Compensation for delayed flight

If you arrived at least 3h late at your final destination you might be entitled up to 600EUR compensation.

A delay can happen on any flight, with any airline and at any airport in the World. It’s an unpleasant experience especially if you have 2 or 3 connecting flights. The real fun begins when you miss a connection.

A flight is considered delayed if it departs 15min later than originally scheduled departure. A flight is eligible for compensation if it arrived at the final destination at least 3h later than originally scheduled.

The difference between a flight delay and flight cancellation is easy to understand. A flight is delayed if it operates later but under the same flight number as originally booked. If the flight number changes, the original flight is considered cancelled.

Passengers travelling within Europe and to/from Europe, are protected by EC261/2004. This regulation protects passenger rights and to disciplines air traffic. According to EC261/2004 a delay of over 3h at the final destination entitles passengers to a compensation up to 600EUR.

Compensation is not offered if:

  1. Arrival at destination is less than 3h delay
  2. The flight is operated from non-EU to EU by a non-EU airline

Let’s see some examples below:

  1. Flight Lisbon to Berlin operated by any airline
    Landed 1h late in Berlin. This delay is not eligible for compensation because delay upon arrival is less than 3h.
  2. Flight Moscow to Brussels operated by Aeroflot
    Landed in Brussels 3h10min late. This delay is not eligible for compensation because it departed from Non-EU operated by a non european airline. Even though the delay was over 3 hours, airline nationality and departure country was decisive in this case.
  3. Flight Chicago to Frankfurt operated by Lufthansa
    Delay upon arrival in Frankfurt is 3h10min. Passengers are entitled to get compensation because even though it departed from a non-EU country, it is operated by a European airline.

The same as for cancellation, the reason why delay occurred is a very important factor to determine if you are entitled to compensation or not. If the reason is beyond airlines control, compensation will not be offered. Check the detailed list of the reasons here.

The amount of the compensation can vary from 250EUR to 600EUR. This is directly influenced by the distance between your departure and arrival airport. See detailed explanation below.

Delay at arrival airport Distance Compensation
Up to 3h Any distance No compensation
More than 3h Less than 1500km 250EUR
1500-3500km 400EUR
Over 1500km within EU 400EUR
3-4h Over 3500km EU- non EU 300EUR
More than 4h Over 3500km EU - non EU 600EUR

If a flight is delayed over 5h, passengers can ask for a full refund.

A flight delay can be compensated up to 3y from the date of travel. Every country sets the deadline internally. European Union is considered all 27 EU countries plus Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Guadelupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotta, St. Maarten, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands. See the list of all countries with the time limit here.

When it comes to other countries regulations, this is a bit more diversified. In some countries this is up to airlines decisions, in other countries there are some pretty simple regulations to follow.

In the USA compensation is offered according to terms and conditions of carriage of each operator. Read it carefully in order to know your rights in case of a delay. EC261/2004 does not cover irregularities on internal flights in the USA. We should mention the Montreal Convention which covers damage or loss resulting from a flight delay or cancellation.

In China there is no regulation. For internal flights just some airlines will offer a compensation between 200 and 800CNY. A limited number of airlines will compensate only delays over 8h.

In Africa each airline follows its own internal policy.

As you can see EC261/2004 is the most passengers friendly regulation. As long as your travel includes european destinations, reach out to us and we will handle your claim. It’s not always stressful to defend your rights.