EU Air Passenger Rights Guide on How to Get Up to €600 in Compensation

EU Air Passenger Rights Guide on How to Get Up to €600 in Compensation

Anton Radchenko
Reviewed by a licensed lawyer.
Last Updated:

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As an air passenger flying in Europe you are protected under the EU Regulation 261 2004. In this article we'll cover all your EU passenger rights in case of flight disruption and what compensation claim you can make.

If you think your EU air passenger rights were violated, you could be eligible to receive compensation.

Our expert team at AirAdvisor can help with getting the EU flight compensation you are rightfully owed. We can manage the entire process of defending your rights: from submitting your flight delay claim or cancellation claim to litigating in court. The most important is that our services are free of charge. Just click on the button below to get started.

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Rights of Air Passengers

According to European Regulation 261, air passengers have several rights in case of flight disruption. In the sections below, we'll cover all your rights for each of the 4 most common scenarios or flight disruptions in the European Union.

Rights in Case of Flight Delays

Flight delays are probably the most common disruptions that you can encounter in the European Union. In such situations, you have the following rights:

  1. Right to compensation if your flight was delayed by more than 3 hours, which we'll cover more in the section below
  2. Right to refund after a long delay of at least 5 hours
  3. Right to care for flight delays of more than 2 hours: free food and drink and even overnight hotel accommodation if you new scheduled departure is the next day
  4. Right to reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses due to the delay

You have the right to receive free meals and refreshments only if your delay is bigger than 2 hours for flights shorter than 1,500 km and at least 3 hours for all other flights.

Flight Delay Compensation

According to the EU passenger rights regulation, you are entitled to compensation ranking from €250 to €600, depending on the total distance of your flight. The table below shows you exactly how much you can claim.

table with flight delay compensation amounts

To find out more about this, read our flight delay compensation guide for EU and UK.

Rights in Case of Flight Cancellations

For a cancelled flight, your rights apply only if the airline operating the flight cancels it less than 14 days before the scheduled departure. In this case, your EU passenger rights are:

  • Ticket refund or alternative flight in comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity
  • Right to compensation which we will cover below
  • Right to care, as explained in the flight delay section

Flight Cancellation Compensation

The compensation claim that you can make for a cancelled flight depends on several factors, like flight distance and when the cancellation was made. The following tables show exactly how much compensation you are entitled to in each situation.

table with flight cancellation compensation amounts for short flights

table with flight cancellation compensation amounts for medium flights

table with flight cancellation compensation amounts for long flights

If you need more information on the subject, read our compensation for flight cancelled guide.

Rights in Case of Denied Boarding

Airlines often sell more tickets than the number of seats on the plane because they know not all passengers will show up. If they do, the operating air carrier has to deny boarding to some of the passengers.

If you find yourself in such a situation, you have the following rights according to the European Parliament law passed in 2004:

  1. Re-routing, at the earliest possible time or at a later date of your choosing, or refund of your full unused ticket price 
  2. Compensation of up to €600

Denied Boarding Compensation

As with flight delays and cancellations, the amount of monetary compensation you can claim depends on the travel distance:

  1. €250 for flights shorter than 1,500 km
  2. €400 for all other intra-EU flights and all other flights ranging between 1,500 and 3,500 km
  3. €600 for all other flights

Check out our complete denied boarding compensation guide for additional information.

Rights in Case of Missed Connecting Flight

Missing a connecting flight is also a case protected by the EU rules. If you end up in a situation where you've lost your connecting flight, you are entitled to the following:

  • Right to care, as mentioned in the flight delay section
  • Right to reimbursement of both used and unused tickets or return flight to the original departure airport at the earliest possible time
  • Right to compensation

Missed Connecting Flight Compensation

The level of compensation is similar to the one offered for all the other flight disruptions:

  1. €250 for flights shorter than 1,500 km and delay longer than 3 hours
  2. €300 for flights over 3,500 km outside the EU and delays between 3 and 4 hours
  3. €400 for all other intra-EU flights and all other flights ranging between 1,500 and 3,500 km and delays longer than 3 hours
  4. €600 for flights over 3,500 km outside the EU and delays longer than 4 hours

In case you want to find out more, please read our missed connecting flight compensation guide.

Use Our Compensation Calculator to Find Out How Much You Can Claim

We know that sometimes all these rules can seem overwhelming and you just can't determine on your own if you are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much. This is why we created this flight compensation calculator to help you. All you need to is is insert your flight details and our calculator will show you the exact compensation claim you can make.

Disrupted flight? You might have a right to compensation - up to €600.Get My EC261 Compensation

EU Regulation 261 2004: When Is My Flight Covered?

Your flight is covered by EU Regulation 261 2004 when it complies with several conditions

Flight disruption never promises anything good. It is a synonym for ruined travel plans. European law established EU Regulation 261 2004 to compensate all affected travelers for all the stress and disappointment. It defines general rules for cash compensation and assistance to passengers in case of a disrupted flight.

Here are the basic requirements to be entitled to compensation:

  1. Cancellation: cash compensation may be given when a flight is canceled less than 14 days before the departure.
  2. Delay: if passengers reach their final destination with a delay of over 3 hours, they may claim for a late flight.
  3. Missed connection: if all flights are within a single booking, it is considered as a whole under EC261. This means that if one of the connecting flights is disrupted, compensation may be provided.
  4. Denied boarding: if the airline is the one who denied boarding, then passengers may claim overbooking compensation.

The following conditions are common for any flight disruption you may have. They shall be satisfied to have the right to compensation under European Regulation 261:

  • your flight departs from an airport located in the EU (including a non-EU airline) or is operated by an EU airline; you are covered even if the flight lands in a non-EU country
  • disruption is caused due to the airline’s fault (such as flight delay due to technical problems or schedule inconsistencies)
  • you have all the necessary documents proving your booking and disruption
  • you did check-in in a timely manner
  • you send a flight delay claim or claim concerning other disruption within a deadline

Extraordinary Circumstances

You do not have the right to compensation when your flight is disrupted due to extraordinary circumstances such as the following:

  • bad weather 
  • сivil unrest and terrorism
  • bird strikes
  • natural disasters (volcanic eruption, flood, fires, etc.), and others

The operating airline cannot control such situations. Thus, it does not have to pay compensation if a flight is disrupted due to any of the above reasons.

What are my EU air passenger rights when the weather disrupts my flight? Usually, bad weather falls under extraordinary circumstances. However, there are many exceptions. The airline is usually obliged to compensate for the flight disruption due to minor bad weather conditions.

There are many cases when passengers lose their compensation, as the airlines use various excuses to reject their claims. After all, no air carrier wants to pay money, even if the air passenger has every right to receive it. For this reason, our specialists advise you to always check if your flight qualifies for EU flight compensation.

Figuring out how much you are owed for a disrupted flight can be complicated. We're here to help. Let us assess your compensation for you.Check Your Flight

How about my EU passenger rights for strike disruptions? It all depends on who is on strike. Strikes by air traffic controllers or airport staff are considered extraordinary circumstances, while strikes by crew members are the airline's responsibility.

EC261 Compensation at No Cost with AirAdvisor

Using your laptop, you can send your flight delay claim in less than 3 minutes with the help of AirAdvisor

At AirAdvisor, we are committed to helping all travelers who experience flight disruptions. Here are our main advantages:

  • we know everything about EU air passenger rights compensation and how to get it
  • we are the №1 website for travelers around the world! We have already helped over 180,000 affected air passengers
  • we can help with any flight disruption you may encounter: denied boarding, missed connection, flight cancellation or delay
  • we will do everything to get your money: we will claim compensation and protect your EU air passenger rights in court if required. You will not have to stress out about anything!
  • we work based on no win, no fee, so there is never a risk for you about asking for our help

Claim with AirAdvisor and get up to €600 ($650) compensation. Find out how much you’re owed today.Check Your Flight

Steps to Get Your EU Flight Compensation

When your flight is disrupted, you can follow the AirAdvisor's guideline on how to get EC261 compensation

Whenever you experience a disrupted flight, follow the following guideline. It was put together by AirAdvisor to help you in getting your EU flight compensation:

  1. Ask crew members to explain the disruption reason and your flight rights according to EC261. They have to provide information in written form at their check-in counter. You can also familiarize yourself with the official flight compensation Regulation 261 2004 document on your own.
  2. Hold onto your travel documents (boarding pass, etc.) and receipts if you have to make purchases due to flight disruption. You should attach them along with your air passenger rights EU complaint form.
  3. Do not settle for travel vouchers (they may contain a waiver of monetary compensation).
  4. Fill in your flight details in our online tool by pressing “I Want My Compensation” below. We will take charge of your case right away.

If your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last 3 years, you could be eligible for up to €600 ($650) in compensation.I Want My Compensation

Deadline to Get Compensation Under EC261

There is specific time limit you should follow to make your European flight delay compensation on time

As stated in the EU air passenger rights legislation, air passengers should send compensation requests complying with the specific deadline.

Flight delay compensation time limit or deadline for any other flight disruption depends on the country where:

  • the airline is headquartered, or
  • the court jurisdiction is located

Usually, it is 3 years but it varies according to the country. We experienced many cases when the airlines intentionally detained the process up until the expiration of the deadline. We suggest requesting your compensation immediately after the disruption.

EU Air Passenger Rights FAQ

How to claim EU flight delay compensation?

There are three ways of getting your delayed compensation under EU Regulation 261 04. You can:

  1. Contact the airline and claim your EU passenger rights flight delay on your own.
  2. Hire a legal specialist who will submit your flight delay claim.
  3. Ask AirAdvisor for help: we can get your EC261 compensation free of charge.

When can I submit a baggage delay claim?

According to the EU air passenger rights delayed baggage, the airline is responsible for the delay, thus you can claim up to €1,300. You should submit a baggage delay claim in writing within 21 days of getting your baggage back.

What is my flight compensation outside the EU?

The passengers departing or arriving outside the EU may still have the EU passenger rights Regulation.

Air passenger rights EU complaint form: where to send?

You should send an EU compensation form to the National Enforcement Body (NEB) or the airline. If you do not have time, AirAdvisor can do it for you. We can as well defend your rights in court if needed for free.

Can I claim for my delayed flight?

You have the right to flight delay compensation under Regulation EC No 261/2004 if:

  • your flight arrives at the final destination with a delay of over 3 hours
  • your flight was departing from an airport located in the EU or was operated by an EU carrier
  • the delay was not due to extraordinary circumstances 

How to claim for delayed flight?

If your flight was delayed and it falls under the EU Regulation, you can send a flight delay claim to the airline. In case your request is ignored or rejected, you will have to go to court. Litigating with air carriers in court is troublesome and difficult, especially without professional legal support.

If you do not want to study EC261 regulation and fiddle with papers, you can use the services of the AirAdvisor which specializes in returning European airline delay compensation to passengers.