The European Union introduced legislation to protected consumers from delayed/cancelled flights under regulation 261/2004 which came into force in 2005. It protects consumers from flight delays and cancellations.
The legislation is only for the European Union which means:
- Any flight that has departed the EU
- Any flight that has landed into the EU that is operated by and EU airline (e.g. Lufthansa)
If you are looking for compensation for flights other than these you will have to look to complain to the airline in question or check with the local aviation authority about any local legislation that you may be able to claim under.
What’s the claim period?
You can claim for any flight that you’ve been on since 2005, but generally the further back you go the harder it will be to do so. When you fly its worth thinking about how much the flight has been delayed by -so take notes.
What are the claim conditions?
You can claim if the fault is with the airline, this could include technical faults (think of the scenario where the ground staff say we are just waiting on a new part), lack of crew, or the previous flight was delayed. For situations like the Icelandic volcano, or strikes by air traffic control you will not be able to claim, instead look to you travel insurance.
The delay has to be three hours or more to be able to claim, and this is from when the flight lands at its final destination.
The compensation is done per passenger so for families this is more beneficial than you may think.
A breakdown of the potential compensation is here:
|Flight Distance||Delay (Upon Arrival)||Compensation|
|London to Brussels (Up to 1,500km)||3 hours+||€250 ($S420)|
|London to Istanbul (1,500km-3,500 km)||3 hours+||€400 ($S680)|
|London to Singapore (3500 km +)||3-4 hours||€300 ($S500)|
|London to Singapore (3500 km +)||4+ hours||€600 ($S1100)|
So let’s take some scenarios:
(1) British Airways flight from London to Dublin – delay of 1 hour – No compensation
(2) Air France flight from London to Singapore via Paris (one booking) – London to Paris delay of 3 hours, final arrival late by 2 hours – No Compensation
(3) Lufthansa Frankfurt to Singapore late by 4 hours – compensation of €600 per person
(4) Singapore Airlines London to Singapore late by 3 hours – compensation of €300 per person
(5) Singapore Airlines Singapore to London late by 4 hours – no compensation
(6) British Airways Singapore to London late by 4 hours – compensation of €600 per person
Handily the EU has come up with an app that you can download and have to hand. In actual fact as well its worth pointing out that if you are delayed the airline is meant to offer a paper copy of your rights, but I have yet to see this. The app is available for all major platforms.
There are some things to bear in mind here. Firstly there will be some hassle in claiming for these delays and in some rare cases passengers have taken the airline to court in order to get it resolved. If you believe you have a valid claim but the airline has rejected it you can refer it to the local aviation authority for resolution.
There is also a moral view here as well, if there are all of these passengers claiming on flights then inevitably this is going to affect an airlines bottom line, so we may experience in the long run an increase in flight prices. I probably take the line of claim if it has caused me significant inconvenience to my travel arrangements – especially if its involved me missing something that I was trying to attend. Personally I have never had to use this, but on a recent Finnair flight I did find myself wanting an extra delay of 20mins on my flight from Manchester to Helsinki because I was likely to miss my connecting flight to Singapore anyway – as it was we flew with a two and a half hour delay, but they held the Helsinki Singapore flight for us so all was well.