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EU Regulation 261/2004 Guide to Get Compensated for Cancelled Flights

There is no worse way to begin your holiday than with cancelled or delayed flights. If you are travelling in any of the European Union (EU) countries, there are regulations in place that ensure that you are able to get flight cancellation compensation.

In 2004, the European Parliament established strict guidelines for the compensation of travellers whose flights are delayed, cancelled, or overbooked while travelling in or to EU countries. This applies to flights that originate in an EU country. The destination does not necessarily need to be an EU member.

By regulating this matter, the EU261 Regulations are in place for the comfort and convenience of both its residents and its visitors. These actions make EU countries a preferred holiday destination.

Passenger Rights

As a passenger, you have the right to be treated with respect during all phases of your holiday travel. This includes those times when you are inconvenienced by the airline you are flying with. The circumstances surrounding these cancellations and delays must be within the control of the airline and cannot be due to circumstances such as weather delays.

EU261 Regulations provide compensation for cancellations and delays. There are strict rules as to who qualifies for this recompense. The cancellation or delay cannot be something that you were made aware of two weeks prior to your travel.

This compensation is limited to those airlines that operate under the governance of an EU country.

Compensation for Cancellations

There are specific rules in place for you to receive your compensation under EU261 Regulations. You can qualify for compensation for a cancelled flight as long as:

  • You had a confirmed reservation prior to arriving at the airport.
  • You arrived at the airport and checked in on time.
  • You are travelling in a country that is a member of the EU.
  • Your destination is a country that is a member of the EU.
  • Your flight is cancelled due to the actions of the airline and not a tour operator.
  • Your ticket was not free, nor did you purchase your ticket at a discount unknown to the general public.
  • The aircraft is a fixed-wing aircraft. Helicopters do not qualify.

EU261 states that in this case, you are due to be compensated with a rescheduled flight and a sum not to exceed 600 Euros from the airline. If you are having trouble navigating the compensation process, cancelled flight compensation services are available to you.

Compensation for Flight Delays

Compensation for flight delays follows strict requirements as far as the length of the delay and the distance you are travelling. According to EU261 Regulations, all travel must take place within EU countries or at least depart from an EU country.

For example, a flight that leaves an EU country that is bound for a destination in a non-EU country would qualify for compensation. A flight that departed a non-EU country for an EU country destination would not qualify.

You can qualify for compensation for your delayed flight as long as you meet these requirements:

  • You are delayed for three hours or more travelling less than 1,500 km. You will be compensated 250 Euros.
  • You are delayed for three hours or more while travelling more than 1,500 km within the EU. You will be compensated 400 Euros.
  • You are delayed for three hours or more while travelling 1,500 to 3,000 km with each flight departing from an EU country. You will be compensated 400 Euros.
  • You are delayed three to four hours while travelling 3,500 km or further flying from an EU country to a non-EU destination. You will be compensated 400 Euros.
  • You are delayed for more than four hours and travelling 3,500 km from an EU country to a non-EU destination. You will be compensated 600 Euros.
  • You are delayed more than 5 hours for any flight that departs from an EU country. You will be compensated 600 Euros.

Qualifying Circumstances

Situations that qualify you for compensation under the EU261 Regulation include more than just cancellations and delays. If you are denied boarding due to overbooking or if you are removed from the plane, you can also get compensation.

Denied Boarding

If you are denied the ability to board the plane and this denial is due to overbooking, you are entitled to compensation through the EU261 Regulations. This includes meals, refreshments, and, if you are rebooked the next day, hotel accommodations to compensate you for your lost holiday time.

Circumstances That Don’t Qualify for Compensation

There are some situations where you won’t qualify for compensation from the airlines. These include circumstances where changes were made one to two weeks before your original reservation by the airlines. This also applies to unforeseen circumstances.

Airline Notifies You Prior to Your Trip

If the airlines change your reservations two weeks prior to your holiday plans and you are rebooked on a flight that departs no more than two hours prior to your original reservation and arrives no more than four hours after, you do not qualify for compensation.

Unforeseen Circumstances

If your flight is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the airlines, you do not qualify for compensation as outlined by EU261 Regulations. Also, if those circumstances are such that they are not inherently a part of the airlines’ day-to-day operations, compensation will be denied.

How to Get Compensated

Each airline has its own requirements for compensation. These can be confusing and may put you off from claiming what is rightfully yours. You can try to follow the compensation procedures with each individual airline.

Your other choices are to hire a solicitor or to contract with a company that takes care of travellers’ needs and has the experience necessary to get you the compensation you deserve. When it comes to EU261 Regulation compensation, TravelRefund can help you cut through the red tape and collect the compensatory funds you deserve.

EU261 Regulation and TravelRefund Services

You may be asking yourself is flight delay compensation worth it? The answer is yes, but you want to be represented by a company that protects your interests.

TravelRefund takes all the complications away from this process so that you don’t have to worry. If the airline refuses to pay, TravelRefund will take your case all the way to court. Our fee for this service is 20% of the compensatory amount. If we do go to court, that fee is elevated to 50%.

The EU261 Regulation is set in place to keep the airlines operating in a manner that is respectful to the passenger, makes them own up to their mistakes and allows for an expectation of pleasant travel experiences.

Work with TravelRefund to get what you deserve when you have a qualifying circumstance for cancelled flight compensation.