Some EU flight passengers that have been burdened by flight delays, flight cancellations or overbooking may be eligible for flight delay compensation, depending on a number of circumstances. Passed in 2004, EC Regulation 261, travellers can get reimbursed for their flight delay up to €600, but those affected shouldn’t start counting their reimbursement gains just yet. Several restrictions apply to potential recompensation, and travellers must qualify in all areas before any flight delay compensation processes can even move forward. The guidelines are outlined here.
Steps To Avail EU Flight Delay Compensation
1. Who does the EC Regulation 261/2004 apply to?
Travellers, to be eligible for potential EU flight delay compensation, must have a valid ticket and booking confirmation. Their trip must have originated at an EU airport, or have landed at an airport in the EU. The airline they travelled on also must be headquartered in the EU. If these conditions are not met, travelers will be ineligible to proceed any further with looking to receive any flight delay compensation.
EU compensation was enacted to make airlines much more accountable for their actions, as in many cases travel disruptions and other inconveniences travellers experienced could have been prevented by the airlines themselves.
2. How the process of flight delay compensation works
Compensation per passenger is capped on the high end at €600 and is most often less. No matter what agency the traveller elects to go through to pursue compensation, this figure does not differ.
The price of the ticket does not factor into any potential compensation settlement. What does matter here is the distance travelled and the length of the delay? This four-tiered breakdown comes down to:
- Under 1,500 km / Delay of more than 3 hours
- 1,500 km to 3,500 km / Delay of more than 3 hours
- Over 3,500 km / Delay between 3-4 hours
- Over 3,500 km / Delay exceeding 4 hours
Passengers that ultimately elect to move forward with a flight delay compensation claim should be cautious as to what agency they elect to go through to move forward with their claim. Agency fees and costs can vary widely from agency to agency. Depending on what the compensation is projected to be, less all the costs associated with going through the agency, some passengers may not figure it’s even worth the time or aggravation in proceeding with their claim, especially if the claim is denied. Some agencies still charge for their services in these cases, resulting in even more loss for the traveller.
As there are different agency options available, travellers pursuing a compensation claim should enlist the services of an agency that will not charge the passenger anything at all if no compensation is rewarded the passenger. These cases can get rather involved, and may or may not go to court. Knowing that it won’t cost them money if their claim is denied can certainly give a traveller more confidence in the long run if they decide to go all the way with their compensation claim.
3. Some answers to a few questions travellers have
Quite obviously, as is typical in most every legal case, many questions arise. Some of the many are briefly explained here.
Rebooking. If your flight is cut by an airline, they must offer you compensation or rebooking the first time out. When offered a first-time rebooking, you do not have to use the same airline.
If you’ve agreed to rebook, the airline should offer you free drinks and food while you have to wait, all in reasonable conditions. In addition, in order to notify others in the change in travel arrangements (and for any other purpose), you must receive free email access, along with the ability to make two phone calls.
If the rebooked flight is scheduled the day after the originally scheduled flight, the airline should offer you free hotel accommodations, as well as transportation between the airport and the hotel. If you’ve already paid for lodging, food or drink, you may require the airline to reimburse you for these expenses. Just make sure you have all your receipts in order here, ready to submit for proper documentation of your expenditures directly related to this situation.