5 things you probably don’t know about flight compensations

Let’s face it, legal documents can be very difficult to understand for most of people. Not surprisingly many still don’t know that they could be entitled to flight compensation whenever there is a flight delay or disruption due to the airline’s fault. And that's despite the fact that the EU Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004, made to protect passenger rights, has been around for more than 10 years already.

We have already talked about flight delay compensation, flight cancellation compensation and what to do when you’ve been denied boarding, now let’s look at 5 facts about the EU Regulation 261/2004 and flight compensations most still don’t know.

5 facts about about flight compensations

And the first and one of the most misunderstood facts is…

1. You don’t have to be a citizen of the European Union

Big Ben bridge in London

Exactly, you don’t have to be European to be entitled to European flight compensation.

All that matters is that you are flying to or from Europe* and your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours, cancelled or you’ve been denied boarding because there simply are no more free seats available (it’s a possibility nowadays even if you have bought a ticket). If you are flying from a country outside the European Union your flight must be with a European airline.

And flight delay or cancellation must be due to the airline’s fault. That’s it. If that’s the case you may be entitled to compensation of up to €600 per passenger.

Even if you are just a tourist traveling to or within Europe*.

*In this case, Europe means all EU Member States and Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

2. You can get both - compensation & new flight

Two cups of coffee - Facts about flight compensations

And in some situations you can get more than that.

Because airlines have to get you to your destination or give you a full refund. And if the delay or cancellation is their fault, in many cases they also have to pay compensation.

Example - your flight is cancelled due to technical glitches of the airplane. Airline is offering you a new flight in a couple of hours with another airline, another their flight in 24 hours or refund. If you choose the second flight, one that involves an overnight wait, the airline is obligated to provide you with free hotel accommodation and transport to and from it, plus - food.

And still afterwards you can file a claim for compensation if you make it to your destination more than 3 hours after the original arrival time.

3. Don’t take vouchers/coupons unless you want them

Euro bills

Compensation has to be paid in cash or by bank transfer. But the airline may offer you travel vouchers/coupons or air miles. You can ask for cash if you don’t want any of that.

If you have already taken coupons, you can still submit your claim for flight compensation with us and we’ll help you to get your compensation. In an event of success most probably your coupons will be cancelled.

4. Technical problems mostly are considered airline’s fault

Four adults holding colorful posters

Accordingly if your flight gets delayed or cancelled due to any of these kind of reasons, mostly you can still get compensation from the airline.

The same stands for airline staff strikes. If it's a planned strike, the airline has been notified in advance, it's considered something that's out of the airline's control. If, however, it's an unplanned strike, or so called cat strike, it's considered something airline should be able to deal with. If it can't, you should be able to receive compensation in case of a serious flight disruption (3+ hour delay or flight cancellation).

There are also some exceptions. And since the Europe's Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 (EC 261) does list only a few situations which fall under the term “extraordinary circumstances”, there is a place for interpretation. And airlines use it in their favor.

5. The compensation amounts are fixed

Euro note and coins

And mostly it’s going to be one of these three: €250, €400 or €600.

Exception. In case when the distance of your flight is 3500 kilometres or more and you reach your destination with a delay between 3 - 4 hours, you are entitled to compensation of €300.

Has something like this happened to you recently or during the last years? Submit your claim for airline compensation now.