Flight delays put your travel plans in danger. You’re never too prepared to face them. There are 3 things you can do:
- Anticipate them
- Handle them as best you can when they happen
- Claim compensation for them
This guide will teach you how to be prepared for delayed flights, step by step.
1. Know your rights
Right to care starting from 2h delay at departure.
Right to refund or rerouting after 5h delay at departure.
Up to 600€ in compensation if you reach your destination 3 hours late or more:
- 250€ for flights under 1,500km
- 400€ for all flights between 1,500 and 3,500km and internal EU flights more than 1,500km
- 600€ for non-internal EU flights more than 3,500km
2. Track your flight
Use the airline or the airport’s flight tracker to find out if your flight is delayed.
3. Keep your travel documents
You will need them as proof when claiming any kind of compensation. If you have paper versions, keep those.
4. Enforce your right to care if your flight is delayed by more than 2 hours at departure
Right to food, refreshments, and a means of communication to make arrangements.
5. Ask for a written statement of the cause of the delay
If the flight was delayed due to extraordinary circumstances, you won’t be eligible for compensation.
If the delay was under the airline’s control, you may get compensated.
6. Keep your receipts if you’re spending more as a result of the delay
For long delays, the airline must both provide accommodation and transportation between there and the airport, as well as cover the costs. If they don’t, keep the receipts and request a refund later.
The same applies if they don’t provide food and refreshments, or a travel voucher, for delays of 2 hours or more, and you have to cover those expenses yourself.
1. Do not accept airline miles or a voucher instead of the compensation planned by EC261
Instead of paying the compensation planned by EC261, the airline may try to offer airline miles or an upgrade, or other kinds of benefits. In general, those are of inferior value and you shouldn’t accept them.
Of course, it’s up to you, and if you feel that the airline’s offer is more valuable, feel free to accept.
2. Check if you’re entitled to a flight delay compensation
When you reach your final destination, check if you’re at least 3 hours late compared to the original schedule. If so, you may be entitled to compensation.