13.04.2020

When things go wrong, you have the right to care

If your flight is delayed or cancelled.

If you have been denied boarding due to overbooking.

If you have to wait at the airport. In Europe in all these situations you have the right to care. Mostly that means a free meal and a drink, or if it’s a long delay - free hotel accommodation. Because that’s the rules in European Union. And these rules apply to most European flights. When the flight is from somewhere else, it must be operated by a European airline for these rules to apply to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s your airline’s fault or not.

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

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to 600€ compensation Check your compensation

Airplane parked at the airport

Right to care according to the EC 261/2004

In Europe all air passengers are well protected.

That includes both Europeans and tourists from overseas.

Here is what the airline must offer you, if you have to wait at the airport.

According to the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, Article 9:

  • free meals and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time,
  • free hotel accommodation if a stay of one or more nights is necessary,
  • two free phone calls, e-mails or faxes.

If you have to wait 2-3 hours extra, you have the right to it.

There are exceptions, but mostly you’ll be getting your first free meal if you have to wait 2 - 3 hours. Mostly it’s gonna be in form of coupons, that you can exchange at the airport cafes, shops or restaurants. Contact your airline if nothing is being handed out.

You can also buy a meal yourself.

Save the receipes in this case, and request a refund from the airline later.

Learn more:

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

A sandwich on the table at airport cafe

What about extraordinary circumstances?

As already mentioned, it doesn’t matter.

The reason of the delay or cancellation doesn’t matter in this situation.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the airline’s fault or not.

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

EU and non-EU airlines

There are differences between the two, when it comes to EU rules.

If it’s a European airline, it applies to all flights to and from Europe.

If it's a non-European airline - flights from or within Europe.

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.

Learn more about your rights when travelling with non-EU airlines.

50 euro bills - Cash

Let's not forget about EU flight compensation

As already mentioned, it doesn’t matter if it’s your airline’s fault or not.

In most situtions, when you have to wait - you have the right to care.

Even if your flight is cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances.

If it is your airline's fault, you may as well receive a compensation.

How much? Up to 600 euro per passenger.

Check your compensation online.

So, if there are no extraordinary circumstances, if it’s just a regular flight cancellation or delay, don’t forget to claim flight compensation.

Bon voyage!


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.