Picture it. You’re loaded down with luggage and kids, it’s your first vacation in years and your spouse is eager to get to that Greek Island paradise NOW. As you approach the departure board at your gate, you begin to realize that the people who just stormed away from the counter muttering something about a delayed flight were referring to YOUR flight— which is now running over three hours late.
We’ve all been there. And let’s be honest, it can feel like one of the worst experiences in your life! Fortunately, in this case, there are things you can do to ensure that you get the European flight delay compensation you deserve.
First of all, don’t panic. It’s always good to arm yourself with the facts. And more importantly, take comfort in the fact that your flight delay or flight cancellation might be covered under European law (EC 261/20014). Even when you’re far from home, it’s good to know your rights.
Here’s a quick rundown…
What are the Laws Related to European Flight Delay Compensation?
It is important to understand that the laws and rules regulating air travel depend on where you are traveling to and from, as well as which airline carrier you’re using. Passengers traveling to and within the European Union (EU) on European air carriers, or taking off from any European Union airport on any airline are well protected by laws set in place by Regulation EC 261/2004. In short, the Commission’s got your back.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself in the Event of a Flight Delay?
- First and foremost, stay calm. Keeping a cool head will allow you to think clearly and take the necessary next steps.
- Ask the airline personnel why the flight was delayed.
- Be sure to keep a copy of your boarding and any other travel documents.
- Gather proof: Take photos of the departure board or check-in counter. Keep all receipts of not just your plane ticket, but all expenses incurred due to your flight delay (i.e. meals, transportation, hotel accommodations, etc.)
- If the delay caused you to miss a significant event such as a wedding, a relative’s funeral, or a work function that causes you to lose wages, keep the receipts and any written proof of the event.
- When you arrive at your final destination, make a note of the time. Better yet, take a photo or screenshot of the arrival time.
- If the delay is over 3 hours, ask the airline to pay for meals/refreshments. If they refuse, get it in writing. (Or on camera — many people have posted their interactions on social media!)
- If the delay is over 5 hours, you have a choice to continue with your trip or call it off and return to your original destination.
- Don’t sign anything or accept travel vouchers that could waive your rights to future compensation. Filing a claim may seem daunting because the system is set up to be complicated and time-consuming. And airlines sometimes make it difficult to claim the money you’re entitled to because they know, the harder they make it, the less likely you are to follow-through.
- Get help filing a claim for compensation. You can use your newfound free time to contact Airline Payback, the experts at all the ins and outs of applicable rules and regulations that apply to this specific situation. Airline Payback can help you navigate through the legal mumbo jumbo to fight for your right to European flight delay compensation!
If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. If you’re traveling in, to or from Europe, you’re protected by European law and you may be entitled to compensation of up to €600 per passenger.
We fight for your rights, file your claim, handle all communication with the airline (so you don’t have to) with no upfront fees and zero risk to you.