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Flight Delay and Cancellation Compensation: All You Need to Know

EU regulations on delayed flights and cancelled flights help protect the rights of air passengers in EU member states. While the average flight delay at some airports in the UK and other EU member states is concerning, it shouldn’t be at the cost of the passenger’s convenience. If your flight has ever been disrupted, this article tells you all you need to know about getting compensated.

The EU Regulation 261/2004

The EU regulation 261/2004 is the European Union law that confirms that flight disruption causes a great inconvenience to the passenger. This includes flight delays, flight cancellations, and denied boarding due to overbooking. If you have been a victim of any of these situations, this law is there to guide you and ensure you are duly compensated. Under this regulation, you may be entitled to compensation worth €600 per person.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the compensation under the EC 261 regulation, you must meet the eligibility criteria. This includes:

  • You have a valid ticket and booking confirmation.
  • You started your trip at an EU airport or landing at one, with an airline headquartered in the EU.
  • You were not informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before the departure date.
  • For a flight delay, you had already checked in at least 45 minutes before the initial departure time.

As long as you meet these criteria, the regulation applies to you. It doesn’t matter if you are using a low-cost airline, on a business trip, or booked on a package holiday. If you’re flying on a free or reduced ticket, it must be a deal available to the public for you to qualify. If it’s under customer loyalty or promotional programmes, you are still entitled to compensation.

What Are You Entitled to?

Under the EC regulation 261/2004, you are entitled to the following:

  • Monetary compensation between €250 and €600 per person based on the flight distance.
  • Access to basic services such as a pass to the airport lounge, free WiFi connection, and telephone service.
  • Access to complimentary food and drinks for a delay of two or more hours.
  • Free hotel booking if the flight disruption causes you to inevitably spend the night at the airport.
  • The right to request a seat on another flight or withdraw from the flight entirely. This is only possible if you’ve been delayed for more than 5 hours or the flight has been cancelled.
  • The right to be informed of your rights under the EC 261 law and be notified of any delays or cancellations.

The specific amount you get compensated with is dependent on the flight distance, as calculated below:

  • Short distance – Below 1500km – €250 compensation
  • Medium distance – Between 1500km and 3500km – €400 compensation
  • Long distance – Over 3500km – €600 compensation

Bottom Line

If you’re a frequent traveller, you probably have had to deal with an unpleasant flight disruption. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, don’t be afraid to request compensation, as you are well within your rights to do so. Contact the airline to get the process started or hire a lawyer to help you with it.

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