How to get Compensated for Flight Delays or Cancellations on EU Flights

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eu flight delay compensation

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Flightright, but the content and opinions expressed are my own.

EU Compensation for Delayed & Cancelled Flights

Did you know that the EU has very strict laws regarding flight delays and compensation? Under (EC) Regulation 261/2004 air passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of a flight cancellation, delay or overbooking.

While most of my readers are based in the U.S., these laws apply to any flight that touches EU soil including ones from the United States. (When flying on an EU based carrier.) To put it simply, if you have a delay or other problem with your flight, then you may be entitled to compensation.

eu flight delay compensation

To be honest I knew about this law, but didn’t really take the time to look into it. While normal delays aren’t generally covered, any severe delay (over 3 hours) could mean a decent amount of money, no matter how much was paid for the ticket. (Awards too!)

In order to obtain compensation, you can file a complaint form with the EU and follow up through the process or use a company like Flightright to handle the process for you. Flightright has a built in search function that checks historical data to see if your flight qualifies. They also handle hundreds of these cases and have built a streamlined process.

eu flight delay compensation

To see how the system worked, I recently went on their site and searched for my Alitalia flight from last November. After inputting the basic information about my flight from JFK-MXP, the system came back and told me I was not eligible for compensation. Oh well, at least now I know.

If you have experienced denied boarding, severe delays or flight cancellations when flying into, out of or within the EU during the past six years, then it is probably worth taking a second to look to see if you are eligible for compensation. Now that I know the laws a little better, I’ll make sure to stay on top of things for future flights, although I really do hate delays and hope I don’t need to worry about it.

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. If your EU flight delays or cancelled? you can claim compensation up to 600€ from the respective airlines as per EC Regulation 261/2004. Passengers are also entitled to “Right To Care” if their flights delayed for more than 2 hours.

    What duty of care does the airline have?
    1: Meals & Refreshments.

    2: Communications: 2 telephone calls, telex or fax, or e-mails.

    3: Hotel Accommodation & Transportation: If the expected time of departure is at least a day after the scheduled departure time then the airline should provide you with hotel accommodation and transport between hotel and airport.

    To know more about EC Regulation 261/2004, Read:

  2. This is great! Thanks Shawn

    Just thought I’d add the rules regarding domestic flights.
    “Each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers; there are no federal requirements. If your flight is delayed or canceled, ask the airline if it will pay for meals or a phone call. Contrary to what many people believe, airlines are not required to do so.”

  3. Shawn, do u know the rules for Avianca? My sister’s flight last month was cancelled due to mechanical issues from ORD-LIM. I tried to call Avianca but could only reach a spanish speaking agent.


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