Flight Delay Compensation: Claim up to 600€ under EU law

For flight delays of more than 3 hours you may have the right to compensation up to 600€, provided that you departed from EU airport, or landed at EU airport with EU-registered airline.

Check for free the amount to claim from the airlines in just 2 minutes.

EU Flight Delay Compensation Rights

Under EU 261 rule, you may have the right to compensation up to 600€ for flight delays

If your flight was delayed for more than 3 hours you are entitled to compensation up to 600€ (or £530) under EC Regulation 261/2004.

Provided that the flight was delayed due to airlines’ fault. And, it was either departed from EU airport or arrived at an EU airport with an EU regulated airline.

With our free delayed flight compensation calculator, you can check for free the amount to ask. The amount varies depending on the route distance and length of delay.

We understand that plane delays are frustrating. But our step-by-step guide can help you to get the reimbursement fast.

If you don’t want to read the whole thing, use the links in the left side to jump straight to a topic.

Note: In UK, you can claim for flights delayed back up to 6 years.

When filing delayed flight claim keep the following in mind:

  • Have the document of planned departure and arrival time
  • Note the exact arrival time, i.e., when the aircraft doors were opened after landing
  • Check-in on time (2 hours before the scheduled departure time so that the airline cannot prove that you were absent)
  • Stay at the airport and carefully listen to the announcements
  • Try to collect additional evidence (e.g. take photos of the departure/arrival board)
  • Ask airline customer services for the reason behind the disruption
  • Find out exactly “Why was your flight delayed?”
  • Exchange contact info with co-passengers who can act as witnesses if necessary
  • Keep your boarding pass and other travel documents with you

When are you eligible for EU flight delay compensation?

You need to meet the following conditions to be eligible for compensation under the EU Law:

  1. Flight should have been delayed for more than 3 hours on arrival.
  2. You must have travelled within the EU Member States, or you should have been departed from an EU airport.
  3. The claim is valid even if the departure was from a Non-EU airport. Provided that it lands at an EU airport with an EU-registered airline.
  4. It is valid for flights’ back up to 6 years in the United Kingdom.
  5. EU law is even valid for Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, although these countries are outside of the European Union.
  6. For Germany, the claim eligibility extends back up to 3 years. Spain, Italy, France, and the other EU Member States, allow claims back up to 2 years. However, in Poland, it is only valid up to one year.

Note: Even after Brexit, the EU Law still applies in the UK, until it completely leaves the EU. We will keep you updated on it.

Is EU 261 Rule applicable to air passengers outside of EU?

Yes, EU261 rule holds even outside of the EU. If you had departed from any airport in the EU or arrived into the EU Member States with an EU registered airline, the rule covers it.

To summarize:

Origin and Destination EU Airline Non-EU Airline
From Inside EU To Inside EU
From Inside EU To Outside EU
From Outside EU To Inside EU
From Outside EU To Outside EU


  • EU to non-EU: British Airways flight from London (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX) delayed for 3 or more hours makes you eligible for compensation.
  • Within EU: Even the EasyJet Airlines will be liable to reimburse you for a delayed flight from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to Malaga (AGP).
  • Outside of EU: Passengers CANNOT claim for a delay with Ryanair if travelling from Tel Aviv Yafo (TLV) to Agadir (AGA), as both the airports were outside of EU.

Knowing your rights can make a huge difference. You will know exactly what to expect at airports. Frankly, if you sound like someone who knows their rights, the airline crew will pay special attention. No one likes to get in trouble with the law.

How much amount can you claim for flight delays?

The amount of compensation depends on the distance of your flight and length of the delay. The following table shows the reimbursement amount that you are eligible to claim under the EU Regulation 261/2004:

Arrival Delay Distance Flight Delay Claim
Up to 2 hours – 59 minutes All None
3 hours or more* <= 1,500 km 250€
1,500 – 3,500 km 400€
> = 3,500 km 600€

* If you take off from Europe and face a delay outside, you may claim up to 600€.

Explained with examples:

  1. If the delay was of more than 3 hours and the route distance was less than 1500 km (e.g. London to Madrid), you can request money back up to 250 Euros.
  2. For delays over 3 hours and route distance between 1501 km and 3500 km. (e.g. Paris to Istanbul), you can demand reimbursement of up to 400 Euros.
  3. And for 3 hours delay where route distance was more than 3500 km (e.g. Frankfurt to Beijing), you can ask for compensation up to 600 Euros.

You can measure the distance of your route with great circle mapper tool. Simply enter the names or IATA code of departure and arrival airports. To calculate the receivable compensation from the airline, use our free compensation calculator.

The calculation of the delay takes place from the so-called “WOG (Wheel off Ground)” to the door opening (from liftoff to when the airline crew opens the door after landing). The airlines may try to interpret this scheme in their favour.

EU Air Passenger Rights

According to EU 261 Rule, passengers are entitled to compensation of up to 600€ for longer flight delays, cancellations and denied boarding due to overbooking.

Airlines are not liable to compensate for the inconvenience caused due to exceptional circumstances (like the strike, bad weather, etc.). Which is fair.

There are different kinds of delays. There are short ones that cause some frustration. Then there are really long ones that cause agitation. The law tries to treat passengers according to the length of delay.

If the delay is of more than 2 hours, airlines should provide free meals, refreshments, two phone calls and access to emails or fax.

Hotel accommodation and transport facility (between airport and hotel) should be the airline’s responsibility during an overnight delay.

If the airlines do not provide these services, ask them. It’s your right, as long as you have a valid ticket. Hotel, travel, and meals are not cheap. Under EU law, the airlines should pay for these, not you.

Here is how this works. The airline should give you vouchers for food, hotel, etc. If they don’t, go ahead and ask someone who works for the airline.

If they still don’t help you, get creative. Pay the bills but keep the receipts. Then show these when filing the claim. But be reasonable with expenses.

Airlines are not obligated to pay for fancy things. If you handover receipts for alcohol, luxury hotels or expensive meals, you won’t get back any money.

Here is great news. Even for bad weather conditions if the other airlines were operational, you still may have the right to these services. Now you know why it pays to know your rights.

European air passengers also have travel rights under the Montreal Convention and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

What to do if your airline delays flight?

When the delay exceeds 3 hours, you can claim money back up to 600 Euros. It’s even valid for connecting flights if booked under the same leg. Before filing the claim make sure that the airline cannot prove it was due to extraordinary circumstances.

Look at it this way, it is you versus the airline. They would prefer not to compensate you. But their delay messed up your plans. So, think of it as building a court case. The airline needs to be ‘found guilty’. Ok, enough of court language.

You get the point. The airline will reject the claim in extraordinary circumstances. So, make sure that the airline was responsible. In most cases, it is not that difficult to establish.

Plane delayed for more than 5 hours

For delays of more than 5 hours, you should get free meals, drinks, two phone calls and access to emails. In addition, you should be re-routed to the earliest available flight. Alternatively, you can ask for a refund of the ticket cost if you are not willing to travel.

You may also be eligible for compensation if you travelled with the scheduled or replacement flight but arrived 3 hours late.

We just mentioned that airlines are reluctant in returning your money. So, you need to be a little clever to get it.

And there are some easy ways to do that. Have confirmation of the delay in writing. If possible, collect evidence for your claim.

Compensation for Holiday Packages

Do airlines have to compensate for delayed flights on package holidays?

European Union Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 provides protection for tour packages, travel packages, vacation packages, and holiday packages. Your travel destination can be anywhere in the world. But the package must be purchased within the EU member states.

Your travel itinerary should clearly state the original and final destinations, route and transport facility. Before the trip, the tour operator should inform you about the time, the location of any stopovers and flight connections.

The tour operator is responsible solely for any breach of terms and conditions. Airlines might amend the price if they have mentioned it in their terms.

The tour organizer shall file the claim on passenger’s behalf for travel delays. Your tour organizer should ask for reimbursement and you should get the full refund of ticket cost within 7 days. Repayment can be in cash, check or electronic bank transfer.

Another form of reimbursement would be to re-route you to your final destination. The airline should arrange the earliest available flight for you. Alternatively, you can choose as per your convenience, or according to your travel plans.

Business Traveler’s Rights

Recent European court ruling confirms that only the passenger who travelled can claim compensation, not the one who paid for the ticket.

Counting business trips under working hours will affect your compensation. Reimbursement for flight delay or cancellation during working hours mostly goes to the employer. And during private and unpaid hours compensation goes to the passenger.

Can you claim for delays due to Extraordinary Circumstances?

Extraordinary circumstances are the conditions – beyond the control of airlines – that cause flight disruption, despite taking reasonable preventive measures.

Some examples of exceptional circumstances are:

  1. Earthquake, volcanic eruption, extremely bad weather, Tsunami, etc.
  2. Crew member’s strike causing all the airplanes with other airlines to fly late.
  3. Unseen technical problems, like a bird hitting the plane engine.
  4. The destined country is into political unrest.

‘Extraordinary circumstances’ are considered ‘Acts of God’, which absolve the airlines from paying monetary compensation. However, you may still claim if other airlines were able to operate under the same conditions.

Strike Acts Of God Technical Problem
Extraordinary Circumstances (you cannot claim compensation). A strike is considered as an exceptional circumstance which cannot be avoided and thus you cannot claim. Volcanic eruption, Tsunami, Hurricane and Hailstones are ‘Acts of God ‘; you are not eligible for compensation. Fall under exceptional circumstances if the airline could not have avoided the technical problem.
Not an Extraordinary Circumstance (you can claim compensation). You might get compensation if the delay or cancellation was avoidable and other airlines were able to fly during the strike. You are eligible to claim if the airline could have prevented it, for example, by cleaning the runway correctly. It is not an exceptional circumstance if was preventable. For example, by catching birds on the runway, or keeping spare parts.

How to claim compensation for a delayed flight?

With ClaimFlights, it is very simple. Enter flight information, i.e. flight number and date, into our free compensation calculator. Then, enter the reason behind delay or cancellation in our online compensation checker tool.

Within 2 minutes you will find the amount that you can ask from the airline. You can also Do It Yourself (DIY) using our free claim letter template.

If the airlines don’t respond to template letters, we are always here to fight for your rights.

Flight Delay Compensation Calculator

We offer free of charge “compensation calculator”. In just 2 minutes, you can check for free the amount that you can demand. It is easy to use and quite handy.

Just open our compensation calculator and find out how much does the airline owe you. You can do this in a couple of minutes.

Knowing that you will get money for putting up with the delay will ease your frustration. At least a little.

Why Choose “ClaimFlights”?

ClaimFlights follows “No Win No Fee” policy. You do not pay any fee for using our service until we ‘win’ the compensation. Our team of experts knows how to get the airlines’ attention when they ignore passengers’ claims.

Simply provide us with your flight details and let us claim on your behalf. We charge less than other claim companies. Our customers are not just satisfied but thrilled to claim with us. We have a proven track record; 95% who claim with us, win compensation.

You only pay 25% of the compensation plus VAT, which is much less than the other claim companies. While processing claims, we send you regular updates of your case. Transparency is key! Compare the prices between Airhelp, Fairplane, Botton Online and Claim4Flights.

Claim Flights 3 Steps Claiming Process:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Enter your flight details Let us work Get Paid
Enter the flight number and date to check your case for free. Our claim experts will research your case with the help of our comprehensive database and begin the process. We send compensation (minus our commission + VAT) directly to your bank account.
It only takes 2 minutes to enter all the desired information and to sign the digital contract. We bring your claim through. On request, we will send you a digital .pdf invoice.

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