Flight Delay & Cancellation: Know Your Rights

Can you get compensation for your delayed flight?

Ever had a delayed flight and been forced to wait around in the airport without knowing how and when you will be getting to your destination? You finally arrive at the airport ready for the holiday you have been waiting for, only to be told that that there are some flight delay problems and you must wait for  hours. When a flight Is delayed, customers can’t even leave the airport!

When planning our trips, we pack our bags and we’re full of excitement. However sometimes, the beginning or the ending moments are absolutely ruined at the airport when you realise the flight has been delayed. Additionally, unplanned expenses can leave us out of pocket.

Your operating carrier is responsible for ensuring your travel runs smoothly with minimal disruption and if a disruption occurs which is within the airline’s control, you can claim back flight delay compensation and reimbursement of your unplanned additional expenses.

The Rules

People departing from EU airports, no matter the airline, or those arriving at an EU airport on an EU airline such as Jet2, Thomas Cook, or KLM are covered by EU Regulation EC261/2004 for any flight delayed more than 2 hours. You’re entitled to care, such as meal vouchers and phone calls. Once the delay exceeds 3 hours, a passenger is then entitled to monetary compensation.

The situation is very different when the flight is delayed overnight. You be given hotel accommodation and even the transport to and from the airport. In the case of major disturbances, such as extreme bad weather conditions or war/conflict situations, airline employees may not be able to assist in booking hotels. In such cases, you can make your own arrangements and claim the cost back. But don’t expect a full refund for an expensive hotel unless there’s no alternative. It is essential that you get receipts to support your claims!


There are three major categories which airlines are obliged to compensate passengers;

  • Flight delays
  • Schedule modifications
  • Cancellations or denied boarding

The amount of compensation you receive is based on the distance your flight is due to travel:

  1. Up to £225 for distances less than 1500km
  2. Up to £360pp for distances more than 1500km but less than 3500km
  3. Up to £540pp for distances above 3500km

As with any law, there can be stipulations thrown in to make it slightly more complicated. As per EC261, you are entitled to £225 and £360 if the arrival delay is 3 hours or over. However, for the final £540 bracket, you must arrive 4 hours or over to be entitled to the maximum amount of compensation. If you arrive at your final destination between 3 and 4 hours, the airline can reduce the compensation by 50 percent (£270 per passenger).

Jessica’s Experience

(Jessica Jones, 32, Cheshire)

One of my worst experiences occurred back in 2015 when I had some issues with the airline baggage department. The argument went for over an hour, but they still kept on refusing to board my luggage on the plane as they were already in excess of the weight they were supposed to carry. After I was cleared and paid their penalty for extra weight, I rushed immediately to the terminal where my plane was taking-off (or at least I thought). I quickly realised the flight was delayed for approximately 6 hours due to a problem with the air-conditioning system.

When I heard this news, I was somewhat stunned for a moment, but since I knew the rule to apply for flight delay compensation and additional care, I managed to spend my time at the airport positively. And by saying positively, I mean demanding basic facilities such meal vouchers and refreshments.  I also received the refund for a call I had to make back home. Waiting in the lounge I used the airline’s website to put in a claim for the delay (and that was the end of that, or at least I thought).

Upon returning from my trip I was greeted by an email from the airline stating that they would not pay me compensation as the delay was due to bad weather at the departure airport. Something which infuriated me as I knew that they were blatantly lying. The only choices I had from here were to accept their decision or take the airline to court – something that would have cost a small fortune. It was at this point that I turned to a flight compensation specialist.

Flight Reclaim specialise in claiming compensation for delayed, cancelled or missed connection flights. Having been established within the aviation compensation industry for many years they hold a wealth of knowledge and experience. Working alongside aviation soliciting they have assisted over 30,000 customers in claiming over £3million for disrupted flights. Flight Reclaim hold a 5 Star Trust Pilot Review—customers will be safe in the knowledge that their claim is in safe hands, taking away any hassle of trying to liaise with the airlines themselves only for their requests to be ignored. Operating on a strictly no win no fee policy this gives the customer piece of mind that even if they aren’t successful, they won’t be charged a single penny.

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