FLIGHT DELAY COMPENSATION – Some things you may not know

Are you aware that if you have experienced an extended delay whilst travelling in the past six years you have the right to claim up to 600 Euro in compensation for every member of your party under the Provisions of EU Regulation (EC) 261/2004?

Compensation depends on four key factors –

  1. The type of disruption
  2. The length of the disruption
  3. The distance that you travelled
  4. The fault which caused the disruption.

Airlines are not obliged to provide cash compensation in the event of “extraordinary circumstances”.   From November 2009 the European Court of Justice has indicated that these regulations were to apply to delays (and not merely cancellations), provided the claimant reached his final destination three hours or more after the arrival time originally scheduled by the air carrier.  It is estimated that less than 10% of consumers are aware of their rights as air passengers.


If your flight has been cancelled in the past six years you may be entitled to compensation unless you were informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before the flights schedule date or you were rerouted close to your original time – i.e. within two hours of the scheduled flight.    If the rerouting is more than that then you are potentially entitled to 50% compensation.  The airline can escape payment if the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.


Extended delays

The airline will be obliged to provide care (refreshment, meal, phone call, accommodation, transport to same) if delay was for two hours or more for flights of 1500 kilometres or less; three hours or more for longer flights within the EU or for all other flights of between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; four hours or more for flights of over 3500 kilometres.

If you are delayed for more than five hours and as a result decide not to continue your journey, you may also be entitled to have your ticket reimbursed and be flown back to where you originally started your journey.

If you arrive at your final destination with a delay of not less than three hours, you may be entitled to compensation identical to that offered in the circumstances of a cancellation unless the airline can prove the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances.

Missed connections

If a delay causes you to miss a connecting flight, you may be entitled to compensation- so long as both flights were part of the same ticket and you were delayed within the time frame set out and described (see “extended delays” above).   However if both flights were not part of the same ticket it may depend on the terms and conditions of relevant airlines.



If your flight plans were rerouted there may be an entitlement to compensation if this results in a delay; if the delay extends past two hours the airline may reduce compensation of up to 50% of the normal compensation value.

Denied boarding

If you have been denied boarding a flight you may be entitled to compensation of up to 600 Euro – again depending on the distance of the flight and delays experienced.   Often this is as a result of overbooking by the airline.   The airline must seek volunteers to give up a reservation in exchange for certain benefits and must offer these volunteers a choice between a full refund and rerouting.

If you volunteered to be rerouted, the airline must provide necessary assistance such as food, access to telephone, hotel accommodation (up to three nights where necessary) and transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation.



In the event that your ticket was downgraded – possibly due to overbooking, rerouting or otherwise – and you are downgraded as a result, you may be entitled to compensation of 30% of your ticket price for flights of 1500 kilometres or less; 50% of the ticket price for flights of more than 1500 Kilometres within the EU with certain exceptions for French Overseas Departments and flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres elsewhere; 75% of ticket price for other flights over 3500 kilometres.


Lost, damaged or stolen baggage

If you have suffered any of the above within the last 21 days, you may be entitled to compensation up to a maximum of 1220 Euro unless the airline can prove that it has taken all reasonable measure to avoid damage or it was impossible to take these measures.  If baggage is damaged you must lodge your claim within 7 days of receiving it.   If baggage is delayed the period is a maximum of 21 days.

  • 7 Jan, 2016
  • drbrewster

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