Airline Delays and Compensation

There are EU laws defining how much air passengers should be compensated for various flight delays.

However, many of the airlines are not playing fair with their customers and large numbers of people find they have to complain to the Civil Aviation Authority for their recompense. This is after they have been through the airlines dispute resolution process.

The Denied Boarding regulation covers flights originating in the EU and all flights by EU registered airlines.  However it does not cover non EU registered airlines flying outside the EU.

  • Short haul passengers are entitled to 250 Euros if the flight is delayed by more than 3 hours
  • Long haul passengers can be entitled to 300 Euros if the flight landed between 3 and 4 hours late
  • Long haul passengers are entitled to 600 Euros if the flight landed more than 4 hours behind schedule
  • Delayed passengers may be entitled to meals, refreshments, email service, phone calls and even overnight accommodation depending on the delays.

The airlines argue that most causes of delays are outside of their control e.g. weather problems, bird strikes, airport issues etc. and therefore they shouldn’t have to pay, but the regulators take a more open approach and expect the airlines to pay compensation in many of these cases.

For the EU law to apply, you’ll need to have departed from the UK, European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

The airlines should help you at the airport. But if not, then you’ll need to apply to the airline afterwards. Make sure to keep any relevant receipts and don’t overspend – they won’t compensate you for luxury hotels and extravagant meals and alcohol etc.  has detailed information on exactly how much you can claim.

The Which consumer magazine site has a letter creator to help you claim compensation. At

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