What is a flight compensation claim?
As part of EU Regulation 261/2004 airlines have to pay passengers financial compensation when they experience long delays, cancellations, or denied boarding. Airlines don’t automatically pay out this compensation, so passengers have to make a claim and may have to go to court to recover the money.
How much compensation can I claim for flight delays?
If you have experienced a long flight delay, denied boarding or had a flight cancelled , then you could be entitled to compensation of between 125 Euros up to 600 Euros per person for the inconvenience and loss of time suffered.
The amounts depend on the distance travelled, the length of the delay, or in a cancellation the timings of replacement flights.
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The compensation does not relate to the cost of the ticket as it is designed to compensate for your time and inconvenience rather than the ticket price. Our guide on how much you can claim goes into more detail on the amounts you may be able to claim.
How do I know if I have a valid claim?
Regulation 261 covers any flight departing from the EU, regardless of which airline it is with. It also covers flights arriving into the EU on European airlines.
If your flight meets the above criteria, then you may be able to claim. There are a number of other factors that can affect your entitlement to compensation and how much you could receive. These include:
- Length of the delay
- Distance travelled
- Cause of delay or cancellation
- Airline travelled with
- How far back the flight was
The quickest and simplest way to check if you have a valid delay claim is to put your flight number and date of travel into our free flight claim checker for an instant decision on your eligibility.
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What our clients say
“Wonderful service, we managed to get our flight compensation in a relative short time! We’ve been updated almost weekly with the status of our complaint.”
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What’s the time limit on making a flight delay claim?
Flight compensation claims can be made within the limitation period of the country where the claim is being made. This means passengers in England and Wales have up to six years from the date of the flight to make a flight compensation claim as that is the limitation period for this type of claim.
If you issue court proceedings, then the limitation ‘clock’ is stopped until the claim is resolved. Therefore, if your flight delay was close to six years ago, it would be advisable to issue court proceedings immediately, rather than risk the airline ignoring you until the limitation period is complete.
Once you pass the limitation period the claim is no longer possible to be enforced in the court system and there would be no legal way to make the airline pay out.
Can I claim for family members who were on the same flight?
You can add as many passengers as you like to your claim as long as they have given you permission to register their claims on their behalf.
Each passenger over 18 will have to sign our terms and conditions. We will pay passengers individually unless we have written authority from them to make the payment to someone else.
Can I claim on behalf of the other members of my group?
As long as you have permission from other members of the group then there is no limit to how many people you claim for.
However, each individual client on the claim must sign our terms and conditions and we will pay compensation to individual passengers, unless we have written authority from them to do otherwise.
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Can I claim on behalf of a child?
Children are also entitled to compensation for the inconvenience of being delayed. Anyone under the age of 18 will need someone to claim on their behalf – this is known as a litigation friend.
The litigation friend is usually a parent, but they don’t need to have also been on the delayed flight.
Children are entitled to the full compensation, even if they paid a reduced ticket price.
Can I claim flight delay compensation for a child under 2?
Infants and babies are eligible for flight delay compensation as long as you paid something for their ticket.
Even if the child didn’t have their own seat, as long you only paid even a small amount for their ticket or paid an admin fee, you can still claim flight compensation on their behalf.
Anyone under the age of 18 will need a litigation friend to claim on their behalf. This is a responsible adult, often a parent, but they don’t need to also have been travelling on the delayed flight.
Can I claim flight compensation if I didn’t buy the ticket myself?
It doesn’t matter who paid for the ticket, the compensation is owed to the passenger for their loss of time and inconvenience.
If you were travelling on business and work paid for your ticket, then you as the passenger would be entitled to receive the compensation.
As long as someone paid something for your ticket – i.e. you weren’t travelling for free.
Can I make a flight delay claim if I bought the ticket with air miles?
Air miles are a valid form of payment and as long as some financial transaction took place (including the use of air miles) then it doesn’t matter how much this was for, you would be eligible for the same amount of compensation as all the other passengers on that flight.
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Does it matter how much my ticket cost?
Flight delay compensation is paid based on a loss of time and inconvenience, not depending on the cost of the ticket.
Travellers in first class would be entitled to exactly the same compensation under EU261 as those in economy.
As long as you paid something for your ticket – even just an admin fee – you are entitled to claim compensation in the event of a delay.
Can I make a claim if my flight was diverted to a different airport?
Flights that are rerouted to a different airport would be eligible for compensation according to the rules on replacement flight times.
If you were diverted mid-flight, then you would be able to claim as long as you arrived at your final destination more than three hours late.
If the diversion or rerouting was a result of extraordinary circumstances, then you wouldn’t be eligible for compensation.
Can I make a flight delay claim if I was travelled on a different airline?
If your replacement flight was with a different airline and you arrive outside of the times allowed for replacement flights (usually 3 hours late) then you can claim compensation. This would be against the original airline that you booked with and not the carrier operating your replacement flight.
Can I claim if I flew on a later flight with the same airline?
If you accept a later flight following a denied boarding or flight cancellation then you can still claim flight compensation if your replacement flight landed three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time of your original flight.
Can I claim if I flew on a later flight with a different airline?
If your replacement flight was with a different airline then you can still claim but you would claim against the original airline not the one that operated your replacement flight.
If the airline you are travelling with offers you a replacement flight with them but there are flights available with alternate airlines that are more convenient to you, then you can travel on the alternate airline and claim this back from the original airline.
Can I claim flight compensation if I missed my connecting flight?
If you booked connecting flights as part of the same ticket and booking reference and you missed the connection meaning you were ultimately more than three hours late, then you would be able to claim compensation.
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Even if the first delay was less than three hours, if it meant you missed the connection and ended up more than three hours late then this would be a valid claim.
You can now also claim when connecting flights are outside of the EU, as long as you departed from the EU initially.
How many flights can I claim for in one journey?
If you booked tickets separately and each one was delayed more than three hours on arrival then you could claim for each delay, as long as the other criteria are met such as departure location and airline.
If you booked the tickets as one booking, then you would be able to claim once – but you would be covered if the connecting flight was outside the EU – unlike if you purchased separate tickets.
Can I claim if my flight was cancelled due to under-booking?
Compensation is only due for cancelled flights if you had less than 14 days’ notice of the cancellation.
The amount you can claim is then dependent on the timing of the replacement flight and whether you had 7-14 days’ notice or less than 7 days.
See our guide on flight cancellation compensation for more information.
Can I Claim Flight Delay Compensation for Bad Weather?
Depending on the exact nature of the bad weather, you could be entitled to claim compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.
Is Bad Weather classed as an Extraordinary Circumstance?
General bad weather is not an extraordinary circumstance. For weather conditions to be classed as ‘extraordinary’ they have to be freak or wholly exceptional.
This might mean snow in Dubai, or a volcanic ash cloud.
If Air Traffic Control reduce the number of flights at an airport because of weather conditions, then this would usually be considered an extraordinary circumstance.
If an airport is closed due to weather, then this would also count as an extraordinary circumstance.
See our guide on bad weather for more information.
Can I Claim Flight Compensation for Cracked windscreens?
A cracked windscreen meaning the aircraft has to be repaired, causing a delay, would be classed as a technical defect and therefore eligible for compensation.
If airport ground crew damage the windscreen, or it’s cracked due to a lightning strike, then it’s still claimable. If it was damaged by a bird strike then this would likely count as an extraordinary circumstance, depending on how long it has taken to make the repair.
Airlines might argue that a cracked windscreen is a hidden manufacturing defect. But this would mean the entire fleet of aircraft would have the same defect and have to be recalled. An event like that would create headline news and is highly unlikely.
The only other time where it would not be claimable would be if the crack was caused by sabotage or terrorism.
How Will Brexit Affect Flight Delay Claims
If/when the UK leaves the EU the regulation on air travel will still exist so you will still be covered, but possibly not to the same level as currently.
Any flight departing the EU or arriving in the EU on an EU carrier would be eligible for compensation. Other non-EU countries such as Norway and Switzerland have opted in to the Regulation but assuming the UK decides not to opt in there would be changes to the cover you have.
A flight departing from the UK would no longer be departing from an EU country, so you would not be covered – unless you were arriving into the EU on an EU carrier.
This means a flight from London to Paris on British airways would not be covered, but the return flight would be departing from the EU, so it would be covered.
A flight from London to Paris on Air France would be covered as it is arriving in to the EU on an EU carrier.
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