Flight Delay Compensation
Flight delays occur for a variety of reasons and can cause a lot of stress and frustration. However, knowing your passenger rights, as established in EU Regulation 261/04, can protect you in case of a flight delay.
You may be surprised to learn that in the majority of cases you may be entitled to delay compensation (also known as flight reimbursement) worth up to €600. There are just three conditions for eligibility:
- you experienced a delay of more than 3 hours
- you flew with an EU-based airline or departed from inside the European Union
- your flight delay was not caused by extraordinary circumstances.
How to claim flight delay compensation: The Basics
If you have suffered a flight delay of over three hours, the amount of compensation you are entitled to depends on the length of your flight. It is important to remember that the duration of the delay is defined as the difference between the actual time of arrival and the expected time of arrival; it is not associated with the time of departure.
Can I be compensated for a delayed flight?
Yes, you can! And there's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't get compensation for your delayed flight and the time lost at the airport.
If your flight was shorter than 1500 km, you are eligible to receive €250 in compensation from the airline. The reimbursement rises to €400 if your flight spanned between 1500 and 3500 km. Your compensation would further increase to €600 if your flight exceeded 3500 km.
The easiest way to determine the amount of the delay compensation you are owed is by using our compensation calculator.
Flight Destination & Distance
All flights up to 1500 km
All EU flights over 1500 km
All non-EU flights between 1500 and 3500 km
All non-EU flights over 3500 km
In addition, passengers who have suffered a delay longer than two hours are entitled to food and refreshments from the airline. Airlines typically offer food vouchers which can be used within the airport.
Don’t worry if your expenses exceed the amount of the food voucher. If you keep your receipts, you should be reimbursed for any additional food and refreshments you purchased.
...And the Bad
The airline operating the delayed flight is legally obliged to compensate you unless it can prove that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances.
Unfortunately, to avoid additional costs, airlines typically maintain that extraordinary circumstances were behind a flight delay– even when this may not be the case. This is why it can be very difficult for passengers to negotiate their compensation on their own.
One-Click delay compensation - claiming made easy
SkyRefund makes it quick and easy for air passengers to enforce their rights and claim their delayed departure compensation.
All you need to do to is submit your flight details and our compensation calculator will immediately inform you if your flight is eligible.
All that is left would be to sign our authorization form, which will allow our legal experts to represent your best interests. We will protect your rights to ensure that you receive your flight delay compensation despite the administrative hurdles which airlines raise in order to prevent payment.
When you cannot claim flight delay compensation: Extraordinary Circumstances
According to EU Regulation 261/04, airlines are not required to compensate air passengers if a flight delay of more than three hours was caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. This means that if avoiding the delay was not within the airline’s capabilities and responsibilities, you would not be eligible for compensation.
Extraordinary circumstances (also known as force majeure events) include:
- Bad weather (including lightning strikes, storms, low visibility)
- Strikes of the airport personnel
- Bird strikes
- Air traffic control restrictions
- Political and civil unrest
Avoidance of technical issues, however, is usually not considered beyond the airline’s capacities. Aircraft maintenance is the airline's responsibility. This is why if your flight was delayed due to technical issues, you would be eligible to claim back flight delays.
However, even in the case of actual extraordinary circumstances, passengers who have suffered a delay longer than two hours have the right to food and refreshments from the airline.
Compensation Eligibility Checklist
Was your flight delayed by more than 3 hours?
Was it possible for the airline to avoid the delay?
Did you fly with a European airline or depart from European airport*?
Please note: EU Regulation 261/04, which establishes the requirements for flight delay compensation applies to all EU countries as well as to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland and Serbia.
Compensation for Missed Connections
If you are connecting flights and your delay forces you to miss your next flight, then you may be entitled to compensation of up to €600. As with individual flights, to be eligible you need to have arrived at your final destination more than three hours behind schedule.
For instance, if you have missed your connection because your prior flight was delayed by 40 minutes, and you reach your final destination four hours late, you would be entitled for compensation.
However, if you are provided with an earlier alternate flight and you arrive at your end destination with a delay of less than three hours, unfortunately, you would not be eligible to claim airline delay compensation.
An additional requirement for compensation eligibility in the case of a missed connecting flight is that your tickets need to be under the same booking. Unfortunately, most low-cost air carriers do not offer multi-flight trips under the same booking reference.
So, if you have booked your tickets under the same reservation, but due to a flight delay, you are unable to board your next flight, the airline is required to provide you with an alternate flight to your final destination.
The Easiest Way to Claim Your Compensation
If your flight fulfils the criteria listed above, you have a right to reimbursement from the airline. There are a few important things to remember, which would help you receive your delay compensation.
Keep your boarding pass and booking confirmation
Your boarding pass contains all of the information required to file a claim for your compensation, including your booking reference. Don’t throw it away!
Note down the actual time of arrival
The arrival time is always displayed on the information screens inside the terminal.
Keep all of your receipts
If you have consumed any food or beverages during your period of delay, you are entitled to a reimbursement for your expenses from the airline. Receipts, however, are the only widely-accepted way of proving you paid for your purchases. This is why it is essential that you keep them.
Ask for accommodation
If the delay forces you to depart on the next day, the airline is required to provide you with a hotel room for the evening and with transportation to and from the hotel.
Refuse the refund
Sometimes airlines offer passengers a full refund of their tickets, which could be much smaller than the flight delay compensation they would otherwise be entitled to. If the passengers accept this offer, however, they would lose their right to an alternate flight, and their right to food and beverages.
Nevertheless, you can still accept a voucher for food and drinks, if one is offered, without forgoing your rights.
SkyRefund will help you receive your delayed flight compensation! Quick and easy!
Airlines often cite bad weather, claim technical issues or strikes as the reason for a flight delay and refuse to pay passengers their compensation. This is why standing up for yourself and enforcing your rights on your own can be a very frustrating and a time-consuming process
SkyRefund’s mission is to protect air passengers' rights. To ensure that passengers receive their rightful compensation, we will take care of all of the legal and bureaucratic hassles. This usually includes an in-depth research into the circumstances surrounding the flight delay, accessing external flight databases and maintaining a sustained communication with the airline, the airport and with the local civil aviation authorities. We are even ready to take your case to court if the airline refuses to pay your compensation.
SkyRefund's Additional Advice
1. We would recommend that you stay at the gate and remain alert for any news on the information screens. Since the flight is already late, boarding may begin at any time.
2. If your flight is set to depart from a different gate, approach the new gate as soon as possible. If you fail to board the plane, you would lose your right to compensation.
3. Do not accept the refund! If you do, you would forgo your right to an alternate flight and to food and refreshments. You could still receive your compensation for the incurred delay but you may lose the quickest option to get to your final destination.
4. It is best to submit your claim as soon as possible. This would allow our team to build the strongest claim on your behalf.
Find out more about your passenger rights here.
Learn more about flight cancellations here.