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9th, December 2019

A Traveler’s Guide to Flight Delay Compensation

Everyone who has been often travelling to different destinations by plane knows that there might occur some unexpected situations such as flight delays. This, in fact, may cause you great inconvenience no matter if you are travelling on a vacation or due to business matters. You might either be late for a meeting or even miss your connection before reaching your final destination. In the end, the flight delay may cost you time and money. Fortunately, you can read this guide to find out what would be the best options for you to make a saving and how you can get the best flight delay compensation possible.

Check Your Category As a Passenger

It is good for you to know whether your flight falls under the EU regulations concerning flight delays. The EU regulation concerns only the flights that are connected to the EU. Taking this into an account, you can claim a certain flight delay compensation in the following situation:

- The flight is within the EU, operated by either an EU or non-EU carrier.

- The flight departs from the EU to a destination outside the EU and is operated by either an EU or non-EU carrier.

- The flight arrives in the EU from a country outside the EU and is operated by EU airline only

Depending on these options, you are eligible to claim a delay compensation. Note that based on the EU regulations, every passenger whose flight was delayed for more than three hours have the right to claim compensation.

What Are the Compensation Rates For the Flight Delay?

In most cases, the amount of compensation depends on the distance of the flight. It can vary between €200 and €600. Respectively, the longer the distance, the bigger the compensation that you will get. You can have a look at the table below in order to be aware of the most common types of compensations depending on the distance of the flight.


Estimated Compensation Amount


Up To 1500 km


Most often for short distances within the EU

Between 1500 km and 3500 km


In case the flight took off and arrived in the EU. Note that this compensation may also apply for distances a bit longer than 3500 km

Over 3500 km


Have in mind, that if the flight delay is between 3 or 4 hours, the amount of compensation can be reduced in half


It is important to read carefully the terms and conditions when making a flight reservation or when you buy your ticket first. Thus, you will be aware in advance and in case of delay you will know what would be the necessary steps in order to be compensated, instead of wasting additional time.

Steps on How to Claim a Compensation

Once you understand that you will be facing the inconvenience of your flight being delayed, you should definitely waste no time before making a complaint and claiming your compensation. Be aware that according to the terms and conditions of the airline services that you are using, you will have an estimated period to claim this compensation. Otherwise, if, for any reason, you miss the deadline you will not be eligible to claim it. 

According to the international regulations, this period may be up to a couple of years. For example, passengers from Belgium and Poland will have 12 months to claim compensation, while customers from Switzerland or Italy should do it within 24 months. 

Reach Out to The Respective Authorities.

You may be warned for the delay of your flight in advance by the company or by checking your online booking, or you can be unpleasantly surprised about it when you have already arrived at the airport before the estimated booking time. In the first case, you will have time in advance to decide whether you will call your airline customer service or you will visit the nearest airline client centre. If you have already arrived at the airport, you can also call the respective airline services or find a help desk with a representative of your carrier.

Make a Complaint to the Airline

This is the very first step that you should take as the airline company should take responsibility for the delay. In most cases, you will have to fill out a complaint form where you will be asked to provide additional personal data and information on the flight. Once you do this, you have to send the complaint form via e-mail. Keep in mind that it is always good to keep a copy of the complaint form. 

If the airline company follows strictly the international laws and regulations, you will be compensated for the delay. However, for one reason or another, the airline company may not take your complaint into consideration. 

Make a Complaint to National Authorities

If the airline company did not provide you with an answer within one or two months or if you are not satisfied with the reply, then you can reach out to the national authorities. In the United Kingdom, the institution that is dealing with issues regarding flights and passengers is the Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT). 

It will be good to apply the complaint form that you have sent to the airline company. The PACT should give you advice on how to proceed in the given situation.