Situations when you can't get flight compensation

Flight delays. Flight cancellations. You’ve been denied boarding. Often, when something like this happens, you can get compensation of some sort. When you are traveling to or from Europe or with a European airline and things like this happen due to the airline’s fault you can sometimes get both a new flight to your destination and up to €600 in cash per passenger.

But there are also situations when you can’t get flight compensation. Scroll down to learn more about these kind of situations.

6 situations when you can't get flight compensation

1. You made it 2 hour 59 minutes later than planned

Clock on the wall

According to the EU flight compensation regulation 261/2004 (EC 261), if your flight ever gets delayed and you arrive to your destination 3 or more hours after the original arrival time you may be entitled to compensation of up €600 per passenger. However, it holds true only if the delay is at least 3 hours.

How is it even calculated? What matters here isn’t the time of departure, but the time when plane arrives to your final destination and when the doors of the airplane are being opened. If it’s less than 3 hours later than originally planned, then it’s not worth filing a claim for airline compensation.

Exception. If your flight is cancelled and you are notified of the cancellation less than 7 days before the scheduled time of departure. You choose a new flight offered by your airline, which departs not more than 1 hour before the original departure time. Under these circumstances you can file a claim for flight compensation also if the total delay is only 2 hours.

2. You couldn’t provide a proof of an onward travel

Passport on the table next to a hat

And you had been denied boarding.

In this situation, too, you can’t get compensation. Unless airline made a mistake by asking you for the proof of an onward travel in the first place. Then it’s different and you may have chances to get something. But note that nowadays more and more countries are asking for a return or onward ticket. So make sure you know the rules before buying that ticket.

Don’t forget about visas, if you need any. And check your passport validity (many countries will require it to be at least 6 months beyond your departure date).

Summing it up - if you are denied boarding because of traveling with invalid travel documents or without a valid visa or visas you will not be eligible for flight compensation.

3. Your flight was delayed due to airport staff strike

Air Force cadets, crowd

Airline staff strikes aren’t considered extraordinary circumstances, as this example shows, and you can get compensation if that’s the reason why your flight gets delayed or cancelled. But it’s different in the case of an airport staff strike, when operations of the airport are paralyzed or slowed down - then most probably you’ll not be able to get compensation.

Since it’s not something within airline’s control.

4. Your flight was delayed due to extreme weather conditions

Snow storm - Can't get flight compensation

It can be due to bad weather at the airport, somewhere on the way or at your final destination. In case of volcanic eruptions your flight may be affected even if you are more than thousand kilometres away from the volcano. Like we saw with the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, in 2010, when air travel in a part of Europe was stopped for several days.

In all these situations when it’s not safe to fly, your flight may get delayed or even cancelled and you’ll not get flight compensation for that.

That’s the same when flights are cancelled or delayed due to all kind of different circumstances all of whom are out of the airline’s control, usually called extraordinary circumstances. But don’t let yourself be fooled (and be extra attentive, when you hear or see it mentioned), because not always these words are used as they should be.

5. You arrived to the airport in time, but still missed the flight

People at the airport

Maybe because you couldn’t find your gate in time. Maybe there were some problems with your hand luggage during the airport security screening, and so you couldn’t make it. Or gate was changed and you missed this fact.

Whatever is the reason, if it was your fault, you can’t get compensation from your airline.

6. If you voluntarily gave up your seat

People on the airplane

It's a common practice that airlines sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane. Since there always is someone who can’t make it in time, or someone who changes his mind and decides not to fly, it’s an opportunity for airlines to make more money.

But, of course, there are also situations, when everyone who have bought a ticket comes, and then there are not enough seats. What airlines do in these kind of situations is they look for passengers who are willing to voluntarily give up their seat. These passengers are also usually offered some benefits or extras, and it may be a really good deal in the end.

If you are going to voluntarily give up your seat know that now you will not be able to get any more compensation.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for compensation or not, fill in our claim form, upload your boarding pass or ticket, and we'll take it from there.