Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishes common rules and sets the minimum standards on financial compensation and assistance to passengers in the events of denied boarding, flight cancellations, long delay and downgrade.

It applies to the countries from the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA), namely 28 Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), including Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion Island, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, plus Switzerland.

If you are flying:

  • from ECAA, or
  • to ECAA on board of an airline registered in ECAA

and you experience one of the following flight disturbances:

  • long delay,
  • cancellation,
  • denied boarding and/or
  • downgrade

you might be entitled to financial compensation.

 

Denied Boarding

If you presented yourself on time for check-in with a valid flight reservation and travel documents, and you were denied boarding you might be entitled to: 

Amount

Distance

EUR 250

1,500 km or less

EUR 400

ECAA flights of more than 1,500 km and all others between 1,500 and 3,500 km

EUR 600

All other flights of more than 3,500 km

 

Cancellation

If your original flight was cancelled and your airline rerouted you to your final destination with a delay or you never managed to complete your journey you are entitled to: 

Delayed by less than 2 hours

Delayed between 2 – 3 hours

Delayed between 3 – 4 hours

Delayed by more than 4 hours/Never arrived

Distance

EUR 125

EUR 250

EUR 250

EUR 250

1,500 km or less

EUR 200

EUR 200

EUR 400

EUR 400

ECAA flights of more than 1,500 km and all others between 1,500 and 3,500 km

EUR 300

EUR 300

EUR 300

EUR 600

All other flights of more than 3,500 km 


If the airline informed you of the cancellation:

  • at least 14 days prior to the scheduled time of departure;
  • between 14 and 7 days prior, and offered an alternative flight that departed no more than 2 hours earlier than the original flight, and arrived less than 4 hours after the scheduled time of arrival;
  • less than 7 days prior, and offered an alternative flight that departed no more than 1 hour earlier than the original flight, and arrived less than 2 hours after the scheduled time of arrival;

it will not be obliged to pay any compensation.

If the airline can provide proof that the cancellation is the result of extraordinary circumstances, it will not be obliged to pay any compensation. Extraordinary circumstances may include bad weather, strikes, political unrest, acts of terrorism, and security risks among others.

 

Delay

If you arrived at your final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, unless the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances, you are entitled to: 

Delayed between 3 – 4 hours

Delayed by more than 4 hours

Distance

EUR 250

EUR 250

1,500 km or less

EUR 400

EUR 400

ECAA flights of more than 1,500 km and all others between 1,500 and 3,500 km

EUR 300

EUR 600

All other flights of more than 3,500 km 


In case you experienced a cancellation, delay or you were denied boarding, you might be entitled additionally to the right of:

  1. Reimbursement / Return flight
  • reimbursement of your ticket and, if you have a connecting flight, a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest convenience;
  • re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity; or
  • re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.
  1. Assistance
  • meals and beverages;
  • accommodation and transport to/from airport if necessary;
  • two telephone calls, fax, or emails free of charge.

 

Downgrade

If you are downgraded (put in a lower class than what you originally booked), you are entitled to reimbursement of a percentage of the price of your ticket, depending on the flight distance as follows:

  1. 30% – flights of 1,500 km or less;
  2. 50% – flights within ECAA of more than 1,500 km (except flights between ECAA and French overseas departments), and all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km;
  3. 75% – flights not falling under 1 or 2, including flights between ECAA and French overseas departments.

You can claim reimbursement only for the flight which was downgraded (not for the entire journey, in case you had connecting flights).

 

Missed Connecting Flights

If you missed your connecting flight due to a delay, and the arrival time at your final destination exceeds the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked by more than three hours, you are entitled to compensation.

However, this only applies to directly connecting flights, i.e. your flights are under the same booking reference. Provided you have separate flight tickets with different operating air carriers, you would not be able to claim compensation.