Missed connection compensation in Europe

Missed connection compensation in Europe.

How much can you claim? What happens if you miss your flight?

Did you know that in many cases, there is a right to compensation for missed connections on air travel? It doesn't matter where you're from or the cost of your ticket — EU law states that the airline must abide by this and pay when they are liable. You can either claim compensation yourself, or enlist professional help to get what's rightfully yours!

Explore this blog post for details!

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EU missed flight connection compensation

What happens if you miss your connecting flight ?

Are you entitled to compensation? In short — you might be. The rules in these situations are super simple.

As you might already know, your flight might be covered by the Flight compensation regulation 2004 No 261/2004 which is a law that makes sure people flying in Europe can get help if something goes wrong with their flight. This includes things like cancelled flights and delays. In some cases, it also includes missed connections.

Missed connecting flight due to delay: Compensation 

You made it 3 or more hours later, and it was fault of the airline.

If you’re flying to or from Europe, and you reach your destination 3 or more hours later, and it’s due to the airline’s fault — you are entitled to compensation of up to €600. If you’re flying with a non-EU airline, it applies only to flights departing from Europe.

You can get compensation if it’s:

  • 3+ hour delay;
  • Fault of the airline;
  • Flight is to or from Europe.

Example 1 — you are flying with KLM. It is a European airline. So, the rules apply to all KLM flights to, within and from Europe. You can get compensation on all their European flighs.

Example 2 — you are flying with Etihad. It is an airline registered in the United Arab Emirates. It’s not a European airline (registered in the EU, EEA, UK). So, the above mentioned rules apply only to flights departing from European airports.

The same rules apply to connecting flights.

In case of a connecting flight, your destination is your final destination.

For example, you have a TAP Air Portugal connecting flight from Frankfurt to Cancun, with a layover in Lisbon. Keep in mind that Cancun is your final destination. If you have made it to Cancun 3 or more hours later due to fault of TAP, you will be entitled to compensation for missed connection flight for the whole “Frankfurt – Cancun” journey.

Don’t forget to file a compensation claim!

Missing a connecting flight due to cancellation

The rules are the same as with flight delays.

If you’re flying to or from Europe, and you reach your destination 3 or more hours later, and it’s the airline’s fault, you are entitled to compensation up to €600. You can get missed connection flight compensation if your previous flight is cancelled due to fault of your airline, and as a result you have missed your connection.

You can get compensation if:

  • You are arriving with 3+ hour delay;
  • It’s fault of the airline;
  • Flight is to or from Europe.

These rules apply only to “proper connecting flights".

It doesn’t apply to self-transfer flights. If you have booked your flights separately, for example, one with KLM and the other with Wizz Air, European regulation does not apply to this connection as a whole. In this case, KLM is liable only for their flight, and Wizz Air — for their flight. You can get compensation for this one KLM flight when compensation is due, but KLM won’t offer you any help with your Wizz Air flight. And vice versa.

Your flight qualifies? Don’t forget to file a compensation claim!

By Europe and EU here on this page we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Extraordinary circumstances

These are situations outside of the airline’s control.

If you experience the misfortune of missing a flight due to extreme weather conditions, natural disaster, pandemic, political or civil unrest, no compensation is available. To protect yourself and ensure that your rights are taken into account, it's wise to double-check all information provided by airline.

Because not always the airlines are telling the truth. Airlines often give false reasons to deny compensation requests in order to avoid losing any money. This makes sense, since extraordinary circumstances allow them not to have to pay out any compensations. If you find your claim for compensation is denied and presented with the excuse of "extraordinary circumstances," do not hesitate!

Demand a more thorough explanation.

Because your flight might be delayed or cancelled due to technical issues (which aren’t extraordinary circumstances), even if the airline keeps telling you it’s extraordinary circumstances.

Looking for a shortcut? Our team of experts will handle all claims for you — from verifying if it was a technical problem with an airplane to making a compensation claim. All that is required on your part is filling out our claim form and letting us take it from there!

Right to care

What does ‘right to care' mean?

If your flight arrives late, you may be eligible for additional assistance, such as meals and refreshments, as well as accommodation + transfer if necessary. In addition, airlines must provide passengers with up-to-date information about their rights when flights are disrupted.

  • After 3 hours of waiting the airline must offer you free meals and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time, plus two free phone calls, e-mails or faxes.
  • In case of an overnight delay, free hotel accommodation must also be offered (+ free transfer from the airport to hotel and back).

Flight attendants on the plane

How to claim flight compensation with Refundor?

Claiming compensation with us is easy.

All you will have to do is to:

  • Go to this page on our website;
  • Fill in the personal and flight details;
  • Upload the boarding pass and passport copy;
  • Sign the claim online.

That’s it from you. We’ll do the rest.

How much does it cost?

There are no upfront costs with our service.

You will only be charged if a successful outcome is achieved.

Our fee of €25 per person plus 25% of the compensation amount. It’s fixed regardless of the case's complexity. If we work on your behalf but fail to win or receive any form of compensation, then there are absolutely no fees incurred by you.

Compensation will be transferred to your bank account.

How long does it take?

The timeframe for receiving compensation varies depending on the individual case, but quite often takes an estimated three months from submission to deposit. However, if airlines are less than accommodating and additional action is needed via NEB or a court hearing, it may take up to twice as long — or even longer.

To sum it up, you can expect it to be around 3 months.

Euro banknotes

How much can you claim?

The exact amount of compensation varies.

The longer the flight, the bigger the compensation.

When destination is within the EU:

  • €250 - if the distance of your flight is up to 1500 kilometres (usually 1-2 hour long flights).
  • €400 - if the distance of your flight is more than 1500 kilometres.

When your destination is outside the EU:

  • €250 - if the distance of your flight is up to 1500 kilometres.
  • €400 - if the distance of your flight is between 1500 - 3500 kilometres.
  • €600 - if the distance of your flight is more than 3500 kilometres.

Exception. When the distance is 3500 kilometres or more and you reach your destination with a delay between 3 - 4 hours, you are entitled to compensation of €300, not €600.

These amounts are per passenger.

Do you need to accept vouchers as compensation?

Many airlines were handing out vouchers during the COVID crisis.

And many do that also now. Have you been offered a voucher instead of compensation? You are not obliged to accept one. If you would rather receive cash or bank transfer instead of a coupon, that is an option too! According to the Flight compensation regulation No 261/2004, airline compensation and refunds must always be paid in cash or through bank transfer.

Germanwings airplane on the tarmac

What is a connecting flight?

When it comes to missed connection compensation, it’s important to understand the difference between the two connecting flight types. But before we continue, it’s important to first comprehend what a connecting flight is. Let us begin there!

A connecting flight consists of two or more consecutive flights. It is a type of plane trip where you get off the first plane and then have to get on another plane to reach your final destination. You are not flying directly from A to B, but there is one more stop in-between — C. You fly from A to C, and then from C to B. Sometimes there are more than a single stop.

A wait at the airport between the flights is called a layover. It could be only an hour, and it could be 12 or even 24 hours. It depends on the airline and other factors. During a layover, you will be at the airport waiting for your next flight to depart. This time can be used to explore the airport and its amenities, such as restaurants and shops, or to simply relax.

There are two types of connecting flights:

  • airline-protected transfers,
  • self transfer flights.

Airline-protected transfer

An airline-protected connecting flight is when you book two or more flights with one booking reference number. This means that the airline will help you if your first flight is delayed / cancelled and you miss your connecting flight.

How to find out if you have an airline-protected transfer?

  • You have booked a connecting flight from the airline or using a third-party flight booking service such as Kiwi, Expedia or eDreams.
  • You have one airline booking reference number for the entire journey (two or more flights on your itinerary).

Self transfer

A self transfer is when you have two or more separate airline booking reference numbers. You may have paid for the flights separately or with one payment.

How to find out if you have a self transfer?

  • If you have booked these flights separately.
  • If you have two or more airline booking reference numbers.
  • If you paid for these flights separately.

Sometimes it might be difficult to tell the difference between self transfer and airline-protected transfer. For example, kiwi.com allows you buy several flights as a single booking. But if you look at the boarding passes, you’ll see that each one of them has their own reservation number or so called booking reference. This only means that it's a self transfer.

When you book a connecting flight, mostly it is easy to discern which kind of connection you are booking. Generally speaking, most flight search sites will explicitly state that your transfer is a self transfer — avoid this, if you want the most safe option.

People at the airport

Missed connection

We have discussed what a connecting flight is.

Now you know the difference between the two connecting flight types. The next on our agenda is to explain what a missed connection is.

Missing a connecting flight — or a missed connection, as it is called — is an all-too-common occurrence when flights are delayed or cancelled at the last minute. It's especially likely to happen if the layover time between your two flights is very short (only 1 hour or less)! With such little leeway in travel times, missing one step of your journey can mean that you'll miss out on everything else.

It's comforting to know that most airlines will protect you if your flight is delayed. Plus, a delay could work in your favor: you may even get compensated up to 600 euro per person! If your airline messes up, they are responsible for coming up with the best solution for your missed connecting flight. Oftentimes they are also obliged to pay compensation.

However, this only applies to airline-protected flights.

Airline-protected transfer

This is the easiest and safest option for you.

An airline protected transfer is when an airline agrees to move you to another flight if you miss your original flight due to delay or cancellation of the previous flight. You won't have to worry about being stuck in the wrong place or missing your flight. It is a guaranteed way to make sure you get where you need to go. The airline will also cover any additional costs associated with the transfer, like booking fees and hotel room costs. This makes it an incredibly convenient and reliable option for travelers.

Cancelled or delayed flight causes missed connection?

Just get in touch with your airline's representatives at the airport.

What about a refund or compensation?

Your missed flight does not entitle you to a refund, however, it may warrant compensation for your entire journey if the EU Regulation 261/2004 applies. Best of all is that more often than not you can obtain up to 600 euros in compensation regardless of how inexpensively you purchased your ticket!

Just don’t forget to file a claim for compensation!

Airline-protected connecting flight example:  Paris, Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) – Cancun, Cancun International airport (CUN), with a stop in London, Heathrow Airport (LHR). Booked from KLM, under one booking reference number.

Self transfer

As you might already know, a self transfer is when you have two or more separate flights with separate reservation numbers, and you have paid for the flights separately.

What occurs if the first flight runs late or gets cancelled? If the delay is more than 3 hours long, the airline may take responsibility for compensating for only that particular flight—not all of them. Moreover, neither carrier will be held accountable for missed connections due to delays or cancellations.

For instance, you have a flight with Wizzair from Budapest to Paris Orly. Let’s call it “flight 1”. Then there is a 3-hour layover at an airport, and the next flight is with easyJet to Milan Linate. Let’s call it “flight 2”. If you miss flight 2 due to flight 1 being delayed or cancelled, neither of the airlines are responsible for it. 

If it’s a 3+ hour-long delay, you may get a compensation from Wizz Air.

If it’s a last-minute cancellation, you may get a new flight or refund and compensation from Wizz Air for flight 1 — because Wizz Air will be required by European Union regulations to provide compensation for your inconvenience.

However, if you miss your easyJet flight, it is your responsibly to buy a new flight to your destination. Neither Wizz Air nor easyJet will offer any kind of compensation or reimbursement for this missed connection (flight 2). You won’t get compensation for missed flight connection.

Travel insurance may cover some of the expenses.

Do you have more questions about missed connection compensation and connecting flights? Have you ever missed a connecting flight? Reach out to us to file a claim for missed connection compensation!

By Europe and EU here on this page we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Featured photo by Stas Knop from Pexels