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Regulation UK261 – Your passenger rights after Brexit

Despite the UK formally leaving the EU on 31 January 2020, Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Denied Boarding, Cancellation and Long Delays has continued to apply – albeit under a different piece of legislation, called UK261.

During its transition period, the UK has agreed with the EU, as part of the conditions for leaving, to maintain certain laws around mobility and transport, including aviation.

In this article you can read more about UK261, which was introduced in the UK in the wake of Brexit. You can also find out whether your flight delay falls under UK261 or EU261.

EU216 becomes UK261

As the UK is no longer part of the European Union after Brexit, EU261 does not apply to UK airlines departing from UK airports.

However, the UK government have a similar regulation on passenger rights called “The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit)” better known as UK261.

A small number of changes have been made to the wording of EU261 as it applies in the UK to ensure that it works effectively despite the UK no longer being an EU member state.

As before, compensation amounts are fixed in UK261. However, the compensation currency in UK261 has changed from the Euro value to Sterling amounts as shown in the table below:

Distance traveledOriginal Euro amountNew Sterling amount
1.500 km eller mindreEUR 250GBP 220
Mellem 1.500 km og 3.500 kmEUR 400GBP 350
Større end 3.500 kmEUR 600GBP 520

The longer the flight, the greater the compensation amount. Flight delay compensation is dependent on the length of the delay and distance traveled, rather than the price you paid for the ticket.

If your flight falls under UK261, the compensation you receive is also likely to be paid in sterling and not euros.

Field of application for UK261

Passengers have the same cover under UK261 as they had under the previous EU261.

UK261 applies in the following situations:
  • when traveling from a UK airport on any airline
  • when you travel to an airport in a country other than the UK to an airport located in:
  • Great Britain with an operating airline that is either an EU/EEA or UK airline or
  • EU/EEA with a UK operating airline
UK261 will provide compensation in the following circumstances:
  • flight delays of three or more hours
  • Flight cancellations less than 14 days before the departure date
  • Refusal of boarding due to overbooking

However, the UK can independently of the EU change the content of UK261 by following a legislative process in exactly the same way as with any other legislation.

UK261 or EU261 – Which regulation are you covered under?

Passengers have the same rights in UK261 and EU261 when they experience denied boarding, cancellation and long delays.

Any claim for compensation made in the UK as a result of a qualifying delay or cancellation is brought under UK261 with a limitation period of 6 years for the flight in question.

EU261 is still applicable with UK airlines, but only in EU member states.

On certain routes there will be overlapping coverage. Some passengers will have the option of making their claim under UK law under UK261 or under EU law under EU261.

You are flying with a UK airline

UK261 concerns UK airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and EasyJet, as well as non-UK airlines departing from UK airports.

Scenarios where you are protected:
  • EU – EU (UK261 & EU261)
  • EU – UK (UK261 & EU261)
  • EU – third country (UK261 & EU261)
  • United Kingdom – EU (UK261 only)
  • United Kingdom – United Kingdom (UK261 only)
  • UK – Third country (UK261 only)
  • Third country – EU (UK261 only)
  • Third country – UK (UK261 only)

You are flying with an EU airline

EU261 concerns European airlines, such as SAS, Air France, Lufthansa, KLM and Norwegian, as well as non-European airlines departing from European airports.

Scenarios where you are protected:
  • EU – EU (EU261 only)
  • EU – UK (UK261 & EU261)
  • EU – Third country (only EU-261)
  • UK – EU (UK261 & EU261)
  • United Kingdom – United Kingdom (UK261 only)
  • UK – Third country (UK261 only)
  • Third country – EU (EU-261 legislation only)
  • Third country – United Kingdom (UK261 legislation only)

You are flying with a non-EU / non-UK airline

If you are traveling with an airline that is neither European nor British, you may still be protected by UK261 and EU261.

Scenarios where you are protected:
  • EU – EU (EU-261 only)
  • EU – UK (only EU261),
  • EU – third country (EU-261 only)
  • UK – EU (UK261 only),
  • UK – UK (UK261 only),
  • UK – Third country (UK261 only).

For more information, read more here.

Start your claim for compensation with Travelrefund

If regulations UK261 and EU261 are a bit too much for you, we at Travelrefund are always ready to take your case further.

We are committed to enforcing your rights as an air passenger worldwide.

Our mission is to help you get your money back for your delayed, canceled or overbooked flight.

Our skilled legal department handles your case completely free of charge. We then contact the airline on your behalf and claim the compensation. Note that it may take longer for you to receive your refund if we need to go to court. You can start your claim here.

If we’re successful, we take a small percentage of the refund. If we’re not successful, there’s no cost for you. You can find our contact information here. We look forward to hearing from you!

Also read about what you should do if your flight has been canceled or delayed.

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