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Delta Air Lines

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Delta Flight Delay and Cancellation Compensation Expert's Guide

For 2023, Delta Air Lines ranked #1 in OAG’s Top 20 Largest Global Airlines report with punctuality score of 83.21% out of 1,635,526 flights. 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 Compensation for Delayed or Canceled Flights - An Expert’s Guide
Anton Radchenko
Reviewed by a licensed lawyer.
Last Updated: May 16, 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, cancellations, or denied boarding on flights scheduled to depart from a 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, cancellation, or denied boarding situation.

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 Cancellations

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 $1,000 CAD in compensation
  • Care & Assistance
  • Up to $1,000 CAD in compensation
  • Care & Assistance
  • Up to $2,400 CAD in compensation
  • Rebooked flight OR refund
  • Care & Assistance

United States

  • None
  • None
  • Up to 400% of your one-way fare or $1,550 USD (whichever is lower)

Delta Air Lines Flight Delay Compensation

Delta Air Lines Delayed Flight

For 2023, the US Department of Transportation says that Delta had 167,263 delays out of 984,986 departures for the year or 16.98%. The airline has been ranked #1 for reliability in several high profile rankings as well as in our own 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 upon 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

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 more on this later. This table might be helpful.

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

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 ($400 CAD if Delta is to blame)
  • Refund or rebooking

6-9 hours

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

9 hours

  • Cash compensation ($1,000 CAD if Delta is to blame)
  • 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 10pm and 6am. Delta has hotel partners, so check with an airline agent before booking your own accommodation.
  • Transport to the hotel
  • A voucher (up to $100 USD) that you can use for future travel

Delta Passenger after a Cancelled Flight

Delta Air Lines Canceled Flight Compensation

In the US Department of Transportation’s report for flights statistics in 2023, Delta canceled 10,016 flights out of 984,986 (1.02%) scheduled departures.

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.

“If you’ve encountered delays and cancellations 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 takes great care to avoid flight cancellations, but if you know your air passenger right, you’ll have a much easier time navigating the situation if you do encounter it. Let’s take a closer look.

Delta Flight Cancellations in the EU and UK

Delta passengers who have a flight cancellation in the EU and 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 was responsible for the cause of cancellation.
  • 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.
  • Transport 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

Flights between 1,500-3,500km

Flights over

3,500km

Over 3 hours

$270 USD (€250)

$433 USD (€400)

$650 USD (€600)*

Under 3 hours

€0

* Delta might try to reduce this amount by as much as 50%, but AirAdvisor always works to get the full amount.

Delta Flight Cancellations 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 $738 USD: 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
  • Complementary overnight hotel stay when your rebooked flight leaves the next day.
  • Taxi service to and from the hotel
  • Access to communication
  • Complementary meals and refreshments

Delta Compensation in Canada

Duration of Delay

Compensation Amount

3 to 6 hours

$295 USD / $400 CAD

6 to 9 hours

$517 USD/ $700 CAD

9 or more hours

$738 USD/ $1,000 CAD

Delta Flight Cancellations 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 difference in price, 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 cancellation causes you to wait at least 4 hours and you experience this between 10pm and 6am. Lastly, if you choose not to continue your journey, then you are also entitled to a full ticket refund, as required by US law.

Curious about how much compensation you could claim for a canceled Delta flight? You can find out by entering your flight details below.Check Your Flight

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, here’s what you can expect from the airline in compensation.

Your Entitlements for Denied Boarding with Delta

Denied Boarding in the EU and UK

EU and UK regulations state that Delta must provide you with an alternative flight to your final destination or give you the option of a full ticket refund. In addition to this, Delta must give you complimentary meals and refreshments if you are left waiting at the airport for 2 or more hours. Lastly, you can receive financial compensation up to $650 USD determined by the flight distance and delay time.

Delta Denied Boarding in Canada

Similarly, Canadian regulations require the following of Delta if you are denied boarding caused by an overbooked flight.

  1. A rebooking to your final destination at no additional charge, or
  2. A full ticket refund, and
  3. Care and assistance in the form of food and drink, and
  4. Up to $1,773 USD in monetary compensation based on the amount of time you are delayed at your final destination.

Compensation for Denied Boarding in Canada

Duration of Delay

Amount of Compensation

Up to 6 hours

$665 USD / $900 CAD

Between 6 and 9 hours

$1,330 USD/ $1,800 CAD

More than 9 hours

$1,773 USD / $2,400 CAD

* Payment must be made to passengers as soon as they are denied boarding or within 48 hours of their flight

Delta Denied Boarding in the United States

For Delta flights within the United States, the airline is required by US law to provide you with an alternate booking on the next available flight at no extra charge. Plus, you are also entitled to as much as $1,550 USD compensation in situations where you are delayed by more than an hour at your final stop. The price of your ticket and the duration of your delay will determine the actual amount of compensation you receive from Delta. Finally, you must be given this amount within 24 hours of your flight.

Compensation for Denied Boarding in the United States (Domestic Flights)

Delay Duration

Compensation Amount

Less than an hour

None

Between 1 and 2 hours

Up to $775 USD (or 200% of the one-way fare, whichever is less)

More than 2 hours

Up to $1,550 USD (or 400% of the one-way fare, whichever is less)

Missed Connections

If a Delta flight disruption results in you missing a connection, then you can expect to receive the same compensation as outlined in earlier sections. More specifically, 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 happened on a flight in the States.

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 cancellation 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.

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 cancellation, and then doing all the leg work including taking the airline to court if it comes to that.

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 240,000 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.

You don’t have to fight airlines alone. Let AirAdvisor protect your rights and get you up to $650/€600 in airline compensation.Check Your Flight

People Also Ask

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 much 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 wanted 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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