As a passenger, you are entitled to certain rights and regulations while traveling. Thanks to laws passed by the European Union in 2004, airline abuse of passengers is subject to financial compensation – this includes any delays or cancellations that could have otherwise been prevented. But what about that delayed flight from a couple of years ago? Can you still claim financial compensation for your lost time this long after the delay occurred?
Well, there are many factors that go into deciding whether you’re still eligible for financial compensation from the airline. Some countries in the EU have extended windows to file your claim – some as long as 5-years after the delay. Other countries require you to file your claim within a year of the event. Let’s take a closer look at each country to see whether or not you can still file a delayed flight claim under EU261.
- Passengers are entitled to financial compensation for delays or cancellations caused by something the airline had control over. This includes overbookings and involuntary bumpings, but not extraneous circumstances like weather or worker strikes.
- The amount of time a passenger has to file a claim for flight delay compensation varies by country, with some allowing up to 10 years and others only 1 year. Passengers should be aware of their country’s specific time limit and file their claim accordingly.
- When determining which time limit applies to their case, passengers should go by the country the airline is based out of rather than the one they’re flying to. This is because airlines generally follow the laws of their home country.
Is Your Flight Eligible For Delay Compensation?
We’ll start by seeing what makes a flight eligible for financial compensation in the first place. The general rule of thumb is that if the delay or cancellation was caused by something the airline had control over, you are likely entitled to flight compensation. However, if the issue was caused by extraneous circumstances, you might not be able to claim a reimbursement.
Worker strikes, police intervention, security threats, and some types of weather are all examples of extraneous circumstances that don’t qualify the delayed flight for compensation. If any of these are the cause for the delay, chances are you won’t be eligible for reimbursement under EU261. However, overbookings and involuntary bumpings will certainly qualify you for compensation from the airlines.
For the EU261 law to cover you in the first place, your flight must be either taking off or landing in a European country. If your flight is outside of European jurisdiction and isn’t hosted by a European airline, then you might not be protected and eligible for reimbursement in the first place.
Different Countries Have Different Limits
Now, if your flight was delayed for more than four hours, qualifies for EU261 protection, and was due to a mistake made by the airline, you’re eligible for financial compensation. You don’t have to claim this compensation right away, but there are limits as to how long you can wait. Here is a breakdown of how long you have to file your claim in the EU.
Certain countries like Belgium and Poland require you to file your claim within a year of the incident. Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Croatia, and Iceland all have a 2-year limit in place for passengers. Three years are offered by Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Germany, and Sweden.
In Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Spain, and Scotland the limit is 5-years. For Cyprus and Ireland, you have up to 6-years and in Luxembourg, you can wait up to 10 years to file your claim.
The United Kingdom has transferred protections from the EU261 law to their updated UK261 law. Under this law, passengers have the same protections from when the UK was part of the EU. You have up to 6 years to file your claim against the airline when living in the UK.
In deciding which set of laws applies to your case, go with the country that the airline was based out of. If you’re flying from Iceland to Cyprus, then you should assume that you have a 2-year limit rather than Cyprus’s 6-year limit. Chances are that the airliner follows the laws of the country they’re based out of rather than the one they’re flying to.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the EU261 law?
The EU261 law provides financial compensation to passengers for delays or cancellations caused by something the airline had control over. It applies to flights taking off or landing in a European country.
What makes a flight eligible for compensation under EU261?
If the delay or cancellation was caused by something the airline had control over, such as overbooking or a mistake made by the airline, the passenger is likely entitled to compensation.
How long do I have to file a claim for flight delay compensation?
The time limit for filing a claim varies by country, ranging from 1 year to 10 years. Passengers should know their country’s specific time limit and file their claims accordingly.
What happens if I miss the deadline for filing a claim?
If you miss the deadline for filing a claim, you may not be able to receive compensation for your delayed flight.
Does the time limit for filing a claim depend on the country I’m flying to or from?
Passengers should go by the country the airline is based in rather than the one they’re flying to when determining which time limit applies to their case. Airlines generally follow the laws of their home country.