Sunset, London

Tips for claiming EU Flight delay compensation

If you’re delayed for more than three hours or your flight’s cancelled, did you know that there’s a rule entitling you to claim flight delay compensation – and it shouldn’t cost you a penny.

Under EU rule 261/2004 you are often entitled to claim between £100 and £460 in compensation directly from the airline.

In 2009, I experienced a flight delay with a premium airline when I flew from Kingston, Jamaica to London Gatwick airport. It was a typically bad scenario and several elements combined resulted in a plane full of passengers sitting in a hot plane before disembarking to the departure lounge to then re-board the flight… again.

It was a perfect recipe for complaint. The cabin crew refused to communicate with the most polite of passengers and we waited over an hour on the hot plane before being offered water, despite children crying and adults growing gradually more angry at the situation. The crew refused to allow passengers off the plane as they were insistent that we would be taking off  ‘any minute now’. Lets bear in mind that it was more than 30 degrees celsius outside.

The culmination of events resulted in a more than three hour delay which of course meant that I also missed my connecting coach travel home.

It was a frustrating turn of events to end an otherwise perfect holiday, but sticking with the facts has allowed me to persevere and claim my entitlement of €300 from the airline as compensation.

Now, I’m not necessarily an advocate for what could be seen as ‘compensation culture’. However, paying a substantial cost for a flight during peak season should be met with a certain level of service. In this case, my expectations were not met.

If you’re in a similar position or have experienced issues with an airline, then you have every reason to follow the process with the individual airline to pursue your claim.

If you have a claim that you’re entitled to, then use the tips below to support your application.

  • Any flight to or from an EU airport counts, but only if the flight was with an EU airline.
  • As a rough guide, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can only go back around six years. In Scotland, it’s around five years.
  • You must have landed more than three hours later than the scheduled arrival time. I used the FlightStats website to determine exactly how late my flight was.
  • Compensation is allocated  at fixed pricing (in euros), based solely on delay and journey length. My own flight was compensated at €300 euros, equivalent to £235 at the time of issue. This is a non-negotiable rate but it is allocated per person. For families, you can multiply the compensation.
  • It must be the airline’s fault – so things like bad weather do not count.
  • Some airlines will offer vouchers as compensation. You’re entitled to cash so insist upon it.
  • Stick to the facts. Don’t elaborate the situation to suit your needs.

There is some debate about the legal v moral balance as it’s expected that an increase in compensation claims could see flight prices increased. You really need to use your judgement about the situation and the level of treatment that you’ve received.

Have you tried to claim EU Flight Compensation following a delay at the airline’s fault? Any results?

4 thoughts on “Tips for claiming EU Flight delay compensation”

  1. Amazing work! This is so, so valuable. In all official correspondence with things like this, stick to the facts, keep it professional, and know your rights.

    I was delayed on an EU airline for about an hour – enough to make it impossible to catch my connection in Heathrow that would take me back to North America. Unfortunately, it was under the 3 hour limit but I’ll never forget this rule again and I’m going to start keeping better records of flights and travel plans in the future.


    1. It took a long time but it was highly worthwhile. Definitely keep a record of flights, even if only storing an e-ticket in your email.

      The FlightStats website was invaluable for me as I recalled my flight being late but couldn’t recall exactly how late. Just input flight info, date etc. and it gives you the exact details. This was all that I needed.


  2. It is really good to here that we can so easily get compensation on delayed flight. EU has a the same rules for every airlines which departing from an EU airport or airlines of European nation. But it is difficult to monitor refund or compensation on US based airlines. Thankfully we have a website named TripMole to monitor refund or compensation of every airlines across the globe.


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