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Delayed and Cancelled Flights from France: Compensation Options

Delayed and Cancelled Flights from France: Compensation Options

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

In 2023, flight delays from France occurred on 39% of flights, according to the Ministère de la Transition Écologique et de la Cohésion des Territoires. Additionally, the average delay time for the year was 18.5 minutes.

For January 2024, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris alone had over 200 flights cancelled from France. So, these types of interruptions definitely aren’t rare.

Although cancellation or delay compensation can’t make your flight magically be on time or “uncancelled,” it can help minimize the inconvenience of flight disruption. But figuring out the rules related to flight delay compensation in France can seem daunting. That’s why we’re here.

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The airline compensation experts at AirAdvisor have a ton of experience dealing with French airlines and travel interruption claims. We’ve helped more than 240,000 passengers get what they’re owed. We have challenged airlines to compensate passengers to the tune of more than €49 million since 2017.

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Important takeaways concerning flight delay from/to France compensation:

  • Airlines in France must adhere to the requirements in EU regulation EC 261.
  • To be eligible for a payout, the delay needs to be a minimum of 3 hours.
  • The amounts range from €250 to €600, depending on the flight’s distance.
  • Airlines are only required to compensate passengers if the delay reason is not due to extraordinary circumstances.
  • Passengers can claim within 5 years of the delay.
  • Partnering with AirAdvisor is the best way to ensure the maximum payout.

How Often Are There Flight Delays From France?

The short answer is that based on data from 2023, flight delays from France occur 39% of the time. But this figure only encompasses delays that are more than 15 minutes. To delve deeper into how many significant delays there are, we’ve gathered data on very late instances from the major airports in France. “Very late” is defined as 3 hours or more.

Flight Disruptions for January 2024

Airport

Paris CDG

Paris ORY

Nice NCE

Marseille MRS

Toulouse TLS

Total Flights

31,087

13,369

7,559

6,839

4,852

Cancellations

202

59

40

39

28

Delays

3,013

2,159

1,044

1,167

927

Very Late

62 (0.2%)

27 (0.2%)

22 (0.3%)

27 (0.4%)

19 (0.4%)

* Data sourced from frenchairportguide.com.

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While this is just a snippet of the total traffic in a year, this shows us that up to 157 flights just from these airports in a single month could qualify for flight delay compensation.

What About Flights Cancelled From France?

France is a country known for strikes and the airline industry can’t escape these types of protests. Many factors contribute to having your flights cancelled from France and using the chart above, 368 flights from France were cancelled in January 2024. Now that’s a lot of disrupted passengers!

Passengers who experience a flight cancellation with less than 14 days' notice are eligible for compensation between €250 and €600. Additionally, if you incur a long wait time in the airport for your cancelled flight, you are entitled to free meals and phone calls to rearrange your plans.

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Flight Delay Compensation - EU Rules

To keep things simple, we’ll focus on the one regulation you need to know about. That’s regulation EU 261, also called EC 261/2004. The flight delay compensation EU rules are also similar to those in the UK, under regulation UK 261.

Notable EU261 Conditions

Much to the dismay of passengers, this regulation won’t apply to every delayed flight. Here are the conditions that must be met to qualify:

  1. A flight must be delayed by at least 3 hours upon arrival at your destination.
  2. Aside from the time requirement, different amounts are issued based on flight distance.
  3. If you travel using a French or other EU-based airline, your flight just needs to either depart from, arrive at, or be entirely within the European Union. For non-EU airlines, only flights that leave EU airports are eligible.

People waiting for a delayed flight - France, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris

Amounts of Flight Delay Compensation - France

To determine where in the range of €250 to €600 your compensation will be, we need to examine the flight distance. So, provided the above conditions are met (3-hour+ delay, departing/leaving an EU airport), here’s the maximum amount you can expect:



Delay at Destination

Flight Distance

EU flights under 1,500 km

EU flights of more than 1,500 km

Non-internal EU flights from 1,500 km to 3,500 km

Non-internal EU flights more than 3,500 km

Less than 3 hours

€0

3 hours or more

€250

€400

€400

€600*

* Airlines may try to reduce this amount by 50% for shorter delays, but we always fight for the maximum.

What Flights Are Covered?

It’s often useful to put all the information we’ve thrown at you into more practical examples. Let’s review some common flights and the expected payouts. And don’t forget that if you’re ever in doubt as to whether or not your flight qualifies for flight delay compensation in France, you’ll get an answer from our free flight checker almost instantly.

Paris Charles de Gaulle to New York JFK

A flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK Airport is the most common long-haul route from France. The approximate flight distance is 5,800km. Let’s say that when you arrive at JFK, you’re 4 hours late. Based on distance, the fact that the route left an EU airport, and the delay length, you would likely qualify for the maximum of €600. 

On the flip side, if we reverse the flight using the same delay parameters, passengers would only qualify if their carrier was EU-based. If you booked with Air France, you may still be entitled to the €600. If you booked with a non-EU airline like Emirates, you likely wouldn’t qualify at all.

Nice Cote d’Azur to Paris CDG

Another popular flight, domestic this time, runs to and from Nice Cote d’Azur Airport and Paris CDG. Since this route is entirely within the EU, the airline doesn’t matter, but a delay of anything under 3 hours gets you €0. Anything 3 hours or greater can result in a payment of €250 because the flight distance is roughly 690km.

Ticket for a flight to Marrakesh

Marseille Provence to Marrakesh Menara

This route covers a distance of just over 1,600km, and when you leave Marseille and arrive at least 3 hours late in Marrakesh, you should be entitled to €400 for your troubles. When you make the return journey from Marrakesh to Marseille, the airline matters. 

If you’re using EU carriers like Ryanair or Transavia, the same maximum will apply. Alternatively, if you fly a non-EU airline, the airline is not obligated to pay compensation for delayed flight instances.

Orlando International to Los Angeles LAX

Lastly, we’ll discuss a flight that’s not at all in the EU. As you can probably guess, there are no instances, regardless of delay time or airline, where regulation EU 261 will apply on flights between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). You’ll need to look at the regulations in the US instead.

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Extraordinary Circumstances For Flight Delay Compensation France

There’s always a catch, right? In the case of the flight delay compensation EU rules, that catch is definitely something called extraordinary circumstances. To cut to the chase, if an interruption is caused by something outside the airline’s control, they are not required by EU261 to issue compensation.

Unfortunately, airlines can often use this as a free pass to save money, so you need to make sure you find out the delay reason as soon as you land late. Then, you can hold them accountable.

Here are a few examples of extraordinary circumstances:

  • Political or civil unrest.
  • Terrorism or other security risks.
  • Sabotage.
  • Aircraft manufacturer defects.
  • Extremely bad weather, like severe fog, hurricanes, and lightning.
  • Staffing issues with support personnel, such as luggage handlers and air traffic controllers.

That may sound like you’ll never qualify for any type of remuneration, but that’s not true. The following are causes that are within an airline’s control and, therefore, not valid to excuse compensation.

  • Strikes or staffing issues with airline employees.
  • Aircraft technical issues, not including defects.
  • An aircraft that is delayed due to poor weather on a previous flight.

Central office for Air France

Flight Delay Compensation France - The Major Airlines

Air France

When we look at flight passengers, Air France is by far the most popular airline in the country. Based on information gathered for our compilation of the best European airlines and information from OAG, we know that Air France offers around 275,000 flights every year and transports tens of millions of passengers.

Of these flights, in 2022, 73% of Air France flights arrived on time. In 2023, that number was closer to 67%. This means up to 30% of Air France flights have the potential to make a claim (although, obviously, not every flight will be delayed by 3 hours or more or fit the other parameters).

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If your flight falls within that 30% and you want to claim compensation for a 3-hour+ delay, you can submit everything on the Air France website or review our claim recommendations here

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French Bee

French Bee doesn’t see anywhere the same numbers as Air France, but with a base at Paris Orly Airport, the carrier flies to exotic destinations like the Dominican Republic, the French overseas island of Réunion, French Polynesia, and the US. 

When you need to make a French Bee complaint about flight delays, many of their routes will qualify as long as they leave or arrive in France. The easiest way to file a claim with this company is by partnering with us, but you can also find claim forms on their website.

View of Corsica from a plane

Air Corsica

Catering to European destinations and connecting Corsica with the mainland, Air Corsica’s flights will pretty much always qualify, provided the delay meets the 3-hour threshold. Their available flights are exclusively within Central and Western Europe, so you’ll definitely be taking off and landing from an EU airport.

To submit a claim, you need to go through a somewhat arduous process on their website and log in to a customer service portal. Alternatively, we can help make the Air Corsica flight delay compensation process super simple.

Flight Interruptions - A Few Tips

To avoid submitting an unnecessary claim that will likely be denied by the airline, make sure that:

  • Your flight delay was at least 3 hours.
  • The delay wasn’t caused by extraordinary circumstances.
  • Your flight route qualifies based on airline and departure/arrival airports.
  • You have all the necessary documentation. It’s best to keep everything related to the incident itself and the flight.

Delayed Flight Compensation Claims in France - 4 Easy Steps

With a 98% success rate and 92% of clients saying they would recommend us, the fastest and easiest way to claim passenger compensation for delayed flights involves partnering with AirAdvisor. 

With our experience, we always know exactly what to do, and we know when airlines are trying to avoid parting with their money. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to what to do:

  1. Go to the AirAdvisor homepage to start the process with our airline compensation experts.
  2. Complete just a few details about your flight and situation.
  3. Submit your supporting documents and any other information you think is pertinent.
  4. AirAdvisor will file and follow up on your claim from here.

For our time, we do require a small fee, which is a percentage of successful claims. In rare cases when we can’t get airline compensation for you, there’s no charge for our services.

Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris

The Time Limit for Flight Delay Compensation in France

In France, passengers have 5 years from the flight delay to file their claim. But it’s best not to wait too long. If you put it off, you can easily misplace the necessary supporting documents or forget important details. A good rule of thumb is to submit everything once you return home.

You may be wondering how long it will take the airline to respond to your claim. That depends, but they generally reply within 30 days.

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FAQs


How much can I claim in flight delay compensation in France?

Depending on the distance of your flight (and a couple of other parameters), passengers can claim up to €600. Generally speaking, flights under 1500km have a maximum of €250 per passenger. Flights between 1500km and 3500km have a maximum of €400 per passenger, and flights above 3500km can trigger compensation up to €600.

How long does a delay need to be to qualify for airline compensation?

At least 3 hours. If your delay is less than that, EU 261 will not apply, and the airline won’t be required to issue a payout.

What flights qualify for flight delay compensation in France?

If you’re using an EU-based carrier like Air France, your flight just needs to arrive at or depart from an EU airport. For non-EU carriers, the relevant regulation, EU261, only applies if you depart from an EU airport, not if you only arrive at one. Internal EU flights are eligible regardless of the carrier.

Is there a time limit to file a delayed flight complaint?

Yes, but it’s quite generous. You have up to 5 years from the delay date to claim your rights under regulation EU261/2004. 

Can my kids get delayed flight compensation?

Provided that your kids have a ticket and, therefore, their own seat, they are considered eligible to claim. The amount is the same as adults, which ranges between €250 and €600.

What are extraordinary circumstances?

France flight delay compensation is only awarded if the delay is caused by something within the airline’s control. Extraordinary circumstances are things outside their control, like severe weather and strikes by air traffic control, and don’t require remuneration, according to EU261/2004.


Sources:

https://www.ecologie.gouv.fr

https://www.frenchairportguide.com

https://www.directflights.com

https://www.timeout.com

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