Am I eligible?
The following are the 3 main reasons you will be able to claim compensation:
1. A flight disruption occurs
A flight disruption is experienced when an unusual occurrence happens to your flight, resulting in it arriving late to its destination or, in some cases, not at all. A flight that is delayed and lands 3 hours over its intended arrival time will be compensated for, as will a flight that is cancelled.
A flight disruption also covers the eventuality that you are unable to board the plane through no fault of your own. In order to ensure they maximise sales, airlines often overbook planes to account for the probability of no-show passengers. When more than the predicted numbers of people arrive to board, the flight can become overbooked and the excess passengers may be denied boarding. This disruption is also compensated.
2. The flight was travelling from the EU or was with an EU Airline
You can apply for compensation in regards to the EC 261 EU law if your disrupted flight was travelling from the European Union, or if you were travelling on an airplane that is operated by an airline headquartered in the EU.
3. The airline was at fault for the flight disruption
You are only entitled to compensation for a disrupted flight if the airline is responsible. There are 3 common areas where this may occur:
• Operational issues such as the airline company making crew-planning errors
• Technical malfunctions to the airplane causing disruptions that are not a manufacturing default
• Staff strikes - known as a 'wildcat strike'. If staff place themselves on leave due to a decision made by the airline eg. low pay, then this a fault of the airline and they have to pay the compensation.
Which flights are covered?
Any flights that left the UK, the European Union, Iceland, Switzerland or Norway.
You are covered by EU law if your flight started outside of the EU but landed in the UK, EU, Switzerland or Norway, provided you flew on an EU Airline.
When will compensation claims be refused?
The delay must be the airline's fault.
You will likely not receive anything if the delay was outside of the airline’s control. Airlines are allowed to refuse compensation payments for what is described as “extraordinary circumstances”. These include:
• Sabotage or terrorism
• Industrial actions by workers such as baggage handlers and air traffic controllers that are not employed by the airline
• Civil or political unrest
• Extreme weather
There are several cases that are not classified as “extraordinary circumstances”. These include:
• Late arrivals of the pilot or crew
• Airlines international staff strikes
• Technical aircraft problems, excluding hidden manufacturing defects
What about non-EU flights?
In order to claim compensation under the EU Regulation, you have to either depart from the EU or travel with an EU airline. In the case that your flight is disrupted outside of the EU with a non-EU airline, the carrier still has to fulfil their agreement with regards to your arrival time and destination. We would advise you to put in a formal complaint with the airline and in most cases, the carrier will offer a goodwill gesture. However, they are not legally obliged to do so therefore, we could not pursue your claim with no rights to serve against the airline.
What compensation is paid, for taking replacement flights?
If you have to wait for a replacement flight, depending on the length of the delay, the airline must pay for refreshments, phone calls or emails, and accommodation (including hotel transport) if delayed overnight. The airline can provide refreshments in the form of vouchers.
The qualifying length of delay for replacement flights depends on the flight distance. If it is less than 1,500km, the qualifying delay is 2 hours, whereas if it’s over 1,500km and for flights within the EU, this increases to 3 hours. For flights between 1,500km and 3,500km between EU and non-EU countries, the delay is 3 hours, and for flights over 3,500km between EU and non-EU countries, it’s 4 hours.
If the airline does not provide accommodation and meals immediately, make sure you keep your receipts so you can claim for these expenses later.
You can also claim for compensation for the inconvenience that taking a replacement flight causes. This ranges from €125 to €600 depending on the distance of the flight and the time difference between the replacement flight and the flight that was cancelled. You are entitled to compensation for flights that depart at least 1 hour earlier than the original flight or arrive at least 2 hours later than the booked flight. You can claim between €125 and €600 depending on the flight distance and when the replacement flight lands compared to the booked flight arrival time.
Some travel insurance policies cover delays caused by taking a replacement flight. In these cases, claim from the insurer. Otherwise, contact the airline.
How does it work?
Below are the three simple steps to working with us:
1. Submit the details of your claim to us. By doing this you will get a good idea of whether you are entitled to compensation and just how much that might be.
2. Our specialist team will then thoroughly check your entitlement, working closely with the involved authorities and contacting the airlines on your behalf.
3. After your case is won and we receive your payment of compensation, we will transfer it directly to you with the fee for our services subtracted. If we do not win compensation for your claim, you will not pay anything.
What are my rights?
The EC Regulation 261/2004 states passengers suffering a delay are entitled to accommodation, refreshments and food depending on the details of your flight and its disruption. Passengers also have the right to 2 telephone calls, emails or faxes. Should it be required, an overnight stay in a hotel must be provided by the airline, as well as transportation to and from the airport.
If a flight delay is longer than 5 hours, passengers are entitled to a partial or full refund and a return flight back to the origin of your departure if required.
Should you be offered a different flight and benefit from a ticket upgrade, the airline is not allowed to charge you for this. However, should your ticket be downgraded on the alternate flight, you can be reimbursed for a percentage of the original price you paid.
Flight compensation and cash vouchers
Always check that any travel vouchers offered by the airline don’t waive your rights to put in a flight delay claim before you accept them. The EC Regulation 261/2004 states that compensation must be paid by either by electronic transfer, cheques or cash unless the passenger specifically chooses a travel voucher for an alternative flight instead.
What are the compensation rates for delayed flights?
The standard compensation rates for delayed flights are as follows:
• Flights up to 1,500km delayed for 3 hours or more: €250
• Flights between 1,500km and 3,500km delayed for 3 hours or more: €400
• Flights over 1,500 km between 2 EU member nations delayed for more than 3 hours: €400
• Flights between EU and non-EU airports, over 3,500km, delayed between 3 to 4 hours: €300
• Flights over 3,500km delayed for 4 hours or more between EU and non-EU airports: €600
All these amounts are fixed and are not dependent on the cost of the ticket. If air miles and other discounts were applied to the ticket or passengers, including infants who paid a small admin fee to fly, the full compensation is still payable. Compensation is there for the time and inconvenience caused by delayed flights.
If the flight is delayed for 5 hours or more, you don't have to take the delayed flight. If you choose not to fly, you are entitled to a full refund of the flight ticket, including any onward flight tickets for the same journey. If you are part way through your flight journey, you can claim for the cost of a flight back to the airport you started the journey from.