Flight Delay: Departing from the EU or EEA
If your flight departing from the European Union or the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) is delayed, the airline must offer you, depending on the length of the delay:
- the option to cancel your trip and transportation to your point of origin;
- full refund of your airfare, if you choose to return to your point of origin;
- care (meals, accommodation, ground transportation, and 2 free phone calls or emails); and
- compensation up to 600 EUR in cash.
Your rights are governed by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council. (You may be entitled to additional compensation under the Montreal Convention, if applicable.)
Eligibility for Monetary Compensation for Flight Delay
If your flight is delayed and you arrive at your final destination 3 hours or more after the scheduled arrival time, the airline must pay you compensation.
The airline does not have to pay monetary compensation if the airline proves that the delay was due to “extraordinary circumstances.” This exception is very narrow, and encompasses only events that are truly outside the normal exercise of the activity of the airline. The following causes are not “extraordinary circumstances”:
- mechanical failure;
- collision between mobile boarding stairs and an aircraft;
- missing crew member(s);
- crew member(s) “timing out” (i.e., exceeding the permissible daily duty hours).
Amount of Compensation (if eligible)
The amount of compensation depends on the distance to your final destination and the length of the delay to your travel caused by the flight delay.
- Final destination within 1500 km: 250 EUR.
- Final destination within the EU/EEA of more than 1500 km, or outside the EU/EEA in a range of 1500-3500 km: 400 EUR.
- Final destination outside the EU/EEA and distance greater than 3500 km:
- 600 EUR (delay of over 4 hours);
- 300 EUR (delay of 3-4 hours).
Form of Payment
- The airline must pay flight delay compensation in cash or equivalent (electronic bank transfer, bank orders, or bank cheques).
- If you agree, in writing, the airline may provide travel vouchers and/or other services in lieu of denied boarding compensation. You can insist on payment in cash or equivalent.
Your Options (if delayed for 5 hours or more): Continue or Cancel Trip
If your flight is delayed by 5 hours or more, you may choose to cancel your trip.
- If you choose to cancel your trip, the airline must transport you to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity, and refund your ticket.
Refund (if you choose not to travel)
If you choose to cancel your trip, the airline must refund you, within 7 days:
- part or parts of the trip not made; and
- part or parts of the trip already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to your original travel plan.
Eligibility for “Care”
Your right to “care” depends on the distance to your final destination and the length of the delay to your travel caused by the flight delay.
- Final destination within 1500 km: after 2 hours.
- Final destination within the EU/EEA of more than 1500 km, or outside the EU/EEA in a range of 1500-3500 km: after 3 hours.
- Final destination outside the EU/EEA and in distance greater than 3500 km: after 4 hours.
Right to Care (if eligible)
The airline must also provide you, free of charge, with:
- meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time;
- hotel accommodation, where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary;
- transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation; and
- two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails.