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How to claim for delayed flights and cancellations for Europe Travel

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Are you traveling to Europe anytime soon? If your answer is yes, then make sure you read this before you travel. Flying within the EU or on a European airline you are entitled to compensation in the event of any trip interruptions like delays or cancellations. We hope you never have to use this, and your trip is smooth and you make TONS of memories. But knowledge is gold. So learn all about how to claim for delayed flights and cancellations in this useful guide, in case you need it.

Claim for delayed flights and cancellations in Europe

How to claim for delayed flights EU
How to claim for delayed flights EU

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

This post was created in partnership with Compensair, who offer a free, no obligation flight check to see if you are owed compensation. By law, you could be owed up to €600 per person. Whether your flight was delayed, cancelled or you were refused boarding. Use the Compensair flight delay calculator (check compensation – flight status) to know how much you’re owed within minutes. 

If you are vacationing in Europe, most likely will be taking a flight from anywhere in the world to reach your destination. This guide applies to multiple trips within European continent and also includes budget airlines like TAPPortugal or RyanAir. 

Flight delays or cancellations could happen due to bad weather: think winter time. Or mechanical issues with the aircraft itself or air traffic issues. Remember it’s not personal nor are they doing it on purpose.

Its business for airlines and flights cancelled or delayed means other resources and time-money lost for businesses too. So be calm and patient.

Ask the customer service for updates and maintain a calm demeanor. Trust us, we have been on the customer service side of business for a long time and angry yelling customers are such a bad ‘vibe’ for everyone – fellow passengers, other passengers or staff who are not even on your flight. Not a pretty sight.

So set a good example. Be nice!

What does the Rule Book say about claim for delayed flights and cancellations in Europe?

 Quick snapshot of flight compensation for delays and cancellations

 Here is a quick snapshot of flight delay compensation and cancellations, with regards to air passenger rights.

In accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004 air passengers are entitled to 250-600 euros of compensation in case of:

  • Flight delayed by 3 hours or more (and for a flight that’s less than 1500 km and within EU, you are entitled to 250 euros)
  • Flight delayed by 3 hours or more (and for a flight that’s between 1500 – 3500 km and within EU, you are entitled to 400 euros)
  • Flight delayed by 3 hours or more (and for a flight that’s more than 3500 km and between an EU and non EU airport, you are entitled to 600 euros)
  • Flight cancellation (less than 14 days before departure)
  • Denied boarding due to overbooking
  • Missed connection due to a delay of the first segment (you arrived at your destination more than 3 hours later than planned)

Note: Airlines Do Not Have to Pay Compensation in ” Extraordinary Circumstances “. The regulations in EC 261 state that an airline can avoid liability if the delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. 

Remember,

The only requirement is that your disrupted flight needed to have happened up to six years back (depending on the country of departure)

– Within the EU (on any airline)

– leaving the EU (on any airline)

– Or arriving into EU (on EU airline)

 Here are some important things to keep in mind in the event your flight is delayed or cancelled altogether: 

Delays less than 3 hours

If your flight is delayed by 3 hours or less, be patient. Listen to your audio book or plan your next trip’s itinerary, go online and catch up with your friends. Read about preparing for long haul flights, you might find some handy tips.

Unfortunately for flight delays of less than 3 hours, nothing you can do here but wait. But definitely check in.

Stay close to your gate because typically with the shorter delays you just have no idea when you’re going to leave, you want to make sure you’re also paying attention to the departure screens in the event of an update! Don’t miss your flight hanging out in the lounge or snap-chatting.

If you eat or drink, make sure you keep your receipts. They will come in handy, should the delay be prolonged and if it impacts your arrival time by 3 hours (later).

For flight delays of less then 3 hours, there are no entitlements to any financial reimbursement. On occasion they might provide vouchers to show a good customer service gesture. But there is no rule that says they have to!

But, keep the following items in mind, should you have a connecting flight to final destination

  • If the delay on your initial flight will cause you to miss your connecting flight let the gate agents know. This is their job and they will book you on an alternate flight. It may be with a different airline. 
  • If your connection isn’t available the same day be sure to inquire about accommodation for the night. The airlines handle this as it is their fault. Avoid booking your own hotel when you’re entitled to free accommodation.  

Note: You are only eligible for this if your journey is booked as one trip. If you book to one destination and then book again to another it doesn’t count. It needs to be leg of the same journey.  

How to claim for delayed flights and cancellations
How to claim for delayed flights and cancellations

Delays over 3 Hours / Cancellations

If you flight is delayed for more then 3 hours, airlines will often provide refreshments / food vouchers and if your delay is overnight accommodation is given AND transportation to and from the airport.

Most important thing is that you ask. Sometimes they don’t announce that.

Always remember: Not to be angry or worked up.

Sometimes flights get delayed for your safety like weather or mechanical issues. Let the authorities take care of that, so that your safety is not jeopardized.

 But also remember that when flights are delayed over 3 hours, you’re typically entitled to some form of compensation in the EU. 

How to claim for delayed flights EU

 Flights cancelled

If your flight is cancelled, the airline will typically do everything they can to book you on another flight – if that flight is not the same day they will usually offer you a hotel voucher. In many cases you’ll also receive a refund or airline voucher. 

Travel Insurance

This is very important, typically you can file a claim for food and lodging if you’ve been delayed for more than 4 hours.

We always get travel insurance online and this insures we don’t pay a TON of money in the event of delays or cancellations or our personal medical emergencies.

Again, the amount you get or the coverage you receive varies by insurance package you choose. This step is helpful with NON EU flights as well!  On a side note, you know about the changing flight rules in Canada too right? Read about it here.

Again, travel insurance is a MUST. Taking travel insurance means you are covering for lost baggage, medical emergencies like illness or accidents and delayed or cancelled flights. Taking travel insurance is a proactive measure. Always remember that.

Get travel insurance quotes here 

The EU flight cancellation rules will apply

  • Only for flights in the EU or within Europe
  • If your flight is delayed or cancelled, which is a reactive measure to the situation.

 

In short, what we are getting at is – Travel and traveling is beautiful. Don’t get bogged down by bad weather or delays. Get travel insurance, to have that peace of mind throughout your trip. And know your rights as an air traveler in the EU, in the event of delays/cancellations and get compensated.

Steps 1-4 or Step 5- Claim for delayed flights and cancellations in Europe

As long as you know of the above rules, you KNOW that you can claim compensation for delayed flights and cancellations. Great. Now let’s get the claim in.

EU Flight Claims Process
EU Flight Claims Process

1. Contact Airlines Company

Your first step is to contact the airlines company where the delay occurred. If you are flying via KLM and you booked on Expedia to reach Amsterdam. Contact KLM. The KLM website will have a contact or customer service page.

Same goes for a delay or cancellation in a connecting flight. Say you are traveling from New York to Reykjavik and have a connection in Amsterdam. New York to Amsterdam – flight operated by KLM. And Amsterdam to Reykjavik via IcelandAir and that is delayed. Although the main flight is from KLM and delay occurred in IcelandAir’s departure – contact IcelandAir.

2. Fill out claims form

Your receipts and boarding pass will come in handy now.

Fill out the form on the website of the airlines company that you are claiming from. Explain the situation and cause of delay/cancellations.

For the most part, airlines will oblige. Because it is a rule.

3. If needed, involve ADR or NEB

But if you are just going back and forth and no getting anywhere with this, approach National Enforcement Body (NEB) or an alternative dispute resolution body.

National Enforcement Body (NEB) or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body.

If the airlines in question refuses to comply and you KNOW you are entitled to compensation under EC 261, then use an alternative dispute resolution method.

ADR Process – Dispute resolution bodies interfere and take control of the matter or concern that you have raised. ADR’s decision are final and binding, which is a good thing. But processing of claims can take up to 12 weeks. So be patient.

National Enforcement Body is another body that can help with dispute resolution.

There is a separate application process for the ADR – alternative dispute resolution process as well as the NEB.

Both the dispute resolution bodies will need some research work on your end. Like finding the home base of the airlines that you are claiming from and understanding the legal side of things.

4. Get a lawyer to understand the legal side of things

You can at any time get a lawyer to assist you with that. But the process will still be similar, but will involve more money than what you will receiving back.

5. Or skip everything above and contact – Compensair for FREE

Instead of doing all the research and work, contact Compensair

Compensair is a leader in service that helps get compensation efficiently and quickly. They have successfully assisted passengers to get claims from 100 airlines spanning over 40 countries.

Compensair does all the work for you. All you have to do is fill out all the information ONLINE, at the comfort of your home. It only takes 2 minutes to submit an application. You can also check compensation amount for free online on Compensair

Once the application is processed, Compensair transfers the money to you (minus the 25% which is their success fee should be application be processed). 

 


Additional Europe Resources 

Last Update: August 28 2019

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

**This post was created in partnership with Compensair, who offer a free, no obligation flight check to see if you are owed compensation. By law, you could be owed up to €600 per person. Whether your flight was delayed, cancelled or you were refused boarding. Use the Compensair flight delay compensation calculator to know how much you’re owed within minutes. 

Pin: How to claim for delayed flights and cancellations – Passenger Rights Flight delays and cancellations 

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