancellation Compensation Explained

Ever wondered if you were due compensation for a delayed flight?

Well this post gives a quick breakdown of what compensation you should be entitled to after a delay/cancellation, and exactly how much you are entitled to claim.

The first thing to point out, is that the time delayed is defined as the difference between the time of arrival and the time the aircraft doors open after you land.

That means that if you take off 3hrs and 10 minutes late, but land within 2 hours and 50 minutes of the arrival time, you wouldn't technically be due any compensation. Although it still may be worth a shot.

The table below sets out all you need to know.

Delay Flight Distance Compensation
At least 3 hours Less than 1,500km €250
Between 1,500km and 3,500km €400
More than 1,500km and within the EU €400
3-4 hours More than 3500km, between an EU and non-EU airport €300
At least 4 hours More than 3,500km, between an EU and non-EU airport €600

If you look in the table above, you'll see that if your flight was delayed by 6 hours, from one EU airport to another with a distance of 3,600km, you'd be entitled to €400, for example.

You can also see that if you weren't delayed by more than 3 hours, you aren't entitled to any compensation (however you may be entitled to meal vouchers).

Airlines can turn down claims if exceptional circumstances apply. There is no set rules of what this means, but typically if the delay was completely beyond the airlines control, then it may come under exceptional circumstances.

"As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

"Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier."

Technical faults are not exceptional as one can argue that the airline should know that technical problems do arise, and they should be prepared. Basically the question to ask is "is this the airlines fault or someone else's?".

Delays due to incorrect scheduling are fair game, as are delays due to pilots being sick, damage to an aircraft, etc.

Here is the links for some airlines where you can submit your claim:
British Airways

Below is a template that you can use which tells the airline you know your rights and gives them the information they typically need.

I'm writing to claim compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 for the delay/cancellation of my flight.
Flight number: XYZ1234
Passenger names:
Date of flight:

They must also offer you meals, refreshments and hotel accommodation as appropriate whilst you wait for a rearranged flight. Airlines would be breaking the rules if they don't offer you this, or at least offer to refund you the out-of-pocket cost. They are obliged to pay for this whether the delay/cancellation was caused by exceptional circumstance or not.

I hope this was useful. Subscribe below to keep updated on Travel Hack Club articles.