From security and long lines to delays and cancellations, traveling by air can be quite a hassle. It’s rare that your day of travel goes off without a hitch, so having some form of protection in the rough circumstances is necessary. Thanks to the EU261 regulation, passengers are protected in the case of delays and cancellations and could be eligible for financial compensation.

But, there are a few requirements that must be met before you can claim your reimbursement from the airline. We’ll be taking a look at what circumstances are eligible for financial compensation under EU261 and what situations are not. One of the determining factors of whether or not your flight delay qualifies is how long your flight was delayed for. So, how long do passengers have to wait before the delay entitles them to reimbursement?

Breaking Down Prices By Delay Length

Three hours is the mark at which you can claim financial compensation. If your flight was delayed for less than three hours, then you won’t be eligible but once it hits that three-hour point, you could file a claim and receive your money back. The longer you have to wait for your flight to take off, the more money you could be eligible to earn from a flight delay claim.

A delay lasting 3-4 hours could earn you anywhere from €250 to €400 depending on the distance of the flight. Flights that are delayed four or more hours could earn you anywhere from €250 to €600 depending on the distance of the flight. Finally, if your flight was cancelled and never arrived, you could be eligible for €250 to €600 depending on the distance of the now-cancelled, flight.

The unfortunate thing about this breakdown is that flights delayed for 10 hours are eligible for the same compensation as those delayed for four. It’s an exponential relationship, but only up to a certain point.

Breaking Down Prices By Distance

While the length of delay determines whether or not you get compensation, the distance is what determines how much compensation you could earn. Much like with the length of the delay, as the distance of the flight grows, the amount you could earn does as well. The further away from your destination, the more money you could earn.

Here is a quick breakdown of the potential earnings of a delay based on the distance of the flight:

For flights that are 1,500 KM or less, passengers could be eligible for up to €250. If your flight was from a country in the European Union to another country in the EU for a distance of more than 1,500 KM, you could earn up to €400. Non-internal flights ranging from 1,500 KM to 3,500 KM are also eligible for up to €400. If your flight is non-internal and is more than 3,500 KM in distance, then you could be eligible for up to €600 in compensation from a delay.

Earning the Essentials

There are more protections granted by the EU261 regulation than just compensation for delays. If your flight is delayed, the airline will be responsible for the essentials. This means that if you have to wait around the airport for a while, you could receive meals, drinks, and access to communication from the airline for free.

If you require overnight accommodations, the airline is required to provide you access to a hotel room if available. This all depends on the circumstances of your delayed flight, as with reimbursement, but it is something to inquire about when your flight is delayed for a while.