EU261: Europe Flight Delay Compensation Explained

EU261: Europe Flight Delay Compensation Explained

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The European Union has the most consumer friendly policies when it comes to what passengers are entitled to in the event that their flight is significantly delayed or canceled. For example, if your long haul flight is delayed by at least four hours, you could be entitled to 600 Euro cash, which is huge. In this post I wanted to go over everything you need to know about how this policy works.

What is EU261 flight delay compensation?

Regulation 261/2004 (commonly referred to as EU261) is the European Union’s official rule that dictates what airlines owe passengers in the event of flight delays or cancelations. This can include everything from cash compensation, to hotels, to meal vouchers. This is truly the most generous protection you’ll find anywhere in the world when it comes to airline passenger rights.

Europe flight delay compensation basics

Under what circumstances are you entitled to compensation in Europe if your flight is delayed or canceled? As you might expect, this can be difficult to understand at times, since rules differ based on the airline you’re flying with, the cause of the delay, etc. In this post I’ll go over all the details.

Which airlines & countries are covered by EU261?

EU261 rules apply in the following situations:

  • If you are traveling from a European Union airport on any airline
  • If you are traveling to a European Union airport on a European Union-based airline

In other words:

  • If you’re flying from Frankfurt to Newark, EU261 would apply regardless of whether you’re traveling with Lufthansa or United
  • If you’re flying from Newark to Frankfurt, EU261 would only apply on Lufthansa, and not on United (since United isn’t a European Union-based airline)

A couple more things to note:

  • Even though Norway and Switzerland aren’t in the European Union, EU261 applies for these countries as well; furthermore, the United Kingdom has separate rules that are almost identical to EU261
  • You’re only eligible for EU261 coverage if you have a confirmed reservation, and are traveling on a revenue or award ticket (in other words, staff travel or other industrial discount tickets don’t qualify)
EU261 also potentially applies on non-EU airlines

How much money is EU261 compensation?

The amount of cash compensation you’re entitled to under EU261 varies based on the length of the flight… sort of:

  • If your flight covers a distance of under 1,500km (930 miles), you’re entitled to 250 Euro compensation if you’re delayed by at least two hours
  • If your flight covers a distance of 1,500-3,500km 930-2,200 miles), you’re entitled to 400 Euro compensation if you’re delayed by at least three hours
  • If your flight covers a distance of over 3,500km (2,200 miles), you’re entitled to 600 Euro compensation if you’re delayed by at least four hours

So as you can see, the longer the flight, the longer the delay has to be in order to get compensated. However, you’re also potentially going to get more compensation.

There are a couple more details to be aware of:

  • A delay is calculated based on the time that you arrive at your gate and the doors open, rather than based on when you touch down at your destination
  • Furthermore, the delay is calculated based on how late you reach your final destination; in other words, if you’re flying from Berlin to Frankfurt to New York, and your Berlin to Frankfurt flight is delayed by an hour and causes you to miss your connecting flight and arrive in New York at least four hours late, you’d be entitled to cash compensation
EU261 compensation can get you up to 600 Euro

Which delays qualify for EU261 compensation?

If you’re looking for compensation through EU261, you’re entitled to that for any delay or cancelation that isn’t due to “extraordinary circumstances.” The issue is that this can be a bit of a gray area, and airlines have been known to play games. That’s because what constitutes “extraordinary circumstances” isn’t explicitly defined.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Weather delays, air traffic control delays, delays due to strikes, delays due to political instability, etc., would be considered extraordinary circumstances, so EU261 compensation wouldn’t apply
  • A mechanical problem, a late inbound aircraft, a crew-related delay, etc., wouldn’t be considered extraordinary circumstances, so EU261 compensation would apply
Extraordinary circumstances aren’t eligible for compensation

Do flight cancelations qualify for EU261 compensation?

Not only does the above compensation apply if your flight is delayed, but it also applies if it’s canceled. EU261 compensation applies in the event that your flight is canceled within 14 days of departure. If your flight is canceled further out than that, then the compensation wouldn’t apply.

Furthermore, as is the case with delays, extraordinary circumstances are excluded from being eligible for compensation.

Flight cancelations also qualify for EU261 compensation

How do you claim EU261 compensation?

Claiming EU261 compensation is potentially the tricky part, as airlines often do everything in their power to get out of paying this compensation. There are two general ways you can approach this:

  • You can contact the airline to try to claim EU261 compensation, and some airlines have forms on their websites through which this can be done
  • You can use a third party service that helps consumers with this, though they usually take a significant cut; I’ve never used one of these so can’t personally vouch for any, but you can easily find them online

I’d always recommend doing everything in your power to request the compensation directly, so you can keep the entire amount. If you’re going to claim EU261 compensation, a few things to keep in mind:

  • This isn’t something you need to do at the airport, so don’t take this up with airport staff, but rather take it up with customer relations after the fact
  • I’d recommend keeping as much documentation as possible, including taking pictures of the flight status page reflecting the delay, keeping boarding passes, etc.
  • Expect that airlines may try to do everything in their power to get out of paying this compensation; this can include claiming that there were “extraordinary circumstances,” just not responding for a long time, etc.
You can claim EU261 compensation directly with an airline

Does EU261 cover hotels & meals?

Not only does EU261 offer cash compensation in the event of a delay or cancelation, but it also offers passengers other forms of assistance, including:

  • Hotel accommodation in the event of an overnight delay, including transport to & from the hotel
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Two telephone calls or emails

This should be offered proactively in the event of a significant delay or cancelation. There’s no promise of how efficiently any of this will be offered, though. For example, if you have a flight canceled at an outstation (non-hub airport), you might have two agents trying to work on hotels for hundreds of passengers, which could take hours. So be prepared to be patient.

What’s also nice is that the duty of care applies even if the delay or cancelation is due to extraordinary circumstances. So if your flight is delayed overnight due to weather, you’d still be owed a hotel room.

EU261 compensation should also cover hotels

Should EU261 compensation impact how you plan travel?

As I said, EU261 is the most consumer friendly government regulations out there when it comes to flight delays and cancelations. In the United States, airlines can delay your flight by 12 hours or cancel your flight, and you’re entitled to exactly zero dollars compensation. So it’s great to see that in at least some part of the world there’s some protection for consumers.

EU261 compensation certainly makes me feel less frustrated in situations where my flight is delayed or canceled. But I think there’s also an interesting angle here in general, which might put consumers at ease.

Many European airports have unrealistically short minimum connection times, and then they encourage passengers to book very short connections. Often people will misconnect, though perhaps one silver lining here is that you could end up getting EU261 compensation.

As mentioned above, the length of the delay is measured based on how late you arrive at your final destination. Say you’re flying Lufthansa from Chicago to Munich to Berlin with a 45 minute connection. If your Chicago to Munich flight is delayed by an hour (causing you to misconnect), and you end up being rebooked on another flight that gets you to Berlin more than four hours late, you’d be entitled to 600 Euro cash compensation.

That certainly takes the sting out of misconnecting a bit…

EU261 compensation takes the sting out of misconnecting

Bottom line

The European Union has the most consumer friendly rules that you’ll find anywhere in the world when it comes to flight delays and cancelations. Under EU rules, you’re entitled to 600 Euro in cash compensation in the event that you’re traveling long haul and arrive at your destination at least four hours behind schedule.

While there are some terms to be aware of, in many ways the rules are as good as they sound. Actually getting an airline to pay, especially in a timely manner, could be a different story, though.

Hopefully the above is a useful rundown of how EU261 works. While there’s a bit more nuance, I tried to strike the right balance between keeping this brief and easy, and being thorough.

Have you ever been able to get EU261 compensation? If so, what was your experience like?

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  1. Bernie Guest

    What about this scenario? My Chicago to Frankfurt flight on United was delayed, causing me to miss my Lufthansa (booked as a UA code share) flight to Geneva. Am I entitled to EU261 compensation?

  2. Ramona Guest

    I am cofounder of a 3rd party company dealing with these claims for almost 7 years.
    Indeed, if the departure of the trip is within EU , then irrespective which sector is delayed ( even the one fully outside EU) , compensation is due. Moreover , the rescheduling of the trip with at least 1 hour prior the scheduled departure will be assessed as cancellation and is eligible for compensation .

  3. Ian Gardiner Guest

    Within European skies this does have a regular (in my experience) negative impact…… eg because a 3 hour delay means lots of compensation but a 2 1/2 hour delay means no problems, airlines are happy to change their schedules last minute making eight flights delay by 2 1/2 hours rather than letting one flight delay by over 3 hours. Mess with the market and it kicks back with its own solution!

  4. Adam Guest

    Don’t forget this applies to “denied boarding” too. I was bumped from a BA flight HKG-LHR when they changed the A380 to a 777, so not enough seats. I was rerouted on QR via Doha. This entitled me to EU261 compensation but I had to fight for it, with several letters and eventually threatening legal action.

  5. polarbear Member

    Ben,

    Good article, but as few mentioned here, I think clarification on marketing/operating/codeshare airline would be helpful here.

  6. Dixieboz Guest

    Does anybody know if there is a time limit? After reading this I realize my family should have applied for an EU261 claim for a flight last October. Our flight was cancelled from Porto to Amsterdam, and we missed our connection from AMS to ATL. I know, I should have known better! And it of course took months to be reimbursed for the hotel in AMS we got to in the middle of the night.

    1. HML Guest

      It's about two years. Officially I don't think there is one but unofficially each airline does their own.
      I once coordinated a group trip of about 40 people and the flight home was cancelled and I did this for most of them (I had to get releases for each one which took time and as I got them I sent them along but after about two years the airline said no more).

    2. Klaus Guest

      36 months. And that’s official.

    3. Ramona Guest

      The timeframe that you can claim the compensation depends as well on the terms & conditions agreed when booking the trip . However, the most important "deadline " is the one that is mentioned under the jurisdiction where a court case can be filed. Competent courts can be in the country where the passenger is citizen OR , the country where the departure took place , OR the country where the airline is registered (...

      The timeframe that you can claim the compensation depends as well on the terms & conditions agreed when booking the trip . However, the most important "deadline " is the one that is mentioned under the jurisdiction where a court case can be filed. Competent courts can be in the country where the passenger is citizen OR , the country where the departure took place , OR the country where the airline is registered ( using the one that is most convenient for the traveller).

  7. Eddie Guest

    I just went through submitting a EU261 claim last week through BA's website in connection with a delayed flight from this past December.  BA promptly confirmed within 24 hours that my family was entitled to 1,000 Euros compensation (4 passengers @ 250 Euros).  Kudos to BA for the prompt response and the very simple claim filing process--I just had to input our flight details, reservation code, and bank information for the refund,

  8. Mark Share Guest

    Pre-CoVid, my wife and I were flying from Cape Town to London on British Airways. The flight was delayed numerous times. I began researching EU261 and went on the British Airways website and filed the proper paperwork. The plane finally took off. When we landed in London the 1200 Euros had already been deposited in our bank account.

  9. Nick Guest

    Nobody has mentioned Covid related delays as yet, I had 4 flights cancelled on me at Xmas ex LHR and no compensation from any of the airlines, which is probably fair enough given what was happening to crew availability, but important to mention given the UK has another surge right now

  10. Gaston Guest

    Fun fact : 600€ compensation only applies to international travel.

    Domestic long haul flights (typically to the Carribbean) are only eligible to 400€

    1. Klaus Guest

      There are three types of flights, and yes, you are correct. Flying from Amsterdam to Sint Maarten will give you a max of 400€.

      Not sure about Paris to New Caledonia since you will have some refueling stop outside EU.
      (Also not sure about the Falkland Island flights departing from Brize Norton. Is that considered a domestic flight?)

      1)
      Flights of less than 1,500 km (930 mi) in distance;
      2 hours Delay

      There are three types of flights, and yes, you are correct. Flying from Amsterdam to Sint Maarten will give you a max of 400€.

      Not sure about Paris to New Caledonia since you will have some refueling stop outside EU.
      (Also not sure about the Falkland Island flights departing from Brize Norton. Is that considered a domestic flight?)

      1)
      Flights of less than 1,500 km (930 mi) in distance;
      2 hours Delay
      250€

      2)
      Flights within the EU of greater than 1,500 km (930 mi) in distance, or any other flight of greater than 1,500 km (930 mi) but less than 3,500 km (2,200 mi) in distance;
      3 hours delay
      400€

      3)
      Flights not within the EU of greater than 3,500 km (2,200 mi) in distance.
      4 hours
      600€

  11. Jesper Guest

    @Ben for the record, EU261 does not apply in the UK.
    After the brexit transition period UK implemented a separate piece of legislation containing basically the same conditions, and bound by the same case precedent established prior to 31.12.2020. Colloquially known as UK261. But the two are now separate pieces of legislation with separate developments. Any case precedent established in the EU from 01.01.2021 is not applicable in the UK, and vice versa any...

    @Ben for the record, EU261 does not apply in the UK.
    After the brexit transition period UK implemented a separate piece of legislation containing basically the same conditions, and bound by the same case precedent established prior to 31.12.2020. Colloquially known as UK261. But the two are now separate pieces of legislation with separate developments. Any case precedent established in the EU from 01.01.2021 is not applicable in the UK, and vice versa any case precedent established in the UK after that date is not applicable in the EU. Similarly for any amendments to the text past that date.

    So, UK has an almost identical piece of legislation, but EU261 is no longer applicable in the UK.

  12. Janet Guest

    A few years ago I had a flight from Paris to Boston delayed and it qualified for EU261. Delta actually provided printed instructions to apply while we were in flight. I had absolutely no problem getting the 600 euros!

  13. LifeByTheMile Guest

    I was on a WestJet flight from LGW to YYC then a hop over to YVR. The LGW to YYC flight was delayed by 2-3hrs so we were rebooked on the last flight home of the night to YVR, ended up just over 5hrs late. WestJet tried to wiggle out of the EU261 compensation saying it was a bird strike that caused the delay.

    I ended up filing a complaint with the British CAA stating...

    I was on a WestJet flight from LGW to YYC then a hop over to YVR. The LGW to YYC flight was delayed by 2-3hrs so we were rebooked on the last flight home of the night to YVR, ended up just over 5hrs late. WestJet tried to wiggle out of the EU261 compensation saying it was a bird strike that caused the delay.

    I ended up filing a complaint with the British CAA stating (with screenshots showing the exact movements of the plane) that the bird strike happen the previous calendar day and 2 segments prior to my flight also had delays (happened on a LGW to YYZ flight which delayed the YYZ to YYC flight, delayed the incoming YYC to LGW, etc). I argued that there was a precedent set a few years previous that if there is an opportunity for the airline to swap out the plane then it was deemed to be within their control and not "extraordinary circumstances". If the strike happened to the inbound flight to LGW, it would have been a different story. As WestJet chose to take the successive delays rather than swapping out the aircraft, my stance was that the delay in getting to YVR was within their control.

    2 months after filing the complaint with the CAA, and no further communication, I had deposit into my bank account for the CAD equivalent of 600EUR.

  14. Diane S. Guest

    I received compensation along with reimbursement for lodging, meals and taxi. In 2017 BA’s worldwide computer system went down while I was waiting for my flight out of Pisa. We were told we were on our own for hotel. The next day I was able to get a flight to London where the same thing happened. I kept my receipts. It was a challenge to get the compensation and expenses, but I did not give up. Lots of paperwork required. My compensation was $680 plus expenses.

  15. E. Guest

    I lost a lot of money stuck in a crappy airside CDG hotel last month. Couldn't get on a flight til the following day (initial flight into CDG was delayed). No restaurants open except a caviar bar. I get no compensation. It's super awesome!

    1. Klaus Guest

      The trip was on a EU airline?

    2. Samo Guest

      You may not get compensation if the delay occured due to vis major, but you are still entitled to care from the airline, e.g. getting your hotel and food paid.

  16. M. Guest

    Based in Germany and beimg forced to fly LH group airlines sometimes, I had my share of EU261 claims with them. The most important thing is to not let them off the hook. They have to pay and will pay - even if it takes some weeks of time and a laywer sueing them. At least in Germany (and starting your travel there and/or flying Lufthansa), it is more than just possible to push through.

    ...

    Based in Germany and beimg forced to fly LH group airlines sometimes, I had my share of EU261 claims with them. The most important thing is to not let them off the hook. They have to pay and will pay - even if it takes some weeks of time and a laywer sueing them. At least in Germany (and starting your travel there and/or flying Lufthansa), it is more than just possible to push through.

    One thing that is often missed is that EU261 is there to help customers even if a compensation is not due (change or cancelled flight more than 14 days before): The right of alternative transportation 'at the next possible flight' under 'comparable circumstances'. And yes, that is irrespective of which airline operates this next flight.

    I once had an argument with Lufthansa. I was booked in first class on FRA-HKG when they put their A340-600 out of service en route to Hongkong two months out, meaning they could not offer first class. But they also did not want to let me cancel my ticket for a refund...

    So I insisted on being rebooked to the next flight that day to offer first class - which was Cathay Pacific. They did not want to do that, but after some from and to and involving a laywer we reached a settlement which I am not free to speak about, but I am happy with.

    There is even a case when EW refused boarding to a German soccer player to Mallorca. He went straight over to general aviation, leased a private jet and - as I heard - reached an agreement with EW afterwards to cover at least some of the 20.000 EUR bill.

    M.

  17. iamhere Guest

    The chance of qualifying is low - e.g. delay or cancellation, but usually there is a reason behind it. Also, what if you are flying United to the EU but purchased the ticket via Lufthansa, would that count?

    1. Klaus Guest

      No, wouldn’t count.
      Flying from Cali to Bogota with Avianca on a Lufthansa ticket (award flight) would also not count.

    2. ken Guest

      i read in VFTW recently that thre was a court ruling that the pax are entitled for compensation for codeshare flights. So if one flies UA but the flight is sold as LH fllight as a codeshare agreement, the pax is entitled for compensation. Not sure who will pay the compensation though...United will probably say they won't...

    3. Klaus Guest

      Hello Ken,
      I just checked again and a codeshare flight (e.g. LH7902 operated by UA160) would not be eligible. Reason: this flight started outside EU and was operated by a non-Eu airline.

  18. Weymar Osborne Gold

    What form do these reimbursements come in? Chargeback to your credit card? Do you get a check in the mail? Or maybe you get a choice? Is there any extra hoops to if you live outside/don't have a bank account in the Eurozone?

    1. Klaus Guest

      You submit your bank details and the money is transferred.

    2. Diane S. Guest

      I received a check in U.S. dollars.

    3. Samo Guest

      Normally they just send money to your bank account, pretty much anywhere in the world (some places like NK, Iran or Russia may be excluded due to the lack of bank infrastructure). I can't really see any other feasible way to handle this.

  19. HkCaGu Guest

    Demonstrating knowledge of 261 can get you places on time. I was flying HEL-ARN-OSL-BGO, and HEL-ARN was going to be an hour late causing me to misconnect. The first agent I talked to looked up my itinerary and told me I’d be more than 2 hours late and refused my request to re-route. Then I went to the HEL-OSL gate and requested to re-route instead of becoming eligible for compensation, and they gladly moved me and even called downstairs to retag my bag.

  20. Gregor Guest

    Note that a european court ruled in 2018 that not ALL stikes are extraordinary. If it was in the power of the airline to ease the strike but chose to not accept a certain offer it can be counted as non extraordinary.
    But in niche cases like this I would always go throu a thrid party, since they know what buttons to push, even if you get a little less in the end...

  21. Klaus Guest

    Hello Ben,

    a further remark. There was a ruling about connection flights at the European Court (Ruling C-561/20).
    The travellers from Belgium were traveling fro, Brussels to Newark to San José with United Airlines. Their flight from Brussels to Newark was on time, but the flight from Newark to San José was delayed due to technical issues. All flights were operated by United Airlines, but since they started in Europe the passengers received a...

    Hello Ben,

    a further remark. There was a ruling about connection flights at the European Court (Ruling C-561/20).
    The travellers from Belgium were traveling fro, Brussels to Newark to San José with United Airlines. Their flight from Brussels to Newark was on time, but the flight from Newark to San José was delayed due to technical issues. All flights were operated by United Airlines, but since they started in Europe the passengers received a compensation of 600€ each.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      This was absolute insanity and should be shut down by the FAA / US Government. That's a completely domestic flight. While I may be in agreement with some compensation, having a foreign government make a ruling that effects US businesses while conducting business in the US is about as wrong as wrong gets.

    2. Icarus Guest

      Costa Rica or California? Nevertheless, you have to consider the passengers were flying from the EU.

    3. Klaus Guest

      No, it is not insane. The journey started in EU and the airline has to follow EU rules!

      What is insane: you do not get compensation if you fly from Newark to Rome With United, but you get compensation if you fly ITA. That is not exactly fair competition

    4. Samo Guest

      They are not conducting business only in the US, they sold a ticket originating in the EU. Thus EU has jurisdiction on consumer rights in relation to such ticket.

      EU doesn't apply it's laws on purely US itineraries.

    5. ken Guest

      one thing that I don't understand about this ruling is that we already knew that they were entitled before the ruling, so what is this court ruling actually mean? VFTW said it has implications on codeshare flights but I can't find any info on that

  22. Klaus Guest

    Dear Ben,

    you should also mention that the compensation can be claimed bia the national cosnumer boards. I did sent you an email about that after your Eurowings flight including the website of the European Union where you can submit the claims. I never received an answer from you (which made me cry since it took some time to write it ),

    Anyway, the consumber boards are fantastic. It is crazy to see how much...

    Dear Ben,

    you should also mention that the compensation can be claimed bia the national cosnumer boards. I did sent you an email about that after your Eurowings flight including the website of the European Union where you can submit the claims. I never received an answer from you (which made me cry since it took some time to write it ),

    Anyway, the consumber boards are fantastic. It is crazy to see how much work they put into their analysis for each claim. Fun fact: If you win, the airline has to pay the lawyer at the consumer board. And if you loose the airline also has to be the lawyer at the consumer board.
    And yes, these consumer boards are independant from the airline. The airlines are obliged to offer them and as you can see here, they are not well known.

    1. Gary Hal Hohenstein Guest

      Can you send a link for the National Consumer Boards? I usually fly Germany to New YOrk.

  23. Daniel Guest

    In case they refuse to pay compensation (or don't answer at all and you have waited for at least two months), you can still choose to use one of the third party services, but there's also another option: the public transport mediation body.

    For Germany you can find an online form here (other countries should have something similar):
    https://soep-online.de/en/your-conciliation-request/online-form-flight/
    Not all airlines participate, but quite a lot (Delta, United, Lufthansa...).
    In this...

    In case they refuse to pay compensation (or don't answer at all and you have waited for at least two months), you can still choose to use one of the third party services, but there's also another option: the public transport mediation body.

    For Germany you can find an online form here (other countries should have something similar):
    https://soep-online.de/en/your-conciliation-request/online-form-flight/
    Not all airlines participate, but quite a lot (Delta, United, Lufthansa...).
    In this case the airline will pay the mediation cost and you might still get the full money; alternatively, if the case isn't clear and it might partially be your fault (for example because the first flight was delayed and you didn't hurry enough to reach the connection), they might find a compromise resulting in partial payment.

    At least in the past, the third party services often just use this way as well in order to avoid having work themselves. Not sure if they still do it, I think there were some court rulings against this kind of abuse.

  24. c_metaphorique Guest

    For what it's worth, it's EC261, not EU261. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32004R0261

  25. Daniel B. Guest

    3 years ago from ZRH to BUD we flew Swiss. Flight was delayed by over 3 hours. Gate monitor displayed mechanical issues. I took pictures of the screen. They swapped planes twice. Agents there said to fill out the form for compensation.
    When I submitted my claim, Swiss rejected it saying weather-related was the delay. Then I contacted one of these companies which would try getting it for me, same outcome. Swiss is the...

    3 years ago from ZRH to BUD we flew Swiss. Flight was delayed by over 3 hours. Gate monitor displayed mechanical issues. I took pictures of the screen. They swapped planes twice. Agents there said to fill out the form for compensation.
    When I submitted my claim, Swiss rejected it saying weather-related was the delay. Then I contacted one of these companies which would try getting it for me, same outcome. Swiss is the worst, weaseling out of paying the compensation. Once they claim weather related, there is nothing you can do. They do not even accept their own documented "mechanical issue" proof.

    1. Andy Diamond

      Same experience here. In case of Swiss, the first step is to claim with them (which usually results in a rejected claim, but make sure you keep a copy/printout of the reject). Then contact FOCA, the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation and claim again. Then Swiss usually pays "something", i.e. not exactly the amount stated, but close enough that you are not going to litigate for perhaps 20 Francs ...

    2. Daniel B. Guest

      Thanks. I guess now after 3 years they will not take up my case...... What do you think?

    3. Fabio Guest

      The game "who is the judge?" is where EU261 fails miserably. I mean: a long delay in a sunny day should pay the consumer, but if the airline (they love to hide a real direct contact method, do not let exhaust you!) says "it was a weather issue and I will not pay you"? What happens now? Nobody helps you.

    4. Klaus Guest

      @andy:
      You can claim it up to 36 months.

      @fabio:
      You can sue the airline or you submit your claim via the national consumer board.

  26. Chris K Gold

    Friday night at Logan Airport before school vacation week in Feb 2020. Set to fly out in business with my son on TAP Portugal to Munich via Lisbon. Sitting in the priority pass lounge in Terminal C when I hear that our flight is cancelled which was weird as the plane was at the gate. I beeline with him to the TAP Portugal bag check in area. We were maybe 4th in line. Absolute pandemonium...

    Friday night at Logan Airport before school vacation week in Feb 2020. Set to fly out in business with my son on TAP Portugal to Munich via Lisbon. Sitting in the priority pass lounge in Terminal C when I hear that our flight is cancelled which was weird as the plane was at the gate. I beeline with him to the TAP Portugal bag check in area. We were maybe 4th in line. Absolute pandemonium and still took 45 minutes to speak to someone. I swear we got the last 2 seats to Europe (albeit coach) that night on Virgin to UK and then BA to Munich. Not sure how they pulled it off but I was extremely thankful. I ended up using a 3rd party service and ended up getting back close to 1,000 Euro. I heard from folks on the plane back (we were on TAP) that many got routed through JFK, EWR but were delayed at least a day.

  27. James Guest

    It isn't 2 hours for the shortest distance - still 3 hours. Airlines are obligated to provide food/assistance after 2 hours for flights under 1,500km but they don't need to provide compensation until the delay hits 3 hours, last time I checked. I think it's also 3 hours for compensation for the longer flights, too: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm#delay

  28. Icarus Guest

    Sorry, but the distance is not based on that between capitals ? It’s based on the the point of departure and arrival using the great circle route. So if you fly from Belfast via Amsterdam to Los Angeles it’s from Belfast to LA not London to Washington

  29. Zebraitis Guest

    So... as I read this, as an American, and a frequent American Airlines flier, any flights to the EU (or UK) should ABSOLUTELY be booked on an EU/OneWorld carrier -- on that carrier's metal, with that carrier's flight number... and only then finally adding the AA FF#.
    Triple benefits:
    1) Covered by EU261
    2) Likely more Loyalty Points on the long-haul flights calculated by distance and class, rather than fare cost.
    ...

    So... as I read this, as an American, and a frequent American Airlines flier, any flights to the EU (or UK) should ABSOLUTELY be booked on an EU/OneWorld carrier -- on that carrier's metal, with that carrier's flight number... and only then finally adding the AA FF#.
    Triple benefits:
    1) Covered by EU261
    2) Likely more Loyalty Points on the long-haul flights calculated by distance and class, rather than fare cost.
    3) Depending on status likely better access to airport clubs based on OneWorld requirements.

    Have I got that right?

    1. Icarus Guest

      The operating carrier. So if it’s a BA flight number operated by AA only from the EU /U.K. not to

  30. Phillip Member

    Worth noting that for the time being the U.K. has adopted the EU261 compensation policy although it could at some point change.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Phillip -- Good catch about the UK. Just added that to the post, thanks.

  31. Roberto Guest

    Hello, just wondering if you or anyone knows, does this apply to NRSA travellers? If anyone has any experience with this on a NRSA itinerary I'd love to hear about it.

    1. Icarus Guest

      Non revenue. Of course not

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Roberto -- Nope, it doesn't apply to any sort of staff travel.

  32. Eli Guest

    What about traveling from TLV-CDG-JFK on Air France and the first flight was delayed?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Eli -- That would be covered, since Air France is an EU-based airline.

    2. Icarus Guest

      Sorry no. Even if AF is an eu carrier, eu 261 doesn’t apply unless it’s from an eu country, irrespective of the fact it’s an eu carrier. You can use the Israeli regulation, depending on the length of delay

    3. Icarus Guest

      No as Tel Aviv is not in the EU. Israel has a separate regulations

      So if you fly Delhi Frankfurt New York eu 261 doesn’t apply as you’re flying from and to non eu countries

    4. Klaus Guest

      It’s covered because it’s a EU airline.
      Your Air France flight from New York to Paris would also be covered. You Delta flight from New York to Paris would not be covered.

      Two rules:
      1) Airline from EU
      2) Or Non-EU airline starting in EU

    5. Icarus Guest

      No sorry it’s not if you are commencing your journey outside the EU.

      If you fly Lufthansa New Delhi transit Frankfurt New York, and the Delhi Frankfurt has a tech delay causing you to miss the New York flight, EC261 cannot be enforced since the journey commenced and terminated outside the EU.

    6. bill Guest

      This isn't true. I've received EC261 from BA when my BOM-LHR flight was delayed for mechanical reasons and caused me to miss my LHR-BOS connection.

    7. Klaus Guest

      If you fly Brussels from Dakar to Banju you would still receive it because the airline is from EU.

      Two rules:
      1) Airline from EU
      2) Or Non-EU airline starting in EU

    8. Icarus Guest

      You were lucky. They don’t have to. The regulation states commencing or terminating in the EU.

    9. roman Guest

      Recent European Court Decision of Feb 2022 excluded Non EU departures - arrivals airports from EC 261 even when flights are operated by EU airline, like AF or BA. BKK - FRA - JFK on LH would not qualify anymore.

  33. staradmiral Guest

    I had a successful EU261 compensation claim with LOT airlines
    Flew Istanbul to Warsaw and flight was delayed until the next day (so overnight), due to a mechanical problem with the plane. The compensation covered the entire cost of the round trip ticket, and overnight hotel was paid by airline.
    Always mention EU261 when filing a claim.

  34. Khatl Gold

    Had an issue recently where a flight from Paris to London was delayed just over 3 hours. While they offered a food voucher, only received it after the flight had departed. Applied directly to BA - they have a form you can complete on their website. Took them a couple of weeks to respond, but they agreed compensation was due and indicated it would take 7-10 business days to process. However, it was actually deposited...

    Had an issue recently where a flight from Paris to London was delayed just over 3 hours. While they offered a food voucher, only received it after the flight had departed. Applied directly to BA - they have a form you can complete on their website. Took them a couple of weeks to respond, but they agreed compensation was due and indicated it would take 7-10 business days to process. However, it was actually deposited the next day. I was surprised how painless it was, given some of the stories I have heard about Ryanair and others.

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Klaus Guest

Hello Ben, a further remark. There was a ruling about connection flights at the European Court (Ruling C-561/20). The travellers from Belgium were traveling fro, Brussels to Newark to San José with United Airlines. Their flight from Brussels to Newark was on time, but the flight from Newark to San José was delayed due to technical issues. All flights were operated by United Airlines, but since they started in Europe the passengers received a compensation of 600€ each.

3
Eddie Guest

I just went through submitting a EU261 claim last week through BA's website in connection with a delayed flight from this past December.  BA promptly confirmed within 24 hours that my family was entitled to 1,000 Euros compensation (4 passengers @ 250 Euros).  Kudos to BA for the prompt response and the very simple claim filing process--I just had to input our flight details, reservation code, and bank information for the refund,

2
Gregor Guest

Note that a european court ruled in 2018 that not ALL stikes are extraordinary. If it was in the power of the airline to ease the strike but chose to not accept a certain offer it can be counted as non extraordinary. But in niche cases like this I would always go throu a thrid party, since they know what buttons to push, even if you get a little less in the end...

2
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