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Delta Flight Delay and Cancelation Compensation

For 2023, Delta Air Lines ranked #1 in OAG’s Top 20 Largest Global Airlines. Based on DOT data, in the same year, Delta had 593,180 flights with an associated on-time percentage of 83.66%. Cirium also ranked Delta as the most on-time carrier with 89.27% OTP for its North American category in February.

Air Transport World awarded Delta the 2024 ATW Airline of the Year and the Wall Street Journal gave them the Top U.S. Airline of 2023 award. And if that isn’t enough, Delta has ranked #1 in the Business Travel News Airline Survey for 13 consecutive years. So with a track record like this, do Delta passengers ever experience flight disruptions? They do, and when it happens, knowing your compensation rights can make a world difference in your overall travel experience. So, read on to understand rights, compensation, and entitlements for Delta delays, cancellations, and denied boarding.

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Delta Flight Delay and Cancelation Compensation
Anton Radchenko
Reviewed by a licensed lawyer.
Last Updated: May 23, 2024

Your Air Passenger Rights

If you happen to be traveling to the European Union, the United Kingdom, or Canada on a Delta flight, then you can enjoy the air passenger rights offered in these areas.

EU and UK Air Passenger Rights Regulations

For Delta delays, cancelations, or denied boarding on flights scheduled to depart from an EU or UK airport, your passenger rights are covered by the regulations in each region. Specifically, UK261 in the UK and the EU’s EU261/2004 both set out to protect you when you experience flight disruptions. Under these nearly identical sets of regulations, Delta must provide its passengers with financial compensation, care and assistance, rebooked flights, and refunds determined by your specific situation.

Canada

The Canadian Transportation Agency offers similar regulations to protect air passenger rights. If you have a disrupted Delta flight departing from, arriving in, or traveling within Canada, you will be entitled to cash compensation, refunds, rebooked flights, and care and assistance depending on your delay, cancelation, or denied boarding situation.

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United States

For Delta domestic flights, your rights are governed by the United States Department of Transportation. Many passengers are surprised to learn that airlines in the United States are not required to compensate passengers for flight disruptions as they are in Europe and other regions. Fortunately, Delta will do its best to help passengers get to their final destination as quickly as possible.

The table below will give you a better understanding of what each region offers for air passenger protection compensation.

Air Passenger Entitlements by Region

Flight Delays

Flight Cancelations

Denied Boarding

EU and UK

Up to $650/€600 in compensation

Care & Assistance

Up to $650/€600 in compensation

Rebooked flight OR Refund

Care & Assistance

Up to $650/€600 in compensation

Rebooked flight OR Refund

Care & Assistance

Canada

Up to CAD 1,000 in compensation

Care & Assistance

Up to CAD 1,000 in compensation

Care & Assistance

Up to CAD 2,400 in compensation

Rebooked flight OR refund

Care & Assistance

United States

None

None

Up to 400% of your one-way fare or USD 1,550 (whichever is lower)

Delta Air Lines Flight Delay Compensation

Delta Air Lines Delayed Flight

For 2023, the US Department of Transportation reported that says that Delta had 90,986 delays over 15 minutes out of 593,180 flights for the year, or 15.34%. The airline has been ranked #1 for reliability in several high-profile rankings as well as in our own study where they ranked #1 for the best US airline.

However, if you’ve had a delayed flight with Delta, this section will help you understand what you can expect from the carrier in compensation depending on your region of travel.

Delta Flight Delays in the EU and UK

For Delta flights departing from the UK or an EU airport, passengers are entitled to:

  • Between $270/€250 and $650/€600 in cash compensation
  • Care and assistance (meals, communication)
  • Refunds
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What is Delta EU261 Compensation?

EU261 is an EU-based regulation that mandates compensation for passengers and specific actions by the airline in certain situations. The same is true in the UK based on regulation UK261. Generally speaking, these regulations cover the following:

  • Flight delays - Delays are never fun, but if your delay lasts 3+ hours, you can make a claim and get some compensation.
  • Canceled flights - Did Delta call off your flight at the last minute? In that case, you should be eligible for not only a flight refund but compensation, too.
  • Overbooking - It’s also possible to get EU261 compensation in case of denied boarding due to an oversold flight.
  • Missed connections - When a delay or cancelation causes you to miss a connection, compensation is possible. 

What you end up receiving depends on the length of your Delta delay. The amount of financial compensation you get depends on this and also the distance of your flight, but we’ll cover this in detail later. Here’s a quick summary:

EU and UK Delay Compensation

Length of Delay

Compensation

2 hours or more

  • Complementary meals and refreshments
  • Access to communication

3 hours or more

  • Cash compensation up to $650/€600 (if Delta is to blame)
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Access to communication

5 hours or more

  • Cash compensation up to $650/€600 (if Delta is to blame)
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Access to communication
  • Full ticket refund
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What Flights Are Covered by EU261?

In the case of EU261, all flights on Delta that leave from the EU are eligible for EU261 compensation. The same is true for the UK, provided the flight leaves from a UK airport.

For example, a Delta flight from London to New York is covered by EU261, but one from New York to London is not.

Delta Flight Delays in Canada

If you have a Delta flight delay from, to, or within Canada then you are entitled to:

  • Complementary meals and refreshments
  • Access to communication
  • Hotel accommodation and transport there and back
  • Ticket refund
  • Rebooked flight

Again, what you receive from Delta will depend on the length of your delay and whether or not the airline was able to control the circumstances that led to your flight disruption. Here’s a table to help you see what you may be entitled to.

Canada Delay Compensation

Length of Delay

Compensation

2 hours or more

  • Complementary meals and refreshments
  • Access to communication

3-6 hours

  • Complementary meals and refreshments
  • Access to communication
  • Cash compensation (CAD 400 if Delta is at fault)
  • Refund or rebooking

6-9 hours

  • Cash compensation (CAD 700 if Delta is at fault)
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Access to communication
  • Refund or rebooking

9 hours

  • Cash compensation (CAD 1,000 if Delta is at fault)
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Refund or rebooking

Delta Flight Delays in the US

Delta isn’t federally mandated by the United States to offer compensation to passengers experiencing flight delays. Nonetheless, they do provide the following in the case of delays as stated in their contract of carriage provided the delay wasn’t due to extraordinary circumstances.

If you’re delayed for longer than 4 hours:

  • Hotel accommodation for one night if your delay happens between 10 pm and 6 am. Delta has hotel partners, so check with an airline agent before booking your own accommodation.
  • Transport to the hotel
  • A voucher (up to USD 100) that you can use for future travel
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In a recent announcement, the DOT finally clarified the fact that if a passenger encounters a significant flight change, a refund is possible. This applies to domestic flights delayed by over 3 hours and international flights delayed by over 6 hours. Other significant changes that can trigger the option for a refund include:

  • Increasing the flight connections.
  • Changing the arrival or departure airport.
  • Downgrading a passenger’s class of service.
  • Adding connections at different airports or on different planes that are not as accessible as the previous ones.

Delta Passenger after a Cancelled Flight

Delta Air Lines Canceled Flight Compensation

According to our research on the most reliable US airlines in conjunction with reports from the DOT, we found that in 2023, Delta canceled 4,619 flights, or 0.78% of total flights.

During the summer of 2022, Delta passengers experienced a wave of flight disruptions uncharacteristic of the airline. But CEO Ed Bastian said the following in an article with the NY Post that illustrates the carrier’s commitment to on-time performance standards.

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If you’ve encountered delays and cancelations recently, I apologize. We’ve spent years establishing Delta Air Lines as the industry leader in reliability, and though the majority of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable.

Delta Flight Cancelations in the EU and UK

Delta passengers who have a flight cancelation in the EU and the UK can expect the following as required under EU/UK 261:

  • Cash compensation up to $650/€600 if Delta cancels your flight with less than 2 weeks' notice and Delta is responsible for the cause of cancelation.
  • A rescheduled flight or a full ticket refund.
  • Free meals, refreshments, and access to communication for delays that last 2 or more hours.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodation (for one night) if your flight leaves the next morning.
  • Transportation to and from the accommodation.

Cash compensation amounts are calculated based on the distance of your flight and the length of your delay. The following table will give you a better idea.

Delta Compensation in the EU & UK

Delay Time

Flight Distance

 

Flights under 1,500km

EU/UK flights over 1,500km

Flights between 1,500 km and 3,500km

International flights over 3,500km

Over 3 hours

 USD 270 (€250)

 USD 435 (€400)

 USD 435 (€400)

 USD 650 (€600)*

Under 3 hours

 €0

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* Delta may attempt to reduce this EU261 compensation amount by as much as 50%, but at AirAdvisor we always fight for the full amount.

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Delta Flight Cancelations in Canada

For Delta flights canceled in Canada, you can expect the following from the airline. Cash compensation is decided based on the number of hours you’re delayed at your final destination past your originally scheduled arrival time.

  • Cash compensation up to USD 730: This amount is issued when you are given less than 14 days' notice of the canceled flight and if Delta is at fault.
  • An alternate flight or a full ticket refund.
  • Complimentary overnight hotel stay when your rebooked flight leaves the next day.
  • Taxi or shuttle service to and from the hotel.
  • Access to communication.
  • Complimentary meals and refreshments.

Delta Compensation in Canada

Duration of Delay

Compensation Amount

3 to 6 hours

USD 295 / CAD 400

6 to 9 hours

USD 515 / CAD 700

9 or more hours

USD 730 / CAD 1,000

Delta Canceled Flights in the United States

For canceled US domestic flights, Delta will rebook you on the next available flight and try to arrange for you to have the same seating class as you originally purchased. If your seat is downgraded, then Delta will reimburse you for the price difference, but if you’re upgraded, you will not have to pay the difference.

Delta will also arrange a hotel stay with transportation there and back if your cancelation causes you to wait at least 4 hours and you experience this between 10 pm and 6 am. Lastly, if you choose not to continue your journey, then you are also entitled to a full ticket refund, as required by US law.

Delta passengers waiting for a delayed flight

Denied Boarding

Passengers can be denied boarding for any number of reasons, but in this section, we’re going to focus on instances of denied boarding caused when Delta oversells a flight. The good news is that between October and December of 2023, the Department of Transportation found that Delta didn’t have one instance of involuntary denied boarding. So, as a Delta passenger, you can breathe a little easier.

Still, if you do encounter this situation, check our Delta Overbooking Expert's Guide to learn what you can expect from the airline in terms of compensation.

Missed Connections

If you miss your connecting flight, the amount of compensation you receive will be the same as for delays in the region where you’re traveling.

In the EU and UK, if your missed connection was due to something within Delta’s control, then you will receive compensation based on the length of time you’re delayed at your final stop. This is also true for missed connections in Canada.

You can also expect to be rebooked on the next available flight in the EU, UK, Canada, and the US, but Delta will not provide cash compensation if your missed connection happens on a flight in the States.

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What are Extraordinary Circumstances?

Extraordinary circumstances are situations that are outside the airline’s control. If you have a Delta flight disruption that was caused by uncontrollable circumstances, then the airline is not liable for compensation. Some of the most common extraordinary circumstances are:

As you might imagine, finding what caused your delay or cancelation is sometimes easier said than done. One way to determine this is by simply asking airline staff. Then, try looking online to see if severe weather or other situations may be affecting the airport.

Filling Out Delta EU 261 Claim Form

Because Delta is not based in the EU, there is no easy way to fill out a Delta EU261 claim form on their website. Instead, you need to email their Customer Care Department. Then, you just have to wait for a reply.

Another option that can make your claims process easier, is to let the experts at AirAdvisor take care of the compensation claim for you. We can do all the hard work, including finding the cause of the delay or cancelation and then doing all the leg work including taking the airline to court if it comes to that.

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Why You Can Trust AirAdvisor

  • Our legal team operates on a no-win, no-fee basis. We only get paid if you get paid.
  • More than 250,000 passengers have turned to AirAdvisor to get them the compensation they deserve
  • We have an outstanding 98% win rate as well as 7 years of experience protecting air passengers’ rights. 

People Also Ask

Does EU261 apply to Delta flights?

Yes, any flight that departs from an EU airport and encounters a disruption is entitled to claim EU261 compensation, subject to the specified conditions and limits. Alternatively, for UK261 compensation, a flight is eligible if it departs from the UK.

Is there a deadline for filing a compensation claim with Delta?

The deadline for compensation claims, or statute of limitations, is different in each country. In Canada, it is one year, but in the UK it is 6 years. Some countries have as many as 10 years to file, but most seem to set the time limit at around 3 years.

If Delta offers you a flight voucher, should you accept it?

You should only accept vouchers if you fully understand and agree to their terms. In many cases, vouchers come with blackout dates and other restrictions, but most importantly, accepting one can eliminate your chances of getting compensation if you want to file later.

If Delta cancels your flight, what happens to your checked baggage?

If you have a canceled flight, Delta will send your checked baggage to your final destination or send it back to you via the baggage carousel. You can also claim Delta compensation for delayed, lost, or damaged baggage.

 

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What happened with Delta Air Lines clients

Recent Comments

Magdalena from Sweden (Delta Air Lines DL 0073 Denied boarding)
May 19, 2024, 7:06 am

Firat I was downgraded from premium to main cabin. Then my luggage got lost due to that since my bag was left back in Amsterdam. No need to describe the inconvenience of all this.


Samantha from United States (USA) (Delta Air Lines DL 164 Flight delay)
May 5, 2024, 4:04 pm

Flight was delayed for 4hrs in MSP that impacted connecting flight in Amsterdam. Additional 5.5 hrs delayed to catch the flight to Bilbao


Anja (Delta Air Lines DL 45 Flight delay)
April 22, 2024, 3:55 pm

Dublin was started with delay of 3h (no information, but water in cabin toilets have not been working all flight and have been stripped), landed with 2h delay - landed 2:37pm. connection flight to CTL from 2:59pm was not reachable, rebooked same day (+3h) for a flight at (around) 5pm. Then rebooking was cancelled due to weather, so we have been again rebooked for next day departure, landet 8.30am at CTL instead of 03.04 5:09pm. Also the rebooking next day was in a lower class instead FIRST to COMF+. We have been offered a food voucher and the stay in a hotel in New York. I claim the refund for 3 people with 600EUR each and the difference of 75% of ticket price for rebooking in lower class. We loose a whole day on our trip.


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