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    Flight Delay Compensation: When Can you Claim?

    If you booked a European Flight, or flew with a European Airline, and your flight was either delayed or canceled, you have the right to claim flight delay compensation.

    In the following blog post we discuss flight delays and explain the circumstances in which you would be entitled to claim.

    What Constitutes a Flight Delay?

    Since the implementation of the European Commission Regulation 261/2004, which took effect on 17th February 2005, compensation and assistance to passengers can be obtained in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations or long delays of flights. It replaced the Council Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 4th February 1991 establishing common rules for a denied-boarding compensation system in scheduled air transport.

    Upon deciding to claim flight delay compensation there are a number of steps you should take: firstly, complain to the airline directly. Each airline will have their own procedure for dealing with flight delay claims, so check what your airline would like you to do to initiate the claim. State the problem and what you want in terms of compensation and/or reimbursement. The case of Dawson V Thomson Airways established that you have up to 6 years to claim compensation for delays of up to 3 hours.

    When are Airlines Expected to Pay Compensation?

    Since the pivotal cases of Sturgeon and others v Condor Flugdienst GmbH, Böck and another v Air France SA (Joint Cases C-402/07 and C-432/07), compensation has applied to long delays. Passengers can seek flight delay compensation by giving their name, airline, flight number and reason for the delay. If it is rejected you can chose to take the case to courts.

    By law you can claim compensation for problems that you encounter whilst in the airport if your flight is delayed by more than 2 hours such as food and drink, access to phone calls and emails.

    flight delay compensation

    If your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours, or was cancelled in the 7 days leading up to your departure, you have the potential to claim a full refund, including connecting flights from the airline that you will not use in the same booking, or get a new flight to your destination. Should your flight be delayed overnight, the airline has a duty to provide accommodation and travel between it and the airport.

    You can claim compensation for any flight departing from a EU/EEA or Swiss airport and any flight landing in the EU/EEA or Swiss on an EU/EEA or Swiss airline. It is important to note that if you booked directly with an airline then the responsibility lies with your airline for a refund or re-booking, however if you booked your flights independent from the airline such as through a package holiday, upon accepting a refund the airline no longer has an obligation to look after you.

    How Much Can I Claim?

    The amount of compensation you're entitled to depends on when the flight was cancelled, the distance of the flight and the departure and arrival times of the rescheduled flight. Compensation is around £190 for inter- EU flights of 930 miles or less, £310 for flights that range between 930 and 1/860 miles and £460 for longer journeys.

    Head to our Flight Delay Compensation page and use our compensation table to work out how much you could be entitled to.

    Extraordinary Circumstances and Technical Faults

    Extraordinary circumstances are situations that are out of the control of the airline. Airlines are not expected to compensate passengers if the delay is caused by things such as bad weather or crew strikes. Even when these circumstances arise, the airlines owe a duty of care to look after their stranded passengers. Should such a case arise remember to keep all receipts to reclaim from the airline.

    Airlines have often tried to use the excuse of technical faults to get out of paying flight delay compensation. Airlines should be prepared for mechanical problems and therefore they do not always constitute exceptional circumstances. Since the case of Jet2 v Huzar airlines are no longer able to claim ordinary technical problems under this title.

    It’s the operator of the flight rather than the firm you booked with that hold the responsibility. If you are flying with an adjudicator you must use the ADR scheme.

    Should your claim be rejected or put on hold by the airline you have the ability to take the claim further with the regulator or new adjudicators.


    If you believe that you are entitled to flight delay compensation and are considering pursuing a claim then the specialists at Wildings Solicitors can offer you the support and advice you need. Head to our Flight Delay Compensation page for more information.

    Contact us at info@wildings-solicitors.co.uk or Freephone 0330 333 8797 to book your free initial consultation today.


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