Regulation 261/2004 is the main European Framework establishing common rules on compensation and protecting passengers’ right when their flight gets canceled, delayed or overbooked. It sets out the entitlements to compensate air passengers for the loss of their time and the inconvenience caused by long flight delays.
The regulation applies to passengers travelling with:
A European Union (EU) carrier or
Any carrier departing from the EU
That is to say, flights with an EU registered airline or flights taking off from the EU region are covered by the Regulation.
The regulation states that passengers may be eligible to get compensation if:
They experience flight delay more than 3 hours
Flight is canceled less than 14 days before the scheduled departure
They are denied boarding due to overbooking
They miss a connection
EU Regulation 261/2004 underlines that compensation for canceled or delayed flights should be paid in cash, electronic bank transfer, bank order, or cheque. Airlines could offer vouchers as compensation but it has to be a monetary compensation unless the passenger agrees.
The amount of compensation that can be claimed is between €250 and €600 and the amount is based on the length of the delay and flight distance. The amount of compensation is not related to the amount of the ticket.
The table below shows the compensation amounts you are eligible to claim according to flight distance and length of delay.
|Up to 1,500km||3 hours or more||€250|
|1,500km-3,500km||3 hours or more||€400|
|Over 3,500km||3-4 hours||€300|
|Over 3,500km||More than 4 hours||€600|
If your flight qualifies for compensation and is between Europe and North America, you could most probably be entitled to €600 per ticket. For example, if you are travelling with four of your family members, you are entitled to €2400 in total. Bear in mind that this is the LAW. You do not necessarily have to be an EU citizen in order to claim and get this compensation. There are no barriers based on where you live. We have many clients who are residents of the USA and Canada that have been paid by airlines.
Airlines definitely know the law and what they owe in accordance with the EU Regulation. However, if you don’t claim, they barely offer to pay. Don’t just leave your money on the table and claim what’s yours. This payment is compensation for your inconvenience. The money doesn’t make up for wasted time but it certainly helps.
The Airline is not obliged to provide compensation in cases when a delay or cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances which could not have been foreseen such as freak weather condition, terrorist attacks, industrial strike, and sabotage. However, we would like to remind you that you may be eligible for compensation even in the case of an extraordinary circumstance. Don’t forget, the rule states that as soon as the extraordinary circumstance is over, the airline needs to operate the flight.
You might need some advance knowledge for more complicated cases such as missing a connection or flights operated by several airlines. Please reach out to one of our highly experienced team of travel law experts to consult for free via email or online chat.