EU Regulation 261 2004 Simplified: How to Claim up to €600 in Compensation for Delayed & Cancelled Flights

This article has been reviewed by a licensed lawyer Anton Radchenko for general accuracy. This is for informational purposes only and is not a legal advice.
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If you are facing flight disruptions, remember that you are protected by EU Regulation 261 2004. According to EC 261 Regulation,  airlines are obliged to pay cash compensation to passengers if their situations satisfy the list of specific criteria.

Don’t wait any longer and find out if your flight is covered by EU Regulation 261, what is the flight delay compensation time limit and how much you can get according to the EC Regulation 261 2004. In some cases, besides cash compensation, you have other rights according to EU Regulation 261

AirAdvisor answers all your questions and teaches you how to get your Regulation 261 2004 compensation you deserve.

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Regulation EC No 261/2004 has been created by the European Commission (EC) to protect the rights of the air passengers enforcing their rights. 

It lays down common rules on compensation to passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellations or long delays of a flight.

If your flight qualifies, you can be entitled to EU Regulation flight compensation of up to €600 (£510). Let’s take a closer look at EU Regulation 261 2004 and the criteria to get the compensation.  


EC Regulation 261 2004: What is all about?

If your flight is cancelled or delayed, remember that you are protected by European Regulation EC 261 2004

EC 261 Regulation is a reliable point of reference that air passengers can use to their advantage. According to EU rule 261 airlines are obliged to pay cash compensation to passengers if their situations satisfy the list of specific criteria.

Air travellers facing flight disruption problems when flying in Europe are more protected than on other continents. It's possible thanks to the EU Regulation 261 200 that is an extensive document that defends the rights of all air passengers. 

It does not matter what your citizenship is or where you live. You can always rely on Regulation 261 2004, if your flight departs from an EU airport or if your flight is operated by an EU airline. 


Will Brexit Affect my Rights under EC 261 Regulation?

The government of the UK included Regulation EC No 261 2004 in the UK law as part of the Brexit transition. You can find it as The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing Amendment to the main Regulation 261/2004. 

EU Regulation 261 2004 is included in the UK law

The UK air passengers can still benefit from the same flight laws and regulations. The UK-EU transition does not affect their rights for compensation and assistance.

The UK and EU regulations will overlap for some itineraries. In such situations, the passengers will have the right to decide how their cases should be handled.


EU Regulation 261 2004: How Can I Apply it to My Case?

EU Regulation 261 allows air passengers to get compensation of up to €600 (£510) in cases of flight disruption.

It does not matter if you travelled for business purposes or your holiday was part of a package. You can get EU Regulation flight compensation if your flight satisfies specific criteria

If your flight was delayed, you get compensation only if you arrive late at your destination by 3 hours or more.

If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to compensation only if you are sent a notice about flight cancellation less than 14 days before the departure date.

Also, you can claim compensation only if your flight disruption was not due to extraordinary circumstances.

For example, you experienced a delay due to the airport employees' strike. You will not be eligible for EU flight delay compensation extraordinary circumstances including third party strikes as something out of the airlines' control. 

Then you have to check the type of your flight and meet the deadline to apply for the compensation. We will discuss it further in more detail.

If you are not sure if you are entitled to EU Regulation flight compensation, please, fill in your basic flight details on our website. We will inform you right away. The chances are that you can get cash compensation of up to €600 (£510). 

woman checked her compensation with EC 261 Regulation form at the AirAdvisor website


EU Regulation Flight Compensation: What Flights are Covered?

You can get compensation of up to €600 (£510) according to EU Regulation 261 2004 for:

  1. All flights within the European Union, regardless of the airline operating the flight.

    example: UIA flight from London to Milan was delayed. UIA has to compensate passengers according to EC Regulation flight delays. The fact that the airline is Ukrainian does not matter in this EU Regulations re flight delays case.
  2. All flights departing from the European Union to any outside country

    example: your Aeroflot flight from London to Moscow is cancelled. You are eligible to EU Regulations cancelled flight compensation, even though you fly to Russia with a Russian airline.
  3. All flights that are operated by European Union airlines, regardless of a point of departure.

    example: in the event of denied boarding to the British Airways flight from New York to London, you have the right to compensation according to the EU denied boarding Regulation.


The European Parliament extended the list of countries for the purposes of the EU Regulation 261 2004.

In addition to the usual 27 member states of the European Union and the UK, it also includes other countries. ECRegulation 261 2004 also covers Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and 9 special territories. 

To simplify the explanation, here is a table with the flights covered by EC 261 Regulation:

Flight Itinerary

EU Airline

non-EU Airline

within EU



EU airport - non-EU airport



non-EU airport - EU airport



outside EU 



Of course, EU Regulation 261 does not depend on the costs of the ticket. Neither Ryanair nor Wizzair will be able to avoid legal obligations towards their air passengers, even if their flight costs €1 (£0.9). 

air passengers have to submit EU 261 compensation claim RyanAir has to address

To check if your flight qualifies for compensation, fill in your basic flight details on our website, and we will let you know the answer immediately. 


Flight Delay Compensation Time Limit

EU Regulation 261 2004 does not indicate a deadline common to all cases. It doesn’t depend on your nationality either. The deadline to make your EU Regulation 261 claim is defined by the origin of the European Union airline. It depends on the country where its headquarter is located. 

Here is a simple list for you to understand how much time you have to submit your EC Regulation 261 2004 claim:



10 months


1 year

Belgium, Poland

2 years

Iceland, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland

2 years 2 months


3 years

Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic*, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany**, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden***

5 years

Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Spain

6 years

Cyprus, Ireland, UK (except Scotland)

10 years

Lithuania, Luxembourg

No limit


*Czech Republic: you must inform the airline that your flight was delayed within 6 months after the delay. Then your payment claim will be valid for 3 years. 

*Germany: the limitation period expires on the last day of the third year. For example, the disrupted flight was on 22/03/2018. The limitation period for this flight expires on 31/12/2021.

**Sweden: the limitation period is renewed at any time when a claim is made. So the limitation period for any subsequent claims would be 3 years from the time the last claim was filed.


For example, you have a flight disruption with RyanAir. The headquarter of the airline is Dublin (Ireland). This means you have up to 6 years to make your EU 261 compensation claim RyanAir has to address. 

No matter what flight disruption you have, you can refer to the table above. The deadline to claim compensation in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation would be just the same as flight delay compensation time limit

Some airlines deliberately delay the process, waiting for the expiration of the deadline. Thus, we advise you to apply for EC261 compensation immediately after your flight disruption. This way you won’t miss the deadline. 

 Claim with AirAdvisor and get up to €600 (£510) compensation. Find out how much you’re owed today.Check Your Flight

What is my EU Regulation 261 2004 Compensation for Disrupted Flights?

Almost 90% of air passengers do not claim compensation because they do not know about having such a right. Those who know prefer to avoid stressing time-consuming court trials. 

Converting a theoretical EU Regulation 261 entitlement to cash EU Regulation flight compensation in your bank account is not an easy process indeed. 

Many airlines ignore air passenger requests or invent non-existent reasons not to pay. Thus, you might need legal representatives to uphold your rights in court. 

AirAdvisor can help you to save time and money. Our 5-years of experience, advanced technology and legal support are the keys to getting the EC Regulation 261 2004 compensation you deserve.

You are only two steps from passing your case to our team.

1. Choose your flight disruption problem:

2. Fill in your basic flight information. We will inform you about the amount of EC 261 Regulation immediately.


According to Regulation 261 2004, compensation amounts vary depending on the distance of the flight, the timing of cancellation notice given by the airline, the delay time in hours, the origins of arrival and departure airports, etc. 

Learn about your rights as an air passenger based on your flight disruption. 

air passengers are entitled to EU Regulation 261 compensation


Your Other Rights Covered by EU Regulation 261 2004

Did you know that besides the cash compensation, you are also entitled to the list of other rights enforced by EU Regulation 261? We would like to tell you about some of them:


1. Rights for Information about EC 261 Regulation

The air carriers have to inform you about your EC Regulation 261 2004 rights in the case if your flight is cancelled or delayed, or in the event of denied boarding. 

You can refer to the EU Regulation 261 2004pdf published by the official claims regulation website of the European Union.

However, airlines have to provide you with EC 261 Regulation information in written form in case of any flight disruption. It shall also provide all affected air passengers with a written notice specifying the rules for assistance and compensation.  


2. Right for Refund or Alternative Flight

In case of flight cancellation, in addition to EU Regulation flight compensation, the airline is also obliged to provide you with an alternative flight or pay a full refund for the cancelled flight and all other flights within the same booking (such as a return flight). 


3. Rights for Care and Assistance

  • in case of long delays:

- airline has to provide free of charge, in light of waiting time, complimentary meals and refreshments if your flight is delayed as shown in the table:

travel distance of your flight

all flights, ≤1,500km

all internal EU flights, >1,500km

all non-internal EU flights, 1,500-3,500km

all non-internal EU flights, >3,500km

your waiting time due to delay

2 or more hours

3 or more hours

3 or more hours

4 or more hours

- the airline has to provide you with hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel (for the flights delayed until the next day).

  • in case of flight cancellations when you are offered an alternative flight:

- the airline has to provide you with hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel (for alternative flight departing the next day).

- if your new flight was upgraded to a higher class, the airline cannot request additional payment. If it was downgraded to a lower class, you are entitled to a refund. You can claim between 30-70% of the original costs of the ticket.

Additionally, regardless of flight disruption, you can have two free calls, telexes, emails or fax messages. 


4. Other EU Regulation 261 2004 Compensations

Often airlines do not bother to notify air passengers about their rights to complimentary meals and refreshments and, where appropriate, hotel accommodation and transport. 

If you incurred additional expenses because your flight is cancelled or due to long delays, you could include them in the EU Regulation 261 claim form. But don’t forget to keep all the receipts, the best proof for the judge. 

air passengers are entitled to EU Regulation flight compensation in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation


EU Regulation Flight Compensation: How to Claim?

Once you know you are entitled to compensation, you have to make an EC 261 Regulation claim. This is a tiring process. Thus, many air passengers give up trying to get any money from airlines already in the initial stage of the process. 

As a general rule, you have two options. If you can claim EU Regulation flight compensation yourself. In this case, you will have to write a letter to the airline. If it refuses to pay the money, you will have to go to court. 

The second way is to fill in our form with basic flight details. We will take care of the rest. Our legal partners will contact your airline and appropriate legal authority and will defend your EC 261 Regulation rights in court. 


Why AirAdvisor: Helping to Claim Your EU Regulation 261 Rights

If you face flight disruption and the claims regulation website makes your head spin, ask AirAdvisor to help you out. Our team can help you to save time and money. We can assist you in claiming your rights according to the EU Regulation 261 2004

AirAdvisor is the leading expert in flight laws and regulations. We know the EU Regulation 261 2004 industry in and out.

Our 5-years of experience, advanced technology and legal support are the keys to getting the EC Regulation 261 2004 you deserve. Stress free and risk free for you.  

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