Due to COVID-19, thousands of flights have been delayed in the last two years. Thus, it is making it troublesome not only for passengers but also for the aviation industry.

Airlines face many challenges to remain profitable in this pandemic due to strict government regulations regarding COVID-19. It has resulted in frequent flight delays, and the airlines try to minimize the damage by offering their passengers vouchers, bonuses, and discounts (as it’s cheaper than providing refunds).

However, if passengers face significant flight delays, it is their right (unless the delay is due to unforeseen circumstances out of the airline’s control) to get compensation in return.

In this article, we will discuss the airline policies, passenger rights, and rules and regulations of the airlines regarding flight delays in different countries.

Key Takeaways

  • Passengers have the right to claim compensation if their flight is delayed for three hours or more due to operational or technical problems, and not because of extraordinary circumstances like bad weather conditions.
  • The amount of compensation for flight delays varies based on the distance of the flight, and airlines may offer different forms of compensation such as cash, meals, accommodation, or a refund of the ticket cost.
  • Regulations related to flight delay compensation vary in different countries, with some countries having specific laws and policies, while others may not have any clear guidelines.
  • Passengers should be aware of their rights and the policies of their airlines and should contact the airline directly or seek the help of relevant authorities or companies if they face flight delays or cancellations.
  • Airlines can take measures to minimize flight delays and cancellations, such as upgrading their technology, improving their maintenance schedules, and enhancing their communication with passengers.

How Long Can Airlines Delay A Flight Without Any Compensation In The Uk?

In the UK, all flights must operate according to EU regulation 261/ 2004. According to which, passengers can claim financial compensation if:

  • The passengers arrived 3 hours late at their destination.
  • The flight is delayed because of operational and technical problems and not because of extraordinary circumstances e.g. bad weather conditions.

That means that airlines can delay a flight for a couple of hours without any penalty. But if the duration of the delay reaches or exceeds 3 hours, the airline will have to pay its passengers compensations based on the distance of the flight.

Flights Delay Compensation In USA

In the United States, there is no law requiring airlines to compensate their passengers for flight delays. However, the US has specific policies, e.g., when passengers face delays flying between or within foreign countries, they can claim compensation.

Airlines also compensate passengers that are bumped from a flight that is oversold. Or, if passengers have a confirmed reservation and the airline denied boarding, they may claim compensation.

Each airline has different policies, some offer meals and refreshments to their passengers, and some don’t. Some may offer their passengers rebooking on another flight, bonuses, and vouchers.

Also, if you have booked your flight with a credit card company, you can contact them for compensation or file a complaint against the airline.

Compensation For Flight Delays In Australia

Australia is far behind the rest of the world in compensating its passengers for flight delays. Their airlines usually don’t take responsibility in case of delayed flights.

However, some airlines like Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar Airways, and Tiger will try to put their passengers on the next flight, offer meals and refreshments, refunds and vouchers, and sometimes offer a refund, too.

Most Australian airlines try to sidestep the rules and obligations even though they can compensate their passengers for flight delays. You should complain directly to the airline, and if this fails, you should complain to the Airline Customer Advocate (ACA).

How Much Compensation Are Passengers Entitled To?

Airlines must compensate their passengers for flight delays of three hours or more. The amount of the compensation, however, does not depend upon the price of the ticket but on the flight distance.

So, airlines must pay:

€250 per passenger for short-distance flights, e.g., London to Manchester.

For medium distance flights, e.g., London to Athens, passengers get €400 compensation.

For long-distance flights, e.g., from London to Abu Dhabi, airlines need to pay €600 compensation.


If you frequently travel by air, it is essential to understand policies, rules, and regulations for delayed flights of different countries as a passenger to avoid any trouble.

If your flight is delayed, your compensation (if any) depends upon various factors, e.g., the distance of the delay. This compensation can be in cash, meals, accommodation, and a refund of the ticket cost.

If you are unsure whether your airline owes you a flight delay compensation, visit this page to find companies that will help you out.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the duration of the delay required for an airline to pay compensation to passengers?

Airlines must compensate passengers if the flight is delayed by three hours or more.

  • Are there any exceptions to the three-hour rule for flight delay compensation?

Yes, airlines are not required to pay compensation if the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances like bad weather conditions, security threats, or strikes.

  • What factors determine the amount of compensation for flight delays?

The amount of compensation depends on the distance of the flight. Passengers are entitled to €250 for short-distance flights, €400 for medium-distance flights, and €600 for long-distance flights.

  • What should passengers do if their flight is delayed?

Passengers should contact the airline directly and ask for information about the reason for the delay and the estimated duration. They should also be aware of their rights and the compensation policies of their airline.

  • Can passengers claim compensation if their flight is delayed due to COVID-19?

It depends on the circumstances of the delay. If the delay is caused by the airline’s operational or technical problems, passengers can claim compensation. However, if the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances like COVID-19-related restrictions, passengers may not be eligible for compensation.

  • Are any laws or policies related to flight delay compensation in the USA?

While no federal law requires airlines to compensate passengers for flight delays in the USA, some policies exist that provides compensation for specific circumstances, such as passengers being bumped from oversold flights or being denied boarding.