UK flight delay compensation

This is a guide to UK flight delay compensation rules.

Was your UK flight delayed? The good news is, that in many cases the law is on your side! If a flight delay occurs due to airline's fault, such as technical problems, and it’s a flight travelling to or from the UK, then you could be eligible for UK or EU flight delay compensation of up to GBP 520. This guide will provide all the details on UK rules when it comes to claiming compensation for delayed flights.

The regulations in the UK are very similar to those in the EU.

Check your compensation online.

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to £520 compensation Check your compensation

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UK air passenger rights

Air passenger rights are almost identical in Europe (EU, EEA, UK).

That’s why on our website we often refer to them as European air passenger rights. We also have an in-depth guide on UK/EU flight delay compensation. So, think of this guide here as a summary of the in-depth guide we created earlier. It’s a summary with a focus on the UK.

You are protected in the event of flight delays, cancellations and denied boarding. These rights are outlined in the EU Regulation 261/2004, which after Brexit was adopted into UK law. You may have heard of it as the Regulation UK261. Passengers are protected on all flights departing from an airport in the UK, as well as on all flights arriving in the UK.

Here’s how and when they apply to you:

  • In case of UK airlines, these rules apply to all flights to and from the UK
  • In case of EU airlines, these rules apply to all flights to and from the UK, as well as EU
  • With non-European airlines — flights departing from Europe or the UK

In some cases, you can refer to either UK or EU laws when making a compensation claim for delayed flight, in others — only to one. If it’s a connecting flight, keep in mind that your destination is your final destination (last stop), not the layover city.

1. UK flight delay compensation: Rules

The compensation rules are very simple.

If you're flying to or from the UK, your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours, and it's due to the airline's fault — you are entitled to UK flight delay compensation up to GBP 520. With non-UK, non-EU airlines these rules apply only to flights that depart from either UK or EU.

UK flight compensation basics:

  1. It applies to all flights operated by UK airlines (e.g., British Airways, easyJet, etc.). If your flight is with such an airline, these rules apply to all flights to and from the UK. Can you get compensation when flying on a British Airways flight from Singapore to London? Yes, you can. Because the rules apply to all UK airlines and all of their flights.
  2. Similar regulations apply to EU airlines. If your flight is with a EU airline, these rules apply to all flights to and from the EU, including their UK flights.
  3. It applies also to non-UK, non-EU airlines. If you're flying with such an airline, it applies to flights departing from Europe. For example, your Qatar Airways flight from London to Doha is delayed for more than 3 hours due to the airline’s fault. In this case, you might be entitled to compensation for delay from the airline.
  4. It includes old flights too. You can get flight delay compensation also for old flights.
  5. All passengers are equally protected. These rules apply to all passengers on all flights that fall under the UK flight regulation / EU flight regulation. It includes also tourists travelling to, from or within the UK. You don’t have to be a citizen of the UK or European Union to be entitled to UK flight compensation.
  6. All commercial airlines have to follow these rules. These rules apply to all commercial airlines in the UK. If the airline is operating to, from or within the UK, it has to follow these regulations. Keep in mind that it also includes charter airlines such as TUI and low cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet.

1.1 When you can get compensation from the airline

You are entitled to compensation if:

  • The delay is 3 or more hours long
  • The delay is the airline's fault (technical issues, crew shortages, etc.)
  • You are flying with a UK or EU airline
  • It’s not a EU/UK airline, but the flight departs from the UK/EU

1.2 When you can’t get compensation from the airline

There are situations when you can’t get compensation for delayed flight:

  • When the airline can prove that the event which caused flight delay was "extraordinary circumstances", such as air traffic control restrictions, political instability, severe weather conditions, or security risks (things that are out of the airline’s control)
  • When your flight is delayed due to a strike unrelated to the airline
  • When the delay is shorter than 3 hours
  • When you are flying a non-EU/non-UK airline, and your flight arrives in the UK

Even if you aren’t entitled to compensation, keep in mind that you still have a right to care. More on that below. Make sure to read that, because most people don’t know about it.

2. How to claim UK flight delay compensation?

How to claim UK flight delay compensation?

One of the options is to contact the airline directly. Get in touch with your airline. Send an e-mail to the customer service or use a contact or compensation claim form on their website. In an ideal world, all it would take is a simple e-mail or complaint form; however, that's not usually the case. It's often far trickier and takes much more effort... and time.

Another option — to seek legal representation.

We offer such a service both in the EU and UK.

All you need are your passport or ID plus boarding pass or flight confirmation ready before making the request. You fill in a single form. We do the job on your behalf.

Calculate your flight compensation for free! It takes less than 2 minutes Calculate compensation

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When working with us, here is all you will have to do:

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

And that’s it, we’ll take it from there.

Read more: How to claim UK flight compensation?

3. How much can you claim for flight delay?

Just like in the EU, the amount of compensation you can claim for a flight delay depends on the distance of your flight. The further you are travelling, the more you can claim from the airline. The amounts aren’t affected by the price of the flight ticket, and you don’t need an insurance for this.

Compensation amounts for flight delay in the UK are as following:

  • 1,500 km or less (mostly 1-2h) — GBP 220
  • Between 1,500 km and 3,500 km - GBP 350
  • Greater than 3,500 km - GBP 520

As you see, the longer the flight, the bigger compensation.

3.1 Exception (you can receive only 50%)

There is one exception when it comes to compensation amounts.

This applies to long-haul flights, usually at least 4-5 hours long. If the distance of your flight is 3,500 kilometres or more, and you reach your destination with a delay between 3 to 4 hours, you'll be receiving GBP 260 not GBP 520.

4. How long does it take to get UK delay compensation from an airline?

How long does it take until you receive UK flight delay compensation?

Mostly it takes a few months until you receive UK flight delay compensation in your bank. Even though, according to the law, if you are entitled to compensation from the airline, they should provide payment in a timely manner. And a few months may not feel like very timely. Some people are more lucky and receive their compensation in a few weeks. But you shouldn’t set your hopes too high, because for most it takes at least 2-3 months before they receive any funds.

In short, don’t expect immediate compensation. It takes time.

It is the same with overbooking and cancellations.

Read more: 

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to £520 compensation Check your compensation

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5. Right to care in the UK

What does “right to care” mean?

The “right to care” in the aviation industry in Europe refers to certain rights that you as a passenger are entitled to when your flight is delayed or cancelled. These rights include assistance with meals and accommodation, and transportation from the airport.

If you have to wait at the airport, airline has to take care of you.

  • If it's a 3-hour wait, you have a right to free food and free refreshments. Mostly it's provided in a form of coupons that you can exchange at the airport.
  • If it's more than 3 hours and overnight, you have a right to free accommodation. The airline has to provide both a room and free transfer to and from the hotel.

Or you can pay for the services yourself and then request a reimbursement.

First, try to get in touch with the airline and ask for these services. Next, if it doesn’t work, or there’s no one to contact, pay for that meal or hotel room yourself, save the receipts and claim the extra expenses later. Just keep in mind that reimbursement is only available if you've spent money on essential items; lavish dinners or luxury hotel stays won't qualify.

Has something like this happened to you?

Submit your claim for UK flight delay compensation now.

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

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