Flight downgrade compensation: What are your rights?

The same like upgrading also downgrading happens. If you are travelling in Europe or with a European airline, there are very specific rules regarding that. And if you’ve been downgraded, the airline should pay you compensation. The amounts of compensation usually are between 30 to 75% of the price of the ticket, depending from the distance of your flight.

What should you do next?

How to receive flight downgrade compensation?

Flight downgrade compensation: Basics

Thanks to the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 you are protected not only against flight delays, cancellations and overbookings, but also against downgrades.

You have booked a first class ticket, but then… at the airport you learn, that you’ll have to fly in business class or economy. Or maybe you have booked a business class seat, but there are no any seats left and you have to fly in economy class. In all these situations you are entitled to compensation.

600 euro - How to claim flight compensation

The amount of the compensation is gonna be between 30 to 75% of the price of the ticket.

  • 30%, if the distance of your flight is up to 1500 kilometres,
  • 50%, if the distance of your flight is between 1500 - 3500 kilometres,
  • 75%, if the distance of your flight is more than 3500 kilometres.

What about upgrades? If there are no more free seats in the economy and you’re offered a seat in the business? That’s ok, but you should remember, that the airline may not request any supplementary payment for this upgrade.

It should be a flight to or from Europe. If it’s a flight from another country to Europe, it should be with a European airline.

Learn more about differences between first and business class.


Like most of businesses airlines do prioritize their clients. And if you have booked your flight using miles, don’t be surprised that you are the one offered involuntary downgrading.

British Airways planes

Cash or coupons?

As stated in the regulation, the compensation shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

You don’t have to accept travel vouchers, unless you prefer them over money.

European and non-European airlines

Was your flight with Air France or, for example, Qatar Airways?

Why it matters? If you are flying with a European airline, these rules apply to all commercial flights both from and to Europe. If you are flying with a non-European airline, like Qatar Airways, these rules apply only to their flights from Europe.

In the rest of the situations and when travelling in other parts of the world, the above mentioned rules don’t apply. Then it’s all up to local rules and airline policies.

A man working on a laptop

How to claim flight downgrade compensation

Ok, but how to get that money?

How to claim downgrade compensation?

Unlike flight delay compensation and flight cancellation compensation, this one you should be offered by your airline right on the spot. How else would you make a business or first class traveller to move to economy?

If that hasn’t happened, make sure to file a claim.

Because chances are that if you wait and do nothing, your airline does the same. Nothing.

Question marks road signs

One of the options is to contact the airline directly. 

Some airlines have claim form on their website. Try to find it. If you can’t, use the contact form. Submit all the information they are asking for and wait. In these situations it shouldn’t take more than a week, but… you never know.

If you prefer to take the least stressful path you can let us to do it on your behalf.

  1. Go to this page on our website;
  2. Fill in the details about yourself and your flight;
  3. Upload your boarding pass;
  4. Sign the claim online.

And that’s it. We’ll do the rest. When we finish the job, you’ll just have to tell us your bank account details and we’ll make the money transfer.

We work under a no win, no fee agreement. It will cost you nothing, if we're unable to collect your compensation for some reason. No win, no fees. If we are successful, however, we’ll take €25 + 25% of the amount of the compensation and transfer you the rest.

Let’s work together?