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Airline delays and cancellations are the worst. Disrupted travel plans, missed meetings, lost time with family — these are just some of the consequences of a delayed flight, and airlines typically get off the hook easily.
But time is a finite resource with real value, and the European Union established rules that direct airlines to compensate passengers in the event of a delayed flight. The EU 261/2004 regulation is nothing to scoff at, as it promises cash compensation for flight delays as short as 3 hours.
Before we discuss the compensation value, it’s important to understand which flights qualify.
- All flights departing from the European Union, regardless of airline.
- Flights within the EU, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and overseas territories.
- Flights to the EU from a foreign country, if operated by an EU airline.
For American travelers, compensation can be collected on flights from Europe to the USA in every case, and on flights from the USA to Europe if traveling on an EU flag carrier.
The amount of delay compensation depends on the flight distance and length of the delay.
The largest compensation amount of €600 amounts to more than $650 U.S. Dollars, which is decent pay for 4 hours of lost time.
In addition to cash compensation, EC 261/2004 also requires airlines to provide delayed passengers with food and refreshments, access to communication and, if the delay extends overnight, a hotel room and transportation to/from the airport.
The easiest way to claim compensation is by using a third-party service like AirHelp. They are experts in collecting the highest compensation amounts for delayed passengers. They’ll do all of the work and you can sit back, relax and wait for that check to arrive.
Passengers can request compensation for up to 3 years after the delayed or cancelled flight. If you have experienced a flight delay within the past 3 years, put AirHelp on the case to score some unexpected cash for your next vacation!
What is the longest airline delay you have experienced?
Did you receive compensation for your lost time?