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EU Flight Delay Compensation: what are the rules?

EU flight delay compensation: what are the rules?

A delayed or cancelled flight can ruin a holiday, and lead to many knock-on expenses. Under EU law, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, you could be eligible for compensation from the airline. Many people in the UK are not aware of the rules surrounding flight compensation, and miss out on hundreds of pounds worth of payments that they’re entitled to.

If you think you could be eligible for flight compensation – or you’re just planning a trip and want to know your rights – it’s useful to learn the rules surrounding flight delays. Remember, you can always contact our specialist team here at Flights Compensation to evaluate your claim for free.


Whether or not you can be compensated for a flight delay depends on the delay time and the type of flight. Under EU law, for flights within Europe, you can claim compensation between £110 and £510, depending on the cost of your ticket. For a budget ticket of less than £110, your compensation would only cover the cost of the ticket itself. It’s unusual for airlines to offer passengers compensation in cash, although in certain circumstances this can happen.

The length of your delay and the distance you are travelling determine how much compensation you are entitled to. If a flight is delayed by more than one hour, your compensation allowance increases by the hour.

After 2 hours: you are entitled to food and drink, access to your phone and email, and accommodation if the delay is overnight. You should be presented with vouchers by your airline to pay for these costs, but if you’re not presented with these at the airport, make sure to keep receipts to claim in the future.

After 3 hours: You should also receive compensation if the airline is at fault for the delay, for example for technical issues or booking errors. Unfortunately, if your trip is delayed due to bad weather, you are not entitled to any extra compensation. How much you receive is dependant on the length of your flight.

For distances under 1,500 km within Europe, you can claim £210 for a delay of more than 3 hours. For distances longer than that within the EU, the figure is £340. For long-distance flights from the EU to a non-EU airport, you could be entitled to as much as £500 in compensation.

After 5 hours: If the delay is more than 5 hours, the passenger is also entitled to a full refund of their ticket–regardless of cost – and an alternative means of reaching their destination, covered by the airline.


Flight cancellations can cause serious delays, and the rules surrounding passenger compensation remain the same. You are entitled to up to £500 worth of compensation, although often an alternative flight will be found and this figure will be considerably less. Unfortunately, if the airline has informed passengers of a cancellation 14 days before flying, then they are no longer obliged to pay any compensation. As with other delays, cancellations due to bad weather are also not eligible.

Sadly, many people find airlines unreceptive to their compensation claims when they apply, or simply aren’t sure exactly what they are entitled to. By enlisting the help of experts like Flights Compensation, you can greatly increase your chances of a successful claim at a minimum cost to you. Contact us today to find out more.


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