Flight delayed? Claim your money back

You’ve planned out the perfect trip. Sadly, after making your way through traffic and the frustrations of airport security, you arrive at your gate only to find that your flight has been cancelled. Fortunately, if you’re flight was departing the EU or chose a European airline, your flight is protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation (EU Regulation 261/2004).

Flight delayed? Claim your money back

The rules on flight delays 

This regulation ensures that travellers using EU-based airlines are compensated for flight delays and cancellations, including up to €600 per traveller for delays of four hours or more.

However, there are specific steps and criteria for determining whether your circumstance qualifies for compensation under the Denied Boarding Regulation, including:

  • You’ve confirmed your booking. 

  • You’ve checked in on time or (if the check-in time is not stated) checked in at least 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

  • Your flight is departing an EU airport or is flying into an EU airport from a non-EU airport on a “community carrier”.

  • The delay was not caused by unforeseen circumstances or those outside of the airline’s control.

Bear in mind: you are not protected under this Regulation if you’re travelling on a non-EU airline flying from a non-EU airport. You can check their Condition of Carriage to determine what compensation you may be entitled to outside of the EU regulation, but as non-EU airlines do not have the same duty of care as EU airlines, you may not be entitled to any form of compensation.

Your entitlement for flight delays

Your entitlement under the Denied Boarding Regulation depends on the length of your delay and the length of your flight. In general, you are entitled to compensation and/or assistance if:

  1. Your short-haul flight (2-hour flight time or less) is delayed by 2 hours or more.

  1. Your medium-haul flight (flight time between 2 and 4 hours) is delayed 3 hours or more.

  1. Your long-haul flight (flight time over 4 hours) is delayed by 4 hours or more.

If your delay is long than 2 hours you may also be entitled to two free phone calls, faxes, or emails; free meals and refreshments; and/or free accommodations or transfers if the delay requires an overnight stay. Plus, if your flight is delayed for longer than 5 hours and meets the compensation criteria for the Denied Boarding Regulation, you receive the same benefits as you would if your flight was cancelled. Delays of this length also qualify for compensation regardless of whether the delay was caused by “extraordinary circumstances” or not.

How much can I claim back?

How much you can claim depends also depends on the length of your flight and the length of your delay, but in general you can expect compensation between €250 and €600 for qualifying delays.

Overall, you can generally expect about £250 for flights of up to 1,500km (932mi) delayed by 3+ hours, £400 for flights between 1,500km (932mi) and 3,500km (2,175mi) delayed by 3+ hours, £300 for flights greater than 3,500km (2,175mi) delayed by 3 to 4 hours, and £600 for flights greater than 3,500km (2,175mi) delayed more than 4 hours.

Claim flight delay compensation

In the unfortunate event your flight is delayed, check in with customer service for the airline to determine the reason for the delay and document the details along with the original flight information. This information may be necessary to process your claim. Check in with your fellow passengers and share notes, this way you can corroborate your own evidence and help each other out with your claims!

The process for submitting a claim depends on the airline, but there are also helpful tools like those on Claim FlightsMoney Saving Expert, and Which? that can help you determine whether your situation is eligible and the amount of your claim.

Note: if your flight was delayed or cancelled and flew in or out of a UK airport, you can submit claims up to six years later.

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