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Flight Cancellations and Delays from Belgium: Here’s What To Do

Flight Cancellations and Delays from Belgium: Here’s What To Do

Amy Lancelotte
Written By Amy Lancelotte
Last Updated: May 13, 2024

It’s good to be famous for something, right? Not always. When it comes to flight delays, in July 2022, Brussels Airport topped the list of the worst offenders. During the month, 72% of flights were delayed and a further 2.5% were cancelled altogether, according to Hopper.

While this may be an isolated occurrence, given that the country’s busiest airport welcomed 22.2 million passengers in 2023 and passenger flights increased 12% in 2023 over 2022, flight delays and cancellations are always a possibility.

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Whether you’ve already experienced a travel disruption or are simply doing your research, we have all the information you need about flight delay compensation in Belgium. Our team of experienced airline compensation experts can help you hold Belgian (and other European) airlines accountable. We’ve done just that for over 240,000 clients already.

Belgium plane delay compensation highlights:

  • EU flight delay compensation (which includes Belgium) is covered by regulation EU 261.
  • To qualify for flight cancellation compensation, the cancellation must occur without a minimum of 14 days' notice.
  • To trigger EU 261, a delay must be at least 3 hours; compared to the originally scheduled arrival time at the destination.
  • Compensation varies from €250 to €600; flight distance dependent.
  • Anything that causes a delay that’s outside the airline’s control is called an extraordinary circumstance and negates the airline's requirement for a passenger payout.
  • Passengers only have 1 year to file claims for flight delay compensation and cancellations.
  • Consider AirAdvisor as your ideal partner in the Belgium flight delay compensation process.

EU Regulation: Flight Delay Compensation in Belgium

You don’t need to get bogged down in too many details to know your passenger rights in Belgium. In fact, it all boils down to one regulation, called EU261, which covers instances of significant delays and flight cancellations. Similarly, the UK also has a regulation for this, aptly named UK261.

What You Should Know About EU261

While it would be nice if every delayed flight was covered, unfortunately, that’s not the reality. Here’s what you need to remember to determine your eligibility for a flight delay compensation claim in Belgium:

  1. The delay, measured based on your actual arrival time at your destination, must be at least 3 hours late.
  2. The longer the route, the higher the payout. Flight delay compensation varies between short flights (1,500km and under), medium flights (1,500 to 3,500km), and long-haul flights (over 3,500km).
  3. Not every flight is eligible. Flights that take off from an EU-based airport are always covered, whereas flights that only arrive in the EU are only eligible if the flight is operated by an EU-based airline.

Waiting to board a delayed flight in Belgium

Compensation Amounts For Delayed Flights in Belgium

According to the EU flight delay compensation guidelines, here’s what passengers can expect as long as they adhere to the 3-hour minimum delay and the flight route leaves from the EU or arrives in the EU with an EU carrier:



Destination Delay Time

Flight Distance

Flights under 1500 km

Internal EU flights over 1500 km

Flights from 1500 km to 3500 km outside the EU

Flights more than 3500 km

Under 3 hours

€0

3 hours or more

€250

€400

€400

€600*

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** It’s our mission to always maximize payouts from the airline, but be aware that if your delay time is shorter (but is still at least 3 hours), airlines may try to reduce this amount by 50%.

Flight Delay Compensation Belgium - Is Your Flight Covered?

Sometimes information is best conveyed using examples. See below for some of the more popular routes involving Belgium. We’ll explain the factors that come into play, the expected compensation amount, and provide an explanation.

Departure Airport

Arrival Airport

Length of Delay at Destination

Approximate Flight Distance

Airline

Compensation Amount

Explanation

London Heathrow

Brussels

3 hours

320 km

Brussels Airlines

€250

3-hour delay threshold met; EU airline landing in EU

Brussels 

Berlin Brandenburg

4 hours

650 km 

Ryanair

€250

3-hour delay threshold met; entirely within the EU

Madrid Barajas

Brussels

4.5 hours

1,575 km 

Vueling

€400

3-hour delay threshold met; entirely within the EU

Abu Dhabi Zayed

Brussels

5 hours

5,150 km 

Etihad

€0

Etihad is not EU-based; flight departed from outside the EU

Brussels

New York JFK

5 hours

5,800 km 

Delta

€600

3-hour delay threshold met; non-EU airline departing from the EU

Antwerp

Tenerife South

2.5 hours

3,600 km

TUI Fly

€0

Delay threshold not met

If things still aren’t entirely clear, head to our website and use our free flight checker to find out for sure whether your flight qualifies.

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Think your flight qualifies for compensation? We can help you submit a claim ASAP!

Belgium Flight Cancellations - The EU Rules

As mentioned, your rights for European flight cancellation compensation also stem from regulation EU 261. First, passengers are entitled to either a refund of the original ticket price or a suitable replacement flight. The replacement flight either needs to stick as close to the original flight’s arrival time or you must agree to the later arrival.

Aside from covering the cost of items like phone calls, drinks, meals, and accommodations (depending on airport wait time), airlines are required to issue flight cancellation compensation. These amounts are based on the distance of your route, where you’re travelling to and from (EU vs non-EU), and how long your arrival time at your final destination was delayed compared to your original flight.

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Slightly different from flight delay compensation amounts, passengers can claim between €125 and €600 for their troubles related to cancellations.

Extraordinary Circumstances - The Exception

Unfortunately, even if your flight delay or cancellation meets all the criteria we’ve already outlined, there’s an exception to be aware of. It’s called extraordinary circumstances. This means that if something that’s outside the airline’s control causes the interruption, they do not need to provide monetary compensation.

List of Extraordinary Circumstances

  • Political/civil unrest.
  • Acts of sabotage or terrorism or security threats/risks.
  • Plane manufacturer defects.
  • Severe or extreme weather.
  • Issues or strikes with support services like air traffic control.

While this might appear that nothing is actually not an extraordinary circumstance, here’s a list of reasons for flight interruptions where compensation is required:

  • Insufficient airline staff.
  • Airline strikes.
  • Technical or maintenance problems with the plane, excluding defects.
  • Poor weather conditions on a previous flight cause your plane to be delayed.

Flight delay compensation with Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines Flight Disruptions

As the country’s busiest carrier, passengers who experience a delay or cancellation in Belgium may be flying Brussels Airlines. Don’t let the name fool you, this airline flies all over and is part of the Lufthansa Group. 

Although an isolated incident, at the end of February 2024, Brussels Airlines experienced a 3-day strike by its cabin crews. The strike affected 20% of the company’s flights, resulting in cancellations. Luckily, due to Brussels Airlines’ partnerships, those 20% of passengers were re-routed via other carriers. 

The chaos that results from airline strikes will often cancel flights, and even if passengers get a replacement flight, if the arrival differs significantly from the initially booked flight, EU flight cancellation compensation is a possibility.

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Belgium Flight Disruption Claims In A Few Steps

With our 98% success rate and healthy rating on Reviews.io (4.6 out of 5), AirAdvisor is the perfect flight compensation claim partner. Here’s what to do:

  1. Head to the website to get started with our airline compensation experts.
  2. We’ll just need a few flight and incident details to evaluate and submit your claim.
  3. Submit whatever supporting documents you have, such as receipts, boarding passes, and correspondence from the airline.
  4. Leave it with us and we’ll go to bat to get the maximum flight delay compensation (or cancellation compensation) possible.

When you partner with us and your claim is successful, we do charge a small percentage-based fee for our time and expertise. But, if on the outside chance we do not claim compensation on your behalf, there is no fee at all.

Belgium flight delay compensation

Time Limit For Belgium Flight Delay Compensation 

Belgium is not exactly generous when it comes to the time limit to make your delayed flight compensation request. You only have 1 year from the date of the delay in which to do it. In other EU countries, it generally varies from 3 to 5 years.

Time passes very quickly, so be diligent and contact us to start your claim as soon as you return home and get settled.

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The best way to expedite a flight delay claim in Belgium is to partner with us. Start your claim today in just a few simple steps.

FAQs

What is the minimum delay time to claim flight delay compensation in Belgium?

Based on EU regulation EC261, flights must be delayed by at least 3 hours to qualify for any compensation.

What flights qualify for flight delay compensation in Belgium?

Any flight within the EU or departing from an EU airport is covered. For flights that only arrive at an EU airport, the airline needs to be based in the EU to qualify. Routes that don’t touch any EU airports are not eligible at all, even if you fly with an EU-based airline.

What is the maximum amount of flight delay compensation I can receive in Belgium?

EU flight delay compensation varies by flight distance. Provided your flight was delayed by 3 hours or more at your final destination, you can claim up to €600. The actual amounts are based entirely on flight distance, so a flight under 1,500km gets up to €250, between 1,500km and 3,500km gets up to €400, and over 3,500km gets up to €600.

What are extraordinary circumstances for flight delay compensation?

If your flight delay is attributed to something that cannot be controlled by the airline, it’s considered an extraordinary circumstance. Because the airline could not have prevented the disruption, they are not responsible for compensation. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include problems with air traffic control, security threats, unsafe weather conditions, and aircraft defects.

What if my flight gets postponed to the next day?

When a flight is delayed to the following day, aside from monetary compensation of up to €600, passengers are entitled to refreshments, including drinks and meals as well as overnight accommodation. Additionally, if the accommodation is not at the airport, transfers should be covered, too.

How long do I have to make a flight delay compensation claim in Belgium?

Unlike other EU countries that can sometimes allow up to 5 years to file a claim, in Belgium, you only have 1 year to get the claim started. It’s always better to file it right away so that you don’t risk losing documents, receipts, or incident details.

Are kids eligible for delayed flight compensation in Belgium?

Yes, as long as they are a ticketed passenger and meet all the other conditions (3-hour+ delay and the route is within the EU, departs the EU, or lands in the EU with an EU airline), kids qualify for flight delay compensation in the same amounts as adults - from €250 to €600.

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