A flight delay costs time and can be expensive. Nevertheless, as a passenger in the EU, you have special entitlements and rights to compensation.

the essentials in brief

    • If there is a longer flight delay, you as a passenger have that Right to Benefits and Compensation Payments.
    • Also the Distance that should be traveled by planeplays an important role in compensation payments.
    • If the flight was delayed by more than three hours, you are entitled to between 250 euros and 600 euros in compensation.
    • In the Montreal Convention determines how high any compensation payments must be and what other obligations the airline has in the event of a flight delay.
    • The airline does not have to pay if the delay is not your responsibility, such as a strike by airport staff or severe weather.

When are you entitled to compensation?

From a waiting time of two hours, there is initially only a right to be provided with drinks and snacks. You are entitled to financial compensation if your flight was delayed by more than three hours and you departed from a European country. This also applies if you have landed in an EU member state and the airline is based in Europe. The EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation applies to these flights.

Amount of compensation

Ultimately, the amount of compensation depends on the total length of the delay and ranges from €250 to €600. In addition, there is a right to compensation if the connecting flight was missed due to the delay – but only if both flights were booked together. If the flight is postponed to the next day, you have the right to overnight accommodation in a hotel, including paid transport to the hotel and back to the airport. But beware: the right to compensation lapses if the flight is delayed or has to be canceled due to extraordinary circumstances.

The sum of the kilometers is calculated using the great circle distance (also known as “linear distance”), not the actual flight distance. Any compensation payments must also be reimbursed to the passenger in financial form – i.e. as a transfer or payment. Vouchers or miles are not acceptable as compensation for flight delays.

In which cases does the airline not have to pay?

An airline does not have to pay anything if the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances. The courts understand this to mean events that the airline cannot control and that are not part of normal flight operations.

Events that the airline cannot control are, for example:

    • storm
    • security risks
    • bird strike
    • mouse on board
    • strike
    • Computer failure at the terminal

How to deal with a flight delay

If your flight was delayed more than three hours and you want to claim compensation, determine your entitlement and write a letter requesting compensation. You can use our free sample letter for compensation payments in the event of a significant flight delay.

If the airline refuses to pay, you can use our telefonic consultancy take advantage of. Our partner lawyers and legal experts will help you to assess your case in an initial discussion and can give you recommendations for action.

In order to be optimally prepared for such cases, you should take a few precautions at the airport in the event of a flight delay:

    • Insist on written confirmation of the flight delay from airline staff, including the reason for the delay
    • During the waiting period, all receipts and expenses should be collected and kept in order to later submit the costs to the airline
    • Use or insist on receiving the benefits offered by the airline if the airline does not fulfill this obligation on its own