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Delayed Flight Compensation Deadlines: When to File Claims for Flight Disruptions

Delayed Flight Compensation Deadlines: When to File Claims for Flight Disruptions

Anton Radchenko
Reviewed by a licensed lawyer.
Last Updated: May 13, 2024

Did you know that 42% of air passengers who are eligible for airline flight compensation don’t file a claim?! Don’t leave money on the table!.

If you’ve had a flight disruption, you could be eligible for up to €600 (£510) in compensation. But there’s a catch! To receive flight compensation your claim must be submitted within certain time frames specific to each country. So, if you’re worried about missing a deadline, keep reading, because we’re going to give you all the info you need to navigate this part of the claims process.

Would you love to have someone take care of the claims process for you? AirAdvisor’s legal team has been winning compensation claims since 2017, and we can help you get what’s rightfully yours! Just enter your flight details to see if you’re eligible for compensation.

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Key Points

  1. For many countries, the flight compensation time limit is 3 years or more.
  2. It’s important not to wait until the last minute to file a delayed flight compensation claim. The sooner you submit your claim, the better.
  3. In the European Union, the claim deadlines are determined by the laws of each country that we outlined in the table.
  4. In the UK and Ireland, passengers have up to 6 years.
  5. For countries outside the EU, UK, US, and Canada, passengers have up to 2 years to lodge a compensation complaint.

How Long Can You Wait to Submit Delayed Flight Compensation Claims

- When can I file my flight compensation claim?

- How much time do I have to submit an airline compensation complaint?

- How far back can I make a complaint to the airline?

All three questions are asking about the statute of limitations. In other words, to receive compensation for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights, passengers must lodge their complaint to the airline within a certain time frame called the statute of limitations or prescriptive period. This time period is at least a year in most countries, but it varies quite a bit.

Why is this important? It’s important because if you submit your delayed flight compensation claim to the airline outside their statute of limitations, then your claim will be denied.

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Also, it’s important to note that the statute of limitations is set by the country where an airline is based and not by airlines individually. So, for instance, if your delayed or cancelled flight was with British Airways, then the time limit for filing your compensation claim will be set by UK laws.

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Disrupted flight? You might have a right to compensation - up to £520 (€600).

Understanding Your Passenger Rights

Let’s outline a few important points about your air passenger rights. Contrary to what many people believe, your rights are not based on your citizenship but on the airline and the country where you are travelling.

EU and UK Regulations

EU and UK Regulations

If you are departing from an EU or UK airport or if you are arriving on an EU or UK airline, then your rights are protected by EU 261 and UK 261. These regulations mirror one another and state that passengers may be entitled up to €600 (£520) in compensation for flight disruptions including:

Canada Regulations

Canada Regulations

In Canada, your air passenger rights are protected by the Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) that require airlines to pay passengers up to CAD $1,000 in compensation for delayed and cancelled flights as well as denied boarding. Passengers arriving in or departing from Canada or flying on a Canadian airline are all protected by these regulations.

United States Regulations

United States Regulations

The Department of Transportation protects air passengers in the United States. Unfortunately, the US does not have any federal regulations requiring airlines to compensate passengers for delayed or cancelled flights. Instead, airlines make their own rules. Most will provide an alternate flight in the case of cancellations and care options for delayed passengers.

When it comes to denied boarding because of overbooking, then you could receive up to USD $1,350 in compensation.

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If you are on a US airline travelling to Canada or departing from the EU, then you will be protected by each region’s regulations.

Other Regions

If you’re flying to a region outside the EU, UK, US, or Canada, then your rights are most likely protected by the Montreal Convention. This international treaty was signed by 135 countries and will protect you in the case of delayed and cancelled flights as well as baggage mishandling.

But this treaty, unlike the regulations in the EU, UK, and Canada, deals with flight disruption on an individual basis, so it’s difficult to determine the exact amount that you’d be awarded in compensation.

Worldwide Limitations for Submitting Flight Compensation Claims

Statute of Limitations for Submitting Flight Compensation Claims

The length of time you have to submit a compensation claim for delayed, cancelled, or denied boarding varies from country to country.

In the UK and Ireland, passengers have up to 6 years from the date of the disrupted flight to make a claim against the airline.

In Canada, passengers have (1) year from the date of the flight delay or flight cancellation to submit a compensation claim to the airline.

The US Department of Transportation states that if you were denied boarding in the United States, then the airline must compensate you within 24 hours of the denied boarding incident.

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For countries outside the EU, UK, US, and Canada, the statute of limitations for filing delayed or cancelled flight compensation claims is set by the Montreal Convention. Under the rules of this treaty, passengers have up to 2 years to lodge a complaint.

In the European Union, the claim deadlines are determined by the laws of each country.

Time Limits for Submitting Flight Compensation Claims by Country

Country

Time Limit (from time of flight disruption)

Austria

3 years

Belgium

1 year

Bulgaria

3 years

Canada

1 year

Croatia

2 years

Cyprus (Republic of)

6 years

Czech Republic

3 years (You must inform the airline within 6 months of the flight disruption)

Denmark

3 years

England

6 years

Estonia

5 years

Finland

3 years

France

5 years

Germany

3 years (The time limit is on the last day of the 3rd year. For example, the flight was disrupted on Oct 1, 2021, so you have until Dec 31, 2024 to file a claim.)

Greece

5 years

Hungary

5 years

Iceland

4 years

Ireland

6 years

Italy

2 years and 2 months

Latvia

2 years (but a claim must be lodged with the airline by 6 months of disrupted flight)

Lithuania

10 years

Luxembourg

10 years

Malta

2 years

Netherlands

2 years

Norway

3 years

Poland

1 year

Portugal

3 years

Romania

5 years for legal action (6 months to file claim)

Scotland

5 years

Slovakia

2 years

Slovenia

2 years

Spain

5 years

Sweden

10 years

Switzerland

2 years

Where Should Flight Compensation Claims Be Submitted

If you decide to pursue a compensation claim for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights, then you should submit your claim in the country of arrival or departure. Since you have a choice, it could be more advantageous to choose the country with the more generous statute of limitations.

As an example, if you’re pursuing flight delay compensation and the flight in question departed from Romania and arrived in Portugal, you might want to file your delayed flight compensation claim in Romania since they give you more time to submit your claim.

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As a rule, it is best not to wait for a year or more to file your delayed flight compensation claim. The longer you wait, the more difficult the claims process can be because details and other information tend to be more difficult to find as time passes.

Still, legally speaking, you do have a right to file a claim within the statute of limitations for the country of arrival and departure, even if that means submitting it at the last minute. If the process feels intimidating, you can let AirAdvisor’s team of legal experts navigate the claims process for you. It’s easy to get started! All you have to do is enter your flight details into our compensation calculator.

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How to Make a Delayed Flight Compensation Claim

If you want to pursue a flight compensation claim by yourself then remember that each country will have its own rules on when to submit airline compensation claims. But here’s a general idea of what you’ll need to do.

First, you’ll have to contact the airline that operated your delayed flight. This means that if you booked through a travel website like Travelocity, then you would still contact the airline for the compensation claim and not the website. Also, if you booked a flight through one airline’s site but another airline operated the flight, then your claim would be submitted to the airline that operated the flight.

It’s important that when you send your flight compensation claim, that you do this in the way the airline recommends. You can usually find this information on the airline’s site. Just search the site for claims or look in the contract of carriage.

Next, you should send the carrier a letter or email (depending on what they recommend). Your written statement should include information about what happened that is causing you to file a compensation claim along with basic information about your flight and any supporting documents you want to add.

Once you’ve sent the airline your claim, expect to wait several weeks for a decision. It’s not uncommon for airlines to drag their feet in responding and, in many cases, passengers have to escalate their complaint.

For this reason, it’s easier and less complicated to let legal professionals like AirAdvisor file the claim for you. Not only will we file your delayed flight claim, but we’ll also represent you in court should it come to that. Best of all, we only get paid when your case wins, so there is no risk involved when you use AirAdvisor. Want to see how much compensation you could be eligible to receive? Check your flight below!

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What If You Miss the Time Frame to File a Claim?

Because the time frame to file flight compensation claims is fairly generous, if you try to file later than the time limit, your claim for flight delays and cancellations will most likely be denied. Keep in mind that your right to compensation doesn’t mean that airlines will simply send you payment.

Submitting claims is a legal process like any other. You have to prove your case and the airline will try their best to prove that you are wrong. So, if you miss the filing deadline, then you are only giving the airline more reasons not to provide you with compensation. Bottom line, submit your flight claim as soon as possible, and do your best not to miss the deadline.

People Also Asked

How far back can I make a claim for a cancelled flight in the UK?

If your disrupted flight was in the UK, but not Scotland, you have 6 years to file your claim. The statute of limitations is only 5 years in Scotland.

How much time do I have to make a missed connection claim in the EU?

You can claim for missed connection compensation in the EU, but the statute of limitations is determined by each country’s laws.

How do I know if I’m eligible for flight compensation from an airline?

There are many factors that go into determining your flight eligibility. One fast and easy way to do this is by entering your flight details into AirAdvisor’s compensation calculator.

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