With flights delaying and cancelling everywhere, travelers are owed money from carriers who fail to deliver passengers within a specific window. Here’s what you’re owed.
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Flight Cancellations Everywhere
It’s been a rough summer to fly and it’s not getting better. Flight cancellations abound not just in the US but also in Europe as travelers take back to the sky. This has been called the worst summer travel season ever due to pent-up demand, extemporaneous restriction changes with regard to COVID rules, and limited flight crews.
EU Flight Cancellation/Delay Compensation
There is a limited bright spot for travelers through Europe. At least if they aren’t going to get where they are going, they can be compensated for their trouble.
Flights from/to/or through the European Union are subject to EU 261 2004, a rule including non-EU carriers such as American Airlines, JetBlue, or in a below example, Canada’s Air Transat. Compensation for flight cancellation and/or delay is based on the distance of the flight as well as the length of the delay or cancellation.
Here’s what the rule says:
“1. This Regulation establishes, under the conditions specified herein, minimum rights for passengers when:
(a) they are denied boarding against their will;
(b) their flight is cancelled;
(c) their flight is delayed.” – EUR Lex
Flights eligible are classified into three Flight Types: 1,500 km within the EU, within the EU of more than 1,500 km but less than 3,500 km, and lastly, flights outside the EU of more than 3,500 km. Compensation rules and rates for these flight cancellations are as follows:
“€250, in the case of a type 1 flight;
€400, in the case of a type 2 flight;
€600, in the case of a type 3 flight.
Delays work a little differently, this is based on the total time to get you to your destination within/from/or to the EU. For example, if you arrive two hours late there is a delay compensation for that, lower than if you arrive four hours late. But if you were to connect in Dublin and arrive two hours late forcing you to misconnect and arrive in Paris (for example) four hours late, you would be compensated the maximum amount for the delay.
When traveling on eligible flights, EU Flight Delay compensation works off of the same chart in the case of delays reaching, two, three, or four hours. Wikipedia’s guide is tremendously thorough but can be a little tough to follow.
Other protections are in place as well, such as meal vouchers, hotel accommodations, and in the event that you are downgraded, some portion of your ticket is due back, in one lump sum in cash (not vouchers or miles.) It’s worth noting that since Brexit, these rules no longer apply to the UK and its territories.
Of note, if an airline cancels your flight and rebooks you for the next day, compensation is due for the original flight cancellation, and if they delay or cancel again, that’s a separate matter and is also eligible but pertains to that flight’s specific arrival and departure, not your overall delay.
Easiest Way To File
Affected passengers can always file with the airline. Each carrier has a process for requesting this amount directly from them and a process to go through. That process can vary from carrier to carrier and so long as it is compliant under the law, it applies even if the process is easier on some airlines and more arduous on others.
When I travel to Europe and I am in this situation, I use AirHelp.com. AirHelp isn’t a paid sponsor for this site, I just like the service. They keep 25% of the claim (which is a hefty premium) but from my perspective, it’s hassle-free money. Travelers go through the process once with AirHelp and they do the rest, a check comes in the mail in the next few weeks.
I followed through with AirTransat on my own some time ago as I had a flight subject to this EU rule even though its departure was from Toronto but the process was long and difficult, even though I was able to successfully complete it on my own.
With so many travelers finding themselves in tough travel positions this weekend, and more broadly, all summer, it is important to know your rights and what you’re owed. If your flight has been cancelled or delayed, make sure you get every penny of what you’re owed. I would also implore the US Congress to consider some sort of protection for US travelers and visitors as well. Airlines have little risk of cancelling flights and face no penalties for delays other than their own business costs. It’s time the US joins the EU in this regard.
What do you think? Have you claimed EU 261/2004 damages?
There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that we will get similar in the U.S. I would love it though, a chance for the American taxpayer to start getting some of the money back that was stolen from them over the past few years by airlines.
That service looks decent at Airhelp. Curious if other people have used them and they came through. 25% seems reasonable given all the back and forth I have heard people go through in trying to directly claim it themselves.
I can’t even imagine the amount of money airlines are paying out this summer on EU 261.
“I would also implore the US Congress to consider some sort of protection for US travelers and visitors as well”
Yeah we need a consumer advocacy group that will bribe congress, I mean lobby, in the same league as airlines. Until then that scum in Congress will look after their own relection concerns.
1. Non-EU carriers are covered only when flying *from* the EU. They’re not included when flying to the EU. All flights by EU carriers are covered.
2. In addition to monetary compensation, there is also some duty of care rules for delays.
3. I believe the UK is still covered, but under UK 261 (basically they’ve copied the regulations over to UK law, but there is talk that they want to change it).
4. I’d start by contacting the airline first via email and state what you’re owed under EC 261/2004. If it becomes a hassle, then sure, enlist AirHelp. But you may find it to be pretty easy. I got to claim EC 261 money from Turkish Airlines and it was pretty painless – emailed customer service, they replied confirming that I was eligible and to coordinate by email with my local Turkish Airlines office, who promptly mailed me a check.
5. I’d love it if we had some sort of consumer protection regulation here in the US. If only…
Just checking (confirming): If my Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Frankfurt connecting to Paris was late arriving in Frankfurt, causing me to miss my connection on my LH flight to Paris, causing me to arrive 6 hours late in Paris, do I have a claim against AC, LH both, or neither?
I’ve been reading on FlyerTalk that Lufthansa is canceling transatlantic flights and blaming it on the war in Ukraine. This allows them to bypass paying compensation via EU261. If that is indeed true, it’s a real sleazy thing to do.
I was booked 26/2 07.50 from Heathrow to athens. The BA comp system crashed. I was rebooked on to the late afternoon flight, but this was also cancelled. I was given a hotel for the night incl breakfast and dinner (the renaissance Heathrow – room great – food horrendous as it’s a separate buffet for those delayed than regular guests). I travelled 27/2 on the 07.50 flight. I was able to make two claims which were paid out before end of May,
Late May I travelled on Aegean to athens. The flight was delayed just under 2 hrs, but I missed my connection to corfu. I was put up in Sofitel (super room – super buffet dinner n breakfast) and travelled following morning onward to Corfu. Aegean will not acknowledge anything and it’s extremely frustrating.
Well done BA – boo to Aegean (for now)
Note that a citizen of ANY country can claim for delay/cancellation if the flight is within EU, and currently UK to EU.
just got my EC261 compensation from EasyJet a month after my flight was canceled due to IT issues. now my $500+ expense claim on the other hand, still no word and wondering if ill ever get paid