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There’s an Estimated €5.5 Billion Worth of Air Passenger Compensation Waiting to be Claimed

There’s an Estimated €5.5 Billion Worth of Air Passenger Compensation Waiting to be Claimed

There's an Estimated €5.5 Billion Worth of Air Passenger Compensation Waiting to be Claimed, a company that specialises in getting compensation for air travel delays has estimated that European travellers are entitled to around €5.5 billion in compensation claims – and that’s just for summer 2017.  The figures are based on delays and cancellations that are covered by Europe’s regulation EC261 – otherwise known as ‘denied boarding’ rights.

In some cases, delayed air travellers may be eligible for €600 in compensation.  And despite the regulations being in place since 2004, still says that many travellers aren’t claiming the compensation they’re owed because they don’t know their rights.  What’s even more confusing is that missed connections, even outside of Europe might still give you the right to claim.

“If a family gets stranded at the airport due to lengthy delays or cancellations, every single passenger is eligible for compensation – even a toddler without a seat of his own. This is your right,” says Sandra Rosenberg,’s chief operating officer.  But while her company can do all the leg work for you (and take a chunk of the payout), it’s really not that difficult to file a claim yourself.

What compensation are you entitled to?

So if you’re travelling on a European airline or flying to or from a European airport (with any airline) you could be eligible for compensation in the following circumstances:

When your flight is cancelled or arrival at the final destination is delayed by:

  • Two hours or more for flights of 1500 kilometres or less
  • Three hours or more for flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres
  • Four hours or more for any flights over 3500 kilometres

You’ll be entitled to the following compensation:

  • Flights of 1500 kilometres or less: €250
  • Flights between 1500 – 3500 kilometres: €400
  • Flights over 3500 kilometres: €600

If your flight is delayed for more than five hours (irrespective of distance) you can also cancel the flight for a full refund or request a re-routing at “the earliest opportunity.”

How to work out compensation for connecting flights

If you’re on a connecting flight, then you’re only entitled to compensation from the point at which you suffered the delay.  So, as an example, imagine you were flying from Singapore to Dublin via Hamburg.  The flight from Singapore to Hamburg wasn’t delayed and arrived on time.  But your next flight was delayed by over two hours – you would only be entitled to €250 in compensation.

Several airlines’s, including Emirates, are currently fighting some elements of EC261 in the courts.  They argue that as a non-European airline, any flights it operates between two non-EU country’s are ineligible for compensation – even if the passenger was booked all the way through to a European destination.  The case is yet to be decided.

Airline’s need to look after you

Finally, if you do find yourself delayed, airline’s have to provide you with refreshments free of charge.  In case you’re delayed overnight, you are also entitled to free hotel accommodation and transport between the hotel and airport.

How to claim

You simply need to contact the airline using their standard customer service contact details.  There’s no need to go to a court and making a claim is completely free of charge.

It’s worth remembering that airline’s are obliged to offer the full compensation amount in cash or by bank transfer.  They may offer discounted flights or vouchers that can only be used for their airline – you are perfectly entitled to decline these offers and insist on a cash payment.

Extraordinary Circumstances

Airline’s don’t have to pay compensation if the delay or cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.  This is an extremely grey area but think of it as an ‘act of God’ situation – weather delays, therefore are often rejected as an extraordinary circumstance.

However, a mechanical fault is most definitely not extraordinary – after all, the very business of running an airline means working with complicated machinery.  And machines can go wrong – there’s nothing extraordinary about that.

If your claim is rejected

If your initial claim is rejected by the airline then in the first instance you should appeal the decision with the company direct.  If that fails, a rather clunky appeals system through the aviation regulator of the country in which the aircraft was delayed kicks in.  In these circumstances, you might feel more comfortable in seeking help from a company like (there are lots of competitors out there) who will be able to advise you free of charge – although, they’ll take a slice of any subsequent compensation.


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