Your flight has been delayed or canceled? Unfortunately, flight delays are not uncommon. Especially when you are on your way to a vacation, a delay is more than annoying. What many people don’t know is that if your flight is delayed or canceled, you are entitled to compensation.
Airports are especially busy during the holiday season. This often leads to flight delays or cancellations. Flight cancellations are especially common in the event of a strike or severe weather. In addition to compensation, you have specific rights as a traveler.
In the event of a cancellation, delay, missed connection or overbooking, passengers are entitled to compensation or a refund of their ticket under the EU Passenger Rights Regulation.
- If your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours, you are entitled to compensation. Regardless of the ticket price, you are entitled to between 250 and 600 Euro in compensation.
- If there is a flight delay of 2 hours, the airline must provide snacks and drinks.
- If the flight is delayed until the next day, the airline must provide overnight accommodation. If you book a a hotel yourself, you can claim a refund for the costs. You can also claim the cost of food and beverages. Please make sure that you keep all receipts, as you will need to provide them when requesting a refund.
The European regulation gives you a number of rights that you should be aware of. These apply regardless of whether a flight is delayed due to bad weather or other exceptional circumstances such as a strike.
2 hours flight delay
If the flight distance is less than 1,500 kilometers, the airline must provide snacks and drinks free of charge if there is a flight delay of 2 hours. The passenger has the right to buy food and drinks and be reimbursed for the costs in case the airline does not offer them. The airline often provides vouchers for meals and drinks.
5 hours or more delay
If a flight is delayed or canceled for at least 5 hours, you have the right to be rebooked on another flight free of charge. The airline must provide alternative transportation to your destination. The rebooking must not only be the on the airline’s flights. You may also be entitled to have the airline rebook yo on another airline so that you can reach your destination as soon as possible. This is usually the case if the airline is unable to offer you a reasonable alternative flight.
If your flight is changed or canceled more than 14 days before your scheduled departure, you are not entitled to be rebooked to another airline. However, the airline has to offer you an alternative flight if the delay is not reasonable. In addition, if a flight is canceled or severely delayed, you are also entitled to cancel the flight and have the ticket price refunded. We recommend that you contact the airline in advance to discuss your options.
Flight delay overnight
Nobody likes to be stuck at the airport overnight. If your flight is canceled and rebooked for the next morning, or if your flight is delayed so long that you cannot fly until the next day, you are entitled to a hotel stay. If you book a hotel yourself, you can claim a refund. You may also be entitled to compensation. The airline must also cover the transportation costs from the airport to the hotel and back. This includes also the costs of a taxi.
Compensation for flight delays
The European regulation 261/2004 protects air passengers in case of cancellation, delay and denied boarding. Based on that the compensation for flight delays is calculated based on the distance of the flight. All flights which are delayed 3 hours or more are entitled to compensation.
- Short distance flight delays (up to 1500 km) – 250 Euro compensation
- Medium distance flight delays (1500 km – 3500 km) – 400 Euro compensation
- Long distance flight delays (over 3500 km) – 600 Euro compensation
Note that the flight must either take off or land in the EU and that the airline must be based in the EU. Compensation can also be claimed retroactively for up to three years. In exceptional circumstances, such as strikes or bad weather, there is not right to compensation.
Requirements for claiming compensation
To claim compensation for a delayed flight, you must have checked in on time. This is usually 45 minutes before departure. In addition, the flight must either take off or land in the EU (airline based in the EU). You are entitled to compensation if the airline is responsible for the delay (e.g. technical problem).
It is important to keep the original ticket, boarding pass or e-ticket. Other documents needed to claim compensation are your booking confirmation and your passport. It may also helpful to document the flight delay in detail. Also have your travel details, such as the flight number, ready.