How is Flight Delay Compensation Calculated?

If you haven’t dealt with a flight delay that enters compensation claim territory, you might not be aware of your rights. If you haven’t found yourself in similar situations multiple times over, it’s likely that you aren’t going to be prepared for what’s to come, and chances are you have no idea how flight delay compensation in the EU is calculated. Ultimately, you are going to be dealing with a lot of unknowns.

Going toe to toe with an airline can be intimidating at first, especially when you are entering unfamiliar territory. If you keep reading, we will be diving into the details, so you know what to expect next. Let’s explore the logistics of traveling in the EU , how flight delay compensation comes into play, and how your compensation claim will be calculated.

Setting The Scene: Traveling To, From, or Within the EU

Airline passenger rights in the EU were established by European Passenger Rights Regulation EC 261/04. Those rights are invoked when you have a valid ticket and booking confirmation and begin your trip at an airport in the EU. Other circumstances include your flight landing at an airport in the EU. Another portion of info that’s worth mentioning is that the airline must be headquartered in the EU.

If your flight has been delayed or canceled, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances, payouts will range from €250-600. The two most important circumstances to consider are:

  • The length of your journey
  • How long the delay lasts

You have rights to flight delay compensation as an EU airline passenger. TravelRefund is focused on protecting those rights. Let’s take a deeper dive into how much flight delay compensation you are owed.

Determining Factors for Flight Delay Compensation in the EU

The airline has obligations to fulfill in the event of a delayed or canceled flight. These obligations include informing you of your rights as a passenger and providing you with necessary accommodations for the duration of the delay or cancellation. Beyond this, they will offer you an alternative option for traveling, but if you don’t accept that offer, they are required to refund your ticket as a form of compensation for your flight cancellation.

We briefly mentioned EC 261/2004 above, but it deserves more coverage than that. The law protects passengers against more than just flight cancellations. It covers lengthy delays, missing connecting flights, and overbooked flights too. What’s important to remember is that this regulation is meant to protect passengers. Below, we explain the two main determining factors for your compensation claim, and how they impact the situation.


As we stated above, payouts will range from €250-600. Distance traveled checks in as the main factor that your claim will rely on. Let us explain.

Short distance flight delays (anything below 1500km of travel), call for EU flight delay compensation of €250. Delays for medium distance flights (between 1500km and 3500km) can lead to compensation of €400. Long distance flight delays (anything over 3500km) calls for compensation of €600 per passenger.

Delay Length

The law states flight delay compensation in the EU applies to delays of 3 hours or more. If the delay extends past five hours, the fault falls upon the airline’s shoulders and your compensation claim becomes even more legitimate. The five-hour threshold will push the airline to offer you a full refund for the flight, a full refund for missed connecting flights in the same booking, or a trip back to the airport you originally departed from if you are in the middle of your journey.

Other Factors to Note

Tinkering with the specifics of these factors can create some grey area, on the airlines’ side, that provides them with just enough wiggle room to avoid paying out compensation claims. They will also drag the process along each time the opportunity presents itself.

The laws that are in place to protect passengers have only gotten stronger, however. In 2015, EU 261/2004 was strengthened when the European Court of Justice passed a ruling that unforeseen technical problems were not enough to get airlines off the hook for EU flight delay compensation .

Airlines will further skirt responsibility if the issue that leads to a delay is deemed to be outside of their control. In order for your flight delay compensation claim, the situation must have been in their control. Ultimately, your claim depends on the reason for cancellation. If extraordinary circumstances are responsible for your EU flight delay , the compensation claim might fall flat.

Going Through the Process with TravelRefund

Airlines lose their best leverage play when professionals are introduced to the equation. Delay tactics are removed from the playbook and a light will be shown on the airlines claim of extraordinary circumstances.

Turning to TravelRefund will speed this process up and remove any confusion from the process. We will do everything we can to get you your compensation as soon as possible.

We focus on preparation so that we can deliver you the most compensation from your claim because you deserve to have your rights upheld. We are following up on all ongoing cases and pushing airlines to answer your request for compensation.

Using TravelRefund To Your Advantage

While exploring the validity of your EU flight delay compensation claim, we recommend putting yourself in the airline’s shoes. Ask yourself, “Can I get away with not fulfilling or acknowledging this compensation claim?” The answer should be no, always.

TravelRefund’s mission is to ensure that you get the EU flight delay compensation you are entitled to. A delayed flight will require a compensation claim and we understand the stress that comes with these types of situations. Our no cure, no pay solutions can make a difference in not only the success of your claim but the amount of time it takes to be reviewed and processed.

Flight Delay Compensation

There is a purpose behind our mission. We never slow down, and we are always innovating our strategy as we try and improve this process so that our clients get what they deserve in a timely fashion.

Our online flight compensation claim form makes it easy for you to take that next step. Once received we will review the case, free of charge.

Asta has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 467 €

Cecilie has flown with EasyJet and has received: 388 €

Bent has flown with KLM and has received: 623 €

Tommy has flown with EasyJet and has received: 623 €

Thea has flown with Ryanair and has received: 383 €

Ida has flown with Ryanair and has received: 383 €

Lars has flown with Ryanair and has received: 383 €

Leif has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 1.246 €

Henrik has flown with Ryanair and has received: 958 €

Jákup has flown with British Airways and has received: 388 €

Jan has flown with Scandinavian Airlines System and has received: 623 €

Eva has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 582 €

Anna Sofie has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 194 €

Maja has flown with KLM and has received: 623 €

Linda has flown with Norwegian Air Shuttle and has received: 623 €