Late flight compensation is exactly what it says, it’s compensation you receive when your flight is delayed, but also if it is cancelled or overbooked. These types of circumstances make flying a hassle and can put unneeded stress on airline passengers. Luckily, depending on the reason for your delayed or cancelled flight, you may be entitled to financial recompense.

While different parts of the world have different regulations on flight delays and cancellations, the European Union has a series of rules or rights for passengers flying that can help make your trip less stressful and will tell you if you are entitled to compensation at all.

If your flight is delayed by at least two hours

Under EU regulations if your flight is delayed for at least two hours than the airline is obligated by the “right to care,” to provide simple services. This includes:

  • Refreshments proportionate to the length of your delay. This can be anything from simple snacks and water, to meal vouchers if the delay is longer.
  • Access to a phone or email so you can make other arrangements with relatives, rental places or hotels.
  • Transportation to and from the airport and hotel if you are stranded overnight.

If the airline staff doesn’t take chances to take care of you and they refuse after you ask for their help, you can keep the receipts for any expenses and ask the airline to reimburse you later. However, the only way they may reimburse you for reasonable expenses which means, only anything absolutely necessary.

If your flight is delayed by more than three hours

If your plane is late arriving at your final destination 3 hours or more than planned you also may be entitled to compensation. How much compensation you are entitled to depends on the distance of your flight. If the flight is equal to or less than 1500 kilometers, then you are entitled to €250. If the flight was between 1500 and 3500 kilometers, then you are entitled to €400. And if the flight was 3500 kilometers or more than you are entitled to €600. If your flight was delayed by less than 4 hours and the distance is 3500 kilometers or more, then you are only able to claim half of the amount.

If your flight is delayed by more than five hours

If your flight is delayed for more than 5 hours the airline is obligated to give you a choice of waiting for your place or not taking it and getting a full refund of the flight as well as a full reimbursement of any connecting or return flights on the same airline or a free flight back to the airport where your flight started.

Diverted flights

A diverted flight, or when a plane lands in a different place due to emergency or airline decision, most times you are not entitled to claim compensation. This is because diversions usually happen due to circumstances beyond the airlines control such as weather, problems with the airplane, a medical emergency or other events. You may be entitled to claim delayed flight compensation however, if you miss your connection because the first flight was diverted by events considered everyday.

Requirements to be eligible for delay compensation

There are a few requirements that must be met for you to be entitled to compensation should your flight be delayed. To qualify, your flight must have departed and arrived in a country within the European Union, or the flight must have departed from the EU and arrived outside it on any airline, or the flight departed from outside the EU but arrived in the EU on a European airline. The regulations of the EU include the 28 countries in the European Union in addition to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira and others.

When you will not get delay compensation?

There are some events that will delay your flight but will not entitle you to claim flight compensation.

  • Extreme Weather: Weather is beyond the control of the airline and if a plane must be grounded, there is nothing that can be done.
  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) Restriction: Sometimes it is dangerous to have too many planes arriving and departing so the ATC orders some planes be delayed. This call must be made by the ATC for it to count.
  • Medical Emergency: If a passenger or crew member of the plane gets sick on the flight and requires medical attention, this could lead to the flight getting diverted and does not give you entitlement to compensation.
  • Birds: If the airplane is damaged due to a bird collision and the flight needs to be diverted for repairs this is also considered a circumstance beyond the airlines control.

So in the event that your flight is delayed or cancelled, financial compensation means you are paid for having your flight plans disrupted. Unfortunately there are a few caveats and requirements to being able to claim compensation. Knowing what these are can help you avoid the hassle and stress of claiming what you may be owed.