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Flight Cancellations and Delays from Poland: What To Do

Flight Cancellations and Delays from Poland: What To Do

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

Poland is increasingly becoming a destination for leisure and business travellers. According to the Poland Civil Aviation Authority, passenger traffic in 2023 at all Polish airports was over 52 million. This is up 27.4% from 2022 and 165.8% from 2021.

All these passengers mean that there are more flights to and from the country and more opportunities for Poland flight cancellations and delays. In 2023, Warsaw’s Chopin International Airport handled over 18 million passengers, accounting for 35% of Poland’s total. Of these passengers, only 1.5 million took a domestic flight, so the majority of the Poland air passengers are international.

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No one enjoys it when their Poland flight gets cancelled or delayed. But, you’re in the right place to learn more about your passenger rights and how to maximize your airline compensation.

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Highlights of flight compensation in Poland:

  • Poland flight cancellations and delays fall under regulation EU261.
  • For EU flight delay compensation, your delay needs to be 3 hours or more when arriving at your destination. 
  • For EU flight cancellation compensation, you must find out about the cancellation fewer than 14 days before your scheduled flight.
  • Compensation amounts vary from €125 to €600; depending on the distance travelled.
  • There is an exception to EU261 called extraordinary circumstances.
  • You have one year to claim for a Poland flight interruption.
  • Partnering with us is the most effective way to claim the maximum payout.

Poland Passenger Rights - EU261

Every ticketed passenger has specific rights when they travel by plane within the EU, which are included in regulation EU261, also referred to as EC261.

Important Notes on EU261

There’s no need to comb through the entire regulation, we’ve provided the highlights below.

  1. For an airplane delay in Poland, the regulation stipulates that you only receive compensation if your flight is delayed upon arrival at your destination by 3 hours or more.
  2. Any passenger notified of a flight cancellation fewer than 2 weeks before the scheduled departure is eligible for a claim.
  3. Flight compensation is dependent on distance. Flights under 1,500km can claim €250, flights between 1,500km and 3,500km can claim €400, and flights over 3,500km can claim €600. 
  4. Not every Poland (or EU) flight qualifies, unfortunately. To fall under EU 261, passengers need to fly from an EU airport or arrive at an EU airport on an EU-based airline.
Still unsure as to whether or not your Poland flight delay qualifies for a payout?

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Amounts For Flight Delay Compensation Poland

Here is a breakdown of the expected EU flight compensation amounts for flights that are delayed:



Delay Time @ Destination

Total Distance

Flights under 1,500 km

Flights from 1,500km to 3,500km 

Flights over 3,500km

Less than 3 hours

 €0

3 hours +

 €250

 €400

 €600*

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* Although airlines may try to reduce this €600 amount by half, our experts always strive for the maximum payout possible.

Which Poland Flights Are Covered?

To further clarify the ins and outs of which Poland flights are entitled to compensation, let’s look at some real examples, their expected payout, and the reasons why.

Warsaw to Los Angeles

Currently, one of the few direct flights from Poland to the US is with LOT Polish Airlines, and the route is from Warsaw International Airport to LAX. We’ll assume the following details:

  • Delay time of 6 hours.
  • Flight distance of 9,600km.
  • Airline = LOT Polish Airlines.

In this scenario, the flight delay threshold of 3 hours is exceeded and the flight leaves an EU airport. These are the 2 main conditions required for compensation, and given the flight distance, passengers should be able to file a claim for €600.

Now, what happens if we reverse this route? In this case, the flight leaves from Los Angeles (not an EU-based airport) and only arrives in the EU. Luckily, LOT is an EU-based airline, so passengers would still be eligible for the same remuneration. If we change the airline though, to a company like American Airlines, all of a sudden, passengers are no longer eligible for compensation.

Gdansk to Amsterdam

Now, let’s review an example entirely in the EU from Gdansk Lech Wałęsa Airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol with the following additional conditions: 

  • Delay time of 2.5 hours.
  • Flight distance of 935 km.
  • Airline = KLM.

With this route, the airline is not important, but in this example, the delay minimum of 3 hours has not been met. As a result, all possibility of a flight delay compensation claim is gone. But, if we were to increase the delay time at the final destination to 3.5 hours, then passengers could claim up to €250 for the inconvenience.

Gdansk, Poland: People go on board the aircraft of Wizz Air at the airport of Lech Walesa

Krakow to London

For anyone flying between Krakow’s John Paul II International Airport and London’s Stansted Airport, it’s possible to claim flight delay compensation if:

  • The delay time is 4 hours.
  • Flight distance of 1,380km.
  • Airline = Ryanair.

In this situation, the compensation amount would be €250 for a route that departs the EU that’s under 1,500km. It’s also good to know that for flights that leave the UK, there is a similar regulation to EC261 called UK261.

Warsaw to Cairo

Let’s now assume that your flight was from Warsaw Airport to Cairo International Airport and:

  • The delay time is 5 hours.
  • Flight distance of 2,600km.
  • Airline = LOT Polish Airlines.

In this situation, passengers can claim up to €400 in compensation because they have met the 3-hour flight delay compensation threshold. And remember, if we switch the route, compensation only applies if you’re flying with an EU-based carrier.

If after reviewing these examples you still have some doubts, it’s easy to verify with our free flight checker. Then, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Gdansk Poland crowded departure lounge airport 

Additional Info About Poland Flight Cancellation Compensation

In addition to the general compensation amounts, which for cancellations is between €125 and €600, it may be possible to receive even more. First and foremost, the airline is required to offer you a suitable replacement flight or a full refund. You get this regardless of whether or not the cancellation is the airline’s fault.

Poland flight cancellations can be extremely disruptive, so it’s also the airline’s responsibility to offer passengers things like meals, drinks, and other things to keep them comfortable. It’s again your flight distance that dictates when these items should be available:

Flight Distance

Flights Under 1,500km

Flights From 1,500km to 3,500km

Flights over 3,500km

Airport Wait Time

2 hours or more

3 hours or more

4 hours or more

Additionally, the compensation amounts vary depending on how delayed your replacement flight is and how long your flight is. Passengers can claim €125 for flights under 1,500km that are delayed less than 2 hours at the final destination. On the top end, passengers can receive €600 for flights over 3,500km that arrive 4 hours (or more) later than the original flight.

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What Are Extraordinary Circumstances?

One exception to EU flight compensation is called extraordinary circumstances. In short, these are events that are outside the airline’s purview or control. If your disruption is caused by one of these, compensation likely won’t apply:

  • Civil unrest or political instability.
  • Security issues, including terrorism and sabotage.
  • Aircraft manufacturing defects.
  • Severe weather resulting in unsafe flying conditions.
  • Non-airline staffing issues, including strikes.
  • Bird strikes.

This may sound like a lot, but here are some delay and cancellation reasons that are not considered extraordinary circumstances:

  • Airline strikes.
  • Staffing issues with the airline, including due to illness or poor scheduling.
  • Aircraft maintenance issues, excluding defects.

Flight Interruptions For Specific Airlines

Based on information from the Polish Civil Aviation Authority, the 3 airlines that are responsible for the most international scheduled flights from Poland are Ryanair, WizzAir, and LOT Polish Airlines. Let’s look at them now:

Ryanair offers the most flights from Poland

Ryanair

Well-known budget carrier Ryanair offers more flights from Poland than any other carrier. In Poland, in the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, the airline flew over 3.6 million passengers. 

When we conducted a comprehensive study to determine the Top European Airlines, we found that Ryanair ranked very high for punctuality. In 2022, 85% of their flights arrived on time. This number was even better in 2023 at 87%.

Ryanair didn’t score as well for flight cancellations compared to other European airlines. In 2022, the airline had a cancellation rate of 0.72%. That year they operated over 850,000 flights, so although the percentage may seem small, that means that more than 6,000 flights were cancelled.

If you’ve had a Ryanair flight delay or cancellation, you can learn about the complaint procedures here.

Wizz Air

This Hungarian carrier also offers low-cost flights and accounted for 26.3% of the total Poland international passenger traffic in the last quarter of 2023. For the last 2 years (2022 and 2023), Wizz Air’s on-time track record has been one of the worst, hovering between 65 and 70%. Additionally, in 2022, Wizz Air cancelled 2.53% of flights. That means that up to 5,500 flights were cancelled in that year alone.

We also have info dedicated to Wizz Air complaints if you need to make a claim.

LOT Polish Airlines flight delays

LOT Polish Airlines

The third airline responsible for 16.9% of Poland's international air passengers is the national carrier, LOT Polish Airlines.

LOT’s on-time percentage is somewhere between Wizz Air and Ryanair. In 2022 it was 75.72% and in 2023 it was closer to 85%, a significant improvement. For cancellations, LOT scores the best, routinely cancelling fewer than 0.5% of flights.

If you want more details on LOT complaints, we have those, too.

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Flight Cancellation Compensation Poland: The Super Simple Steps

When you encounter either a delay or cancellation in Poland, your best bet is to use our experts to get what you deserve. Our 98% success rate and 92% recommendation rate speak for themselves, so why not start your risk-free claim with us today? Here’s what to do:

  1. Head to the AirAdvisor website for assistance from our airline compensation experts.
  2. Provide your flight and situation details in addition to a few personal details (like contact info).
  3. Submit any documents needed or info that you think is pertinent to your claim (photos, receipts, boarding passes, etc.)
  4. We’ll contact you once the claim is resolved and follow up with the airline as needed.

To cover the cost of our time, we will levy a small amount (percentage) off claims that receive airline compensation. On the off chance that we are not successful, you pay nothing.

Poland flight delay compensation

Flight Delay Compensation Poland - Time Limit

If you’re curious about how long you have to claim flight cancellation compensation (or EU flight delay compensation) in Poland, the answer is 1 year. Each country has specific guidelines on this, and Poland’s time limit isn’t as generous as some other countries.

To avoid having your time run out, it’s best to file your flight interruption claim as close to the actual disruption as possible. Otherwise, you may entirely forget about it or lose documents that are required to prove your claim.

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FAQs

How long do flight delays in Poland have to be to qualify for compensation?

Three hours. Anything less than this does not trigger EU regulation 261/2004, so no compensation is required from the airline.

Which Poland flights are eligible for flight disruption compensation?

All flights that depart from a Polish airport are eligible for both flight delay and flight cancellation compensation. This actually applies to all flights that leave from an EU airport. Additionally, if your flight arrives at an airport in Poland (or the EU) and you’re flying with an EU-based airline, your flight would also be eligible for compensation.

What are the maximum flight delay compensation amounts in Poland?

According to regulation EU261, compensation maximums are based on your flight distance. For example, if your flight covers less than 1,500km, your maximum compensation would be €250. For longer flights between 1,500km and 3,500km, passengers can get up to €400. The largest payout is reserved for flights over 3,500km and is a maximum of €600.

What is an extraordinary circumstance? How does it affect compensation?

Simply put, extraordinary circumstances are when the cause of a flight interruption can’t be attributed to the airline. These are things that are completely outside the airline’s control, including instances of severe weather, strikes with non-airline employees, such as air traffic control, and security threats. When your interruption is caused by extraordinary circumstances, the airline does not have to provide compensation.

Is there a time limit for flight delay claims in Poland?

Yes, and it’s only 1 year. So, make sure you file your claim before the 365-day deadline passes. If you don’t you’ll be out of luck.

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