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Flight Cancellations and Delays from Greece: What You Need To Know

Flight Cancellations and Delays from Greece: What You Need To Know

Amy Lancelotte
Written By Amy Lancelotte
Last Updated: May 09, 2024

In 2023, airports in Greece averaged 1,374 daily flights. This is a 9% increase over 2019. While many airlines and airports are still recovering post-COVID-19, Greece seems to be fairing better than average.

The good news for passengers flying to and from Greece is that even though air traffic numbers are on the rise, the instances of departure delays have stayed relatively consistent at the country’s main air hub - Athens Airport. 73% of Athens Airport flights departed on time in 2023, and this is notable since the European network average was only 65% for the same year.

Unfortunately, just because the numbers in Greece skew above average doesn’t mean that passengers won’t encounter flight delays from Greece or have their Greece flights cancelled. That’s why it’s essential to determine exactly what flight delay compensation (and flight cancellation compensation) passengers can claim. Luckily, you’re in the right place!

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And even if you prefer to file a compensation claim yourself, it’s important that you know all the pertinent details, which we will outline for you here. These are the main takeaways:

  • EU flight delay compensation is covered by regulation EU261.
  • Only delays of 3 hours or more qualify.
  • Compensation ranges from €250 to €600, depending on distance.
  • Extraordinary circumstances are an exception to EU261.
  • Flights cancelled in Greece entitle passengers to compensation as long as they are notified fewer than 14 days in advance.

Is An Airplane Delay Common in Greece?

To answer this question, let’s look again at Greece’s main air hub, Athens International Airport, which accounts for nearly half of all the country’s flights. These are the stats based on the annual report from Eurocontrol:

Year

On-Time Departure Percentage

Delayed Departure Percentage

European Average

2023

73%

27%

65%

2022

75%

25%

66%

2019

77%

23%

73%

As mentioned, Athens Airport generally does at least 4% better than average when it comes to flight delays from Greece. But, on average, 1 in 4 passengers will experience some kind of delay.

Additionally, according to Eurocontrol, Aegean Airlines, the main Greek carrier, had an on-time arrival average of 71% in 2023. This is exactly in line with the European average. So, on average, 30% of passengers will experience some kind of delay when flying with Aegean.

How Often Do Greece Flights Get Cancelled?

Now, we’ll focus more of our attention on Greece’s main airline - Aegean. In 2022, 0.63% of Aegean’s flights were cancelled. This is according to OAG and was part of AirAdvisor’s research to determine the top EU airlines for 2023.

If we apply this cancellation percentage to Aegean’s 73,893 annual flights, that means that roughly 465 flights were cancelled in a single year. Most of these flight cancellations would either depart from or arrive in Greece. That’s more than 1 flight every day!

When passengers have their flights to Greece cancelled without a minimum of 14 days' notice, flight cancellation compensation is a possibility. This is in addition to a replacement flight or a full ticket refund. Based on flight distance, passengers can expect up to €600 from the airline. Plus, refreshments, phone calls, accommodation, and airport transfers may also be required.

Experienced a flight cancellation recently either to or from Greece?

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EU Flight Delay Compensation - The Rules

When you board a flight with Greece as the departure or arrival airport, European flight delay compensation will apply in certain circumstances. Compensation is dictated by the conditions in regulation EC261/2004, which is also called EU261. Alternatively, the UK has a similar regulation called UK261.

Notable EC261/2004 Conditions

Not every flight delay in Greece will qualify for remuneration from the airline. Here’s what to watch out for:

  1. Greece flight delays trigger compensation as long as the arrival time at the final destination is delayed by 3 hours or more.
  2. Longer flight distances increase the amount of compensation.
  3. Flights are covered if they:

     Depart from or arrive at a Greek or other EU airport and the airline is based in the EU.
     Depart from an airport in the EU for airlines based outside the EU.

Passengers waiting to board a delayed airplane in Greece

Flight Delay Compensation Greece - The Amounts

We know that the compensation varies between €250 and €600. Assuming you meet the above 2 conditions (3-hour delay minimum and have the mandatory EU airport in your route), these are the maximum amounts to expect for an airline delay claim:



Destination Delay Time

Total Flight Distance

EU flights under 1,500km

EU flights over 1,500km

Non-internal EU flights between 1,500km and 3,500km

Non-internal EU flights over 3,500km

Under 3 hours

 €0

3 hours +

 €250

 €400

 €400

 €600*

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* Note that airlines are likely to try to reduce this maximum amount by half if a delay is short, but at AirAdvisor, we always aim for the highest compensation.

Covered Flights - A Few Examples

The easiest way to determine if your Greece flight delays are eligible for an airline payout is to use our completely free flight checker. The results are almost instant, and then you can decide how to proceed. To further illustrate which Greek flight delays are covered and which aren’t, check out these examples, each with an explanation.

Athens to New York

When flying from Athens Airport to New York JFK Airport, we need a few additional details to confirm compensation eligibility:

  • Flight distance = 7,900km.
  • Delay time = 5 hours.
  • Airline = Delta Airlines.

In this case, since the flight leaves an EU airport and the delay time exceeds 3 hours, the main conditions are met. The flight is over the threshold of 3,500km, so passengers can expect €600 from Delta Airlines.

But, if we reverse this route and go from New York to Athens with Delta, no compensation is required according to EU261, regardless of the delay at the destination.

Passengers boarding a flight from Thessaloniki to Athens

Thessaloniki to Athens

This is a common Greek flight between the country’s two largest cities. It is based entirely within the EU, so let’s assume the following flight details:

  • Flight distance = 300km.
  • Delay time = 2.5 hours.
  • Airline = Aegean Airlines.

This flight would not qualify for reimbursement from Aegean since the delay does not meet the minimum requirement. Alternatively, if the delay was at least 3 hours, passengers should be entitled to €250. In this case, the airline is irrelevant because the flight leaves from an airport in Greece.

Athens to London

Another popular route from Athens goes to London’s Gatwick Airport. Here’s the pertinent info:

  • Flight distance = 2,400km.
  • Delay time = 4 hours.
  • Airline = easyJet.

This flight scenario will trigger compensation in the middle category, so passengers should expect €400 from easyJet. If we reverse this route and the flight leaves a non-EU airport with a non-EU airline, luckily, passengers would still be entitled to compensation, just through the UK’s regulation UK261 instead.

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What Are Extraordinary Circumstances?

It would probably be unfair to ask every European airline to issue compensation whenever a flight is delayed by 3 hours. So, there’s an exception to the regulation, which is referred to as extraordinary circumstances. These are things that the airline generally has little or no control over.

If the root cause of your flight delay is any of the following, the airline is not required to provide any compensation:

  • Political or civil unrest.
  • Security risks, including but not limited to terrorism.
  • Manufacturing defects in the aircraft.
  • Severe weather conditions, such as blizzards, thick fog, and hurricanes.
  • Air traffic control (ATC) limitations.
  • Strikes by non-airline personnel, including ATC and baggage handlers.

The best thing to do is to confirm the reason for your delay as soon as you arrive behind schedule. Compensation will apply in these cases, which are not deemed to be extraordinary circumstances:

  • Airline staff issues, including strikes and insufficient flight staff.
  • Technical or maintenance problems with the aircraft that are not considered manufacturer defects.
  • A delayed plane that’s late due to poor weather conditions on a previous flight.

Greek flights cancelled by Aegean Airlines

 

Flight Delay Compensation Greece - Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines shuttled 15.5 million passengers to and from Greek and worldwide destinations in 2023. This is up 26% from 2022. If you have your Greek flights cancelled by Aegean or you encounter a significant delay, it’s always worth trying to claim compensation.

We have established that about 30% of Aegean’s flights are delayed upon arrival, although many of these will not meet the 3-hour delay minimum. But some definitely will. So, for details on how to contact Aegean Airlines for compensation for cancelled flights in Europe or 3-hour+ delays, check out this guide.

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Flight Disruptions - A Quick Guide

It’s no fun to waste your time submitting a claim that isn’t going to work. So remember:

  • Flight delays in Greece must be 3 hours minimum.
  • The delay cause must be something within the airline’s control, ie: not extraordinary circumstances.
  • The flight route needs to touch at least one EU airport for EU-based carriers and must leave from an EU airport for non-EU carriers.
  • To keep everything you get from the airline. This includes documents or correspondence backing up the reason for the delay or cancellation, boarding passes, receipts, and anything else that helps solidify your EU flight delay compensation claim.

Greece Delayed/Cancelled Flight Compensation Claims - Simple Steps

Not to brag but AirAdvisor has a 98% win rate and 92% of our clients would recommend our services. We have gathered extensive knowledge over the years and know the best and quickest methods to resolve your claims with the highest payouts. If partnering with us sounds like a good idea to you, simply:

  1. Head to AirAdvisor’s homepage to start the claim process.
  2. We’ll need a few details about your situation, primarily your contact information and the flight particulars.
  3. Attach any supporting documents that can help validate your compensation request. 
  4. We’ll contact you once the claim has been resolved.

To take advantage of our expert services, there is no fee on the off chance that we don’t collect any compensation on your behalf. For successful claims, we levy a small percentage of the total payout amount. 

Athens Airport in Greece

Flight Delay Compensation in Greece - Time Limit

In Greece, the time limit to file a flight delay compensation claim is generous. Passengers have 5 years from the interruption to contact the airline. Our advice, though, is to file your request as soon as you return home. This eliminates the risk of losing important documents or forgetting the crucial details needed for a successful claim.

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FAQs

How much can passengers claim for Greece flight delay compensation?

The amounts are distance-dependent and range from €250 to €600. Flights 1,500km or less trigger compensation of €250. Flights from 1,500km to 3,500km are eligible for up to €400, and flights exceeding 3,500km can entitle passengers to a maximum of €600.

How long of a delay is required to trigger compensation?

Three hours minimum. Delays under 3 hours do not qualify for any reimbursement from the airline, according to regulation EU 261.

How do I know if my flight route qualifies for delay compensation in Greece?

Provided your flight either leaves or arrives at an airport in the EU, your route is eligible as long as you’re flying with an EU-based airline, such as Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air. If your carrier is not EU-based, your flight must depart from an EU airport.

What’s the time limit to make a delayed flight claim?

In Greece, passengers have 5 years to file the claim from the date of the incident. It’s better to submit your complaint sooner rather than later. Otherwise, precious details and documents may get misplaced.

How long does flight delay compensation take?

The length of time flight delay compensation takes varies by airline, but generally, you should expect a reply to your initial claim request in 30 days. 

How do extraordinary circumstances apply to flight delay compensation in Greece?

Extraordinary circumstances are things that cause flight interruptions that are outside of an airline’s control. These include instances of extreme weather, support staff strikes (like air traffic control), security threats, and aircraft manufacturing defects. When flight delays are caused by extraordinary circumstances, the airline does not need to issue any compensation.

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