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Flight Cancellations and Delays from Italy: What To Do

Flight Cancellations and Delays from Italy: What To Do

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

Italy consistently ranks in the top 5 most-touristed countries in the world. Nearly 50 million tourists visit the country in a single year, and many arrive by plane from the Americas and other parts of Europe.

Getting all these air passengers around is no easy feat, and unfortunately, cancellations and flight delays from Italy happen. According to Eurocontrol, Italy averaged 3,500 daily flights in 2023. That’s up 22% from 2022. It can be tricky to handle all these moving parts, so if you’ve had your Italy flights cancelled or delayed, we have all the info you need.

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Key components of flight delay compensation in Italy:

  • Italy flight delays and cancellations are covered by EU regulation 261.
  • For EU 261 to apply, a delay must be at least 3 hours upon arrival and a cancellation must be made with fewer than 2 weeks' notice.
  • The compensation payouts generally vary between €250 and €600; the actual amount depends on flight distance.
  • Extraordinary circumstances are an exception to EU261.
  • You can claim for flight delays in Italy up to 2 years and 2 months after the disruption.
  • For anyone short on time, AirAdvisor is the ideal claim partner to ensure you receive the maximum compensation.

Your Rights Under Regulation EU 261

Figuring out what the airline owes you can seem daunting. But we’re here to simplify the rules to make sure you know when you can claim and how much to request.

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According to Regulation EU261 (sometimes called EC261 or EC261/2004), some instances of Italy flight delays (and Italy flight cancellations) are covered. Additionally, should you have your flights from Italy to the UK cancelled or delayed (or vice versa), it’s possible that the similar UK regulation, UK261, may apply.

Important Notes on EU261

Here are some of the key factors to consider when determining whether or not this regulation applies to your specific situation:

  1. For Italy flight delays, you must arrive at least 3 hours late at your destination.
  2. For flights cancelled in Italy, you must be advised of the cancellation 14 days or fewer before the original departure day and time.
  3. Longer routes trigger larger payouts. For example, a short flight that’s under 1,500km entitles passengers to up to €250, whereas a long-haul trip over 3,500km, can require a maximum of €600.
  4. Unfortunately, only some Italy flights are eligible. When you travel with an EU airline, your flight can either take off or land at any EU airport to qualify. Alternatively, if you fly with a non-EU airline, your flight must depart from an EU airport.
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Flight Delay Compensation Italy - The Payouts

When you encounter Italy flight delays, provided that you meet the conditions mentioned above, here are the expected maximum payouts:



Delay Time at Destination

Total Flight Distance

Flights under 1,500 km

Flights between 1,500km and 3,500km 

Flights over 3,500km

Under 3 hours

 €0

3 hours +

 €250

 €400

 €600*

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* Passengers should know that sometimes airlines will try to downgrade the maximum compensation by 50% for shorter delays. At AirAdvisor, we always go for the highest amount possible.

Rome, Italy, The Main Entrance To Terminal 1 For Departures At The Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport In Fiumicino

What Flights to/from Italy Are Covered?

Let’s move on to a few examples to further clarify what delayed and cancelled flights to Italy are eligible for a claim with the airline.

Rome to New York

When you experience an interruption on a flight from Rome Fiumicino Airport to New York JFK Airport, you may be able to claim compensation. We’ll assume:

  • Delay time of 5 hours.
  • Flight distance of 6,865km.
  • Airline = American Airlines.

Since this flight meets the 3-hour threshold for delays and departs from an EU airport, even though the carrier is not EU-based, passengers who land 5 hours late in New York would likely qualify for reimbursement for the inconvenience of €600.

On the other hand, if we reverse the route, and the flight leaves NYC and arrives in Rome, passengers will not meet the requirements for EU 261. This is because American Airlines is based in the USA, not the EU.

Paris to Rome

In this example, we’ll use the popular route between Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Rome Fiumicino. 

  • Delay time of 3.5 hours.
  • Flight distance of 1,100km.
  • Airline = Air France.

With this route (entirely in the EU), the airline doesn’t factor in because the flight both leaves and arrives at an EU airport. The delay threshold is met, and based on distance, passengers should be entitled to €250 in compensation.

Milan to Lisbon

For passengers flying between Milan Malpensa Airport and Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport that are delayed, compensation is a possibility. In this case, we’ll use:

  • Delay time of 4 hours.
  • Flight distance of 1,550km.
  • Airline = ITA Airways.

This is another case of the route being entirely within the EU, but this time the flight distance dictates maximum compensation of €400.

If you’re still having trouble determining whether or not your Italy flight is eligible, we have a super quick flight checker that’s completely free to use so that you can know for sure.

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Waiting to re-book for a cancelled or delayed flight in Italy

 

Additional Compensation For Flights Cancelled - Italy

Flight cancellation compensation in Italy generally ranges from €125 to €600, depending on the length of the delay and the flight distance. Generally, the longer the delay between the arrival time for your new flight compared to the cancelled flight, the higher the amount.

Airlines are also required to make sure passengers are comfortable during the delay. This means they must provide phone calls to make arrangements, plus drinks and meals, also depending on the wait time at the airport. If your flight is cancelled and you can’t get a new one until the following day, passengers can also expect complimentary hotel accommodations and airport transfers.

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Navigating The Extraordinary Circumstances Exception

It would certainly be nice if all disrupted Italy flights mandated a payout, but that’s not the reality. Airlines are not required under EU 261 to issue compensation if the interruption is the result of extraordinary circumstances. These are things that the airline can’t control, so they are not held responsible.

Extraordinary Circumstances Examples

  • Political instability or civil unrest.
  • Security, sabotage, or terrorism risks.
  • Defects with the aircraft.
  • Unsafe weather conditions, including things like blizzards, severe fog, and ash clouds.
  • Problems, including strikes, with non-airline staff.

Don’t get discouraged, though. On the flip side, there are plenty of instances that are not considered extraordinary circumstances:

  • Airline staffing problems, typically shortages.
  • Airline strikes.
  • Maintenance or technical issues with the aircraft, except defects.

Rome Fiumicino Flight Delays

To gain some insight into how common flight delays are in Italy, let’s have a look at the country’s busiest airport: Rome Fiumicino. When we reviewed the 2023 summary published by Eurocontrol, we found:

 

2023

2022

2019

Arrival Punctuality At Rome Fiumicino

59%

68%

68%

Network Arrival Punctuality

65%

66%

73%

From these numbers, we can see that in both 2023 and 2019, Rome Fiumicino was below average for arrival punctuality. In 2023, a staggering 41% of flights did not arrive on time at Rome Fiumicino

Even though not every delayed flight will meet the route requirements and delay threshold, that’s still a significant enough number that many passengers will need to claim flight delay compensation in Italy.

ITA Airways Flight Disruptions

Delayed flight compensation with ITA Airways

We’ve looked at the country’s busiest airport, now let’s delve into the country’s busiest airline. In Italy, that’s ITA Airways. As the successor to now-defunct Alitalia, the airline is government-run and welcomes more and more passengers every year. In 2023, 15 million people flew with the carrier. But how does ITA stack up?

ITA Airways Arrival Punctuality

 

2023

2022

ITA Arrival Punctuality 

73%

81%

Network Arrival Punctuality

71%

71%

Since ITA was only established officially in 2020, we will only take into account 2022 and 2023. Luckily, for those passengers who choose this airline, it has been consistently above average in this admittedly small sample.

To provide some context, 27% of ITA flights didn’t arrive on time in 2023. And if you’re among these significantly delayed passengers, it’s worth attempting to file a claim for flight delay compensation.

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Flight Delay Compensation Italy: The Claim Steps

We are proud to have a 98% success rate and are reviewed well by our clients. In fact, 92% of them would recommend us. So, if you are looking for assistance with a flight delay compensation Italy claim, we’re happy to help. Plus, it’s so easy!

  1. Go to our website for help from the top airline compensation experts.
  2. Enter details about your situation: flight and personal info.
  3. Attach any pertinent supporting documents, like receipts, airline correspondence, and boarding passes.
  4. Wait to hear from us. We’ll contact you as soon as we have received a reply, and we’ll follow up with the airline directly as needed.

In the interest of transparency, we do charge a small fee that’s calculated as a percentage of your payout. This only applies to successful claims, so you really have nothing to lose.

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Flight Delay Compensation Italy - Time Limit

Every country has a slightly different deadline to file your delay claim. In Italy, you have 2 years and 2 months. Now this may sound like a lot of time (and it is - in some countries, it’s only 1 year), but time passes quickly. 

We advise contacting the airline to file your claim as soon as you get home from the flight. That way, all the details will still be fresh in your mind and you won’t have misplaced any of the necessary paperwork and supporting documents.

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Early claims have an 72% higher chance of payout

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FAQs

How long do Italy flight delays need to be to get compensation?

When a flight to or from Italy is delayed by 3 hours or more, passengers can claim compensation.

What Italy flights can get flight delay compensation?

EU rules dictate that to qualify for flight delay compensation in Italy, flights must either be entirely within the EU or depart from an EU airport. This applies to all airlines. Alternatively, if your flight only arrives in the EU, it would qualify provided you’re flying with an EU-based airline.

How much flight delay compensation can I get in Italy?

That depends on the distance of your flight. Assuming you meet the EU261 regulation requirements of being delayed at least 3 hours and your flight route departs from the EU with any carrier or lands in the EU with an EU-based carrier, compensation should apply. The maximum is €600, but if your flight is a short one (under 1,500km), you would be eligible for the minimum compensation of €250.

What are extraordinary circumstances?

Since it would seem a little unfair to make airlines responsible for interruptions they can’t control, extraordinary circumstances are an exception in regulation EU261 concerning flight delay compensation. Airlines are not required to pay when delays are the result of severe weather, non-airline strikes, or aircraft manufacturing defects, to name a few.

What if my flight gets postponed to the next day?

Delays that carry over to the following day are still eligible for up to €600 in compensation from the airline in Italy. In addition, passengers should expect meals, drinks, accommodations, and airport transfers to be provided free of charge in certain cases.

What’s the time limit on Italy flight delay compensation claims?

For Italy disruption claims, passengers have up to 2 years and 2 months to make their claim. Don’t wait too long or you risk missing the deadline or losing necessary documents.

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