How to claim compensation for a flight delay?

Date: 15 Aug 19

If you have ever endured a delayed flight, had one cancelled at short notice or been denied boarding the last thing you're interested in is going through the process of claiming compensation for your flight. Getting to your end destination will be your primary concern but once you have overcome that hurdle and thoughts come back to compensation how do you start the process?

What constitutes a delayed flight?

Over 2 hours and less than 3

According to EU Regulation 261/2004, a delayed flight is one that fails to arrive at its destination within 2 hours of the scheduled landing time. If you have been delayed over 2 hours but less than 3 and the distance is less than 1500km (internal flights etc) then you are entitled to the following:

  • Food and drink vouchers appropriate to the delay
  • Access to phone calls/emails

If the airline fails to provide vouchers for these then ensure you keep your receipts so you claim back these expenses when you return. Note that airlines are only liable to pay for "reasonable expenses" so dinner in a luxury restaurant, massages, or alcohol may not be refunded. 

Over 3 hours

If your flight arrives over 3 hours over its scheduled arrival time and it was the airline's fault then you may be entitled to compensation. When an airline claims "extraordinary circumstances" they are saying that the reasons for the delay were outside of their control. Examples of "extraordinary circumstances" include:

  • Air traffic control strikes
  • Baggage handler strikes
  • Extreme weather
  • Pilot strikes

Airlines will often cite one of these to avoid paying compensation and if you don't have the tools to check their claims you could be forgiven into thinking you don't have a claim. Examples of reasons which don't constitute as being "extraordinary" include:

  • Insufficient staff to operate the flight
  • Late incoming flights
  • IT problems 
  • Weather problems when other flights are taking off
  • Mechanical failure

How much can I claim?

The value of your claim depends on two things. The first is how long the delay was for. The second is the distance travelled. The table below details the various criteria and expected compensation based on delay time and distance travelled. If you don't know the distance between your departure and arrival airport then use our compensation calculator.

DelayFlight distanceCompensation
3 hours or more Less than 1,500km €250
3 hours or more Between 1,500km and 3,500km €400
3 hours or more More than 1,500km and within the EU €400
3 hours or more More than 3,500km and EU - Non EU €600

How do I make a claim?

Some airlines are pro-active in making you aware of your rights when a flight is delayed or cancelled at short notice. They have been known to hand out flyers detailing your rights with links to their website where you can make a claim. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. Many low budget airlines will actively discourage you from making a claim under the guise of any assistance they have offered you i.e. a replacement flight, hotel accommodation or compensation when denied boarding. There are two ways to make a claim for flight delay:

Via the Airline

Most airlines have a dedicated page on their website where you can make your flight delay compensation claim - we have detailed some of the links to the most popular airlines below:

Ryanair Flight Delay Page

EasyJet Flight Delay Page

British Airways Flight Delay Page

The advantages of claiming direct with the airline are that you will not have to pay any commission to a claims management company, however, the disadvantages include the airline taking months to respond or pay your compensation, trying to avoid paying by blaming "extraordinary circumstances" and not paying your expenses.

Via Flight Delay Claim

Here at we are experts in claiming back the compensation you are entitled to. We have already helped thousands of passengers claim back compensation for their delayed flights. We have access to all the latest tools and methods for determining whether you have a valid claim and if you do we will fight tooth and nail to ensure you get paid. We have heard every excuse airlines are likely to use to avoid paying compensation and have procedures in place to expedite your claim to the courts if the airline tries to avoid paying.

What do I need to provide?

Filling in our online claim form couldn't be simpler. Simply enter the date of your flight and the flight code (if you know it) as well as your departure and arrival airports and let us do the rest. If you can't remember the flight code then have a look at our recent flight delays page where we have an up to date list of valid claims.

Start a claim for your flight delay now


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Have you had a flight delay, missed connection, cancelled flight or have been denied boarding in the last 6 years? If so try our free flight checker to see how much you may be entitled to in compensation for you AND your fellow travellers.

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