How to Get Compensation if your Flight is Delayed

Traveling is amazing until something goes wrong with the flights. Then it becomes a nightmare. But the good news is – you get compensation if your flight is delayed for more than three hours. So we decided to share our experiences and give you a step-by-step guide on what to do in order to experience a smooth compensation process.

Man waiting for his flight

A lot of people don’t know that, since 2011, if you're delayed by more than three hours or if your flight is cancelled, under EU rule 261/2004, you are entitled to between 250 and 600 euro in compensation – and it's very easy to claim this free.

Airplane at the airport

You have two options – working with your airline directly or claiming using one of the online claim services available –,,,,, among others. They all work under the same principle – you fill in the online form with your claim, their agents work with the airline to try to get the highest compensation possible for you. These guys are motivated as, in successful cases, they get 25% commission from your compensation.

Airplane flying over the airport

1. This only works for EU-regulated flights

There are two situations which work under this rule: when the flight departs from an EU airport (regardless of the airline) or when an EU airline lands at an EU airport (regardless of where the flight departed from). EU airports also include Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. So a delayed London to Delhi flight qualifies, regardless of the airline. But for Delhi to London, you are entitled to compensation if you fly British Airways, but not Air India.

2. You can claim back to 2011

It is true that you can claim for delays for past flights. You just need to know your flight number for the claim.

3. It only applies if it’s the airline’s fault

You are only entitled to compensation if the delay was something within the airline's control. For example, problems with staff, overbooking, issues with the plane, flight diverted to a different airport, and missing a connecting flight count for compensation. But you can’t claim if the reason for the delay was a strike at the airport.

4. You can claim if the delay was more than 3 hours

You should remember – the delay is counted according to when you arrive, not when you leave. And a 2-hour and 57-minute delay doesn’t work either. It is strictly 3+ hours’ delay, and your arrival time is when the plane has landed, stopped and at least one of its doors has been opened.

5. You can get 250 to 600 euro compensation depending on the length of the delay and the flight distance

The sum of compensation depends only on the length of the delay and the distance travelled, not on your tickets price or any other reasons.

  • All flights under 1,500km - €250
  • All flights between 1,500km and 3,500km - €400
  • Flights between an EU and non-EU airport, 3,500km+ (4 hours+) - €600
Alina Lisina

Alina Lisina, TripTemptation founder

We flew from NYC to Riga via Copenhagen. In Copenhagen airport, the AirBaltic plane to Riga couldn’t take off and we were brought back to the airport with no news about when the next flight to Riga would be. After spending hours on a pay phone with the airBalic help centre, we were finally booked on another flight to Riga. The delay was 6 hours. So we decided to claim for compensation. We used, as they had been suggested by friends and we didn’t regret it. It took 20 minutes to fill in the online form. Then Airhelp sent us updates regarding the status of our claim. In about one month we got our compensation – 188 euro per person (250 euro minus the commission (25%) to my bank account.

Ingus Kruklitis

Ingus Kruklitis, TripTemptation founder

We flew from Riga to Dubai with Ukrainian Airlines. Because of a delay in Riga, we missed our flight to Dubai in Kiev, so we were sent via Amman, Jordan. So we arrived in Dubai 7 hours later than we should have – tired and angry. We claimed for compensation with In one month’s time, we got confirmation from the website that we had won the case. And two weeks later, we got our compensation – 1200 euro for two people. After deducting’s commission, we got 900 euro. We were lucky to get the maximum compensation, because of the distance travelled and because it was a flight from an EU country to a non-EU country.

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Written by

I fell in love with traveling much earlier than I fell in love with my first man. And I'm still faithful to that love (But I have exchanged some men since my first one). I have never had a reason to regret my passion. I constantly dream of going further, it gives me indescribable emotions and meaning to my life.

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