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EU261: Europe Flight Delay Compensation Defined

The European Union has essentially the most client pleasant insurance policies with regards to what passengers are entitled to within the occasion that their flight is considerably delayed or canceled. For instance, in case your lengthy haul flight is delayed by not less than 4 hours, you would be entitled to 600 Euro money, which is large. On this publish I wished to go over every little thing you have to learn about how this coverage works.

What’s EU261 flight delay compensation?

Regulation 261/2004 (generally known as EU261) is the European Union’s official rule that dictates what airways owe passengers within the occasion of flight delays or cancelations. This could embody every little thing from money compensation, to resorts, to meal vouchers. That is actually essentially the most beneficiant safety you’ll discover anyplace on the earth with regards to airline passenger rights.

Europe flight delay compensation fundamentals

Below what circumstances are you entitled to compensation in Europe in case your flight is delayed or canceled? As you would possibly anticipate, this may be obscure at instances, since guidelines differ primarily based on the airline you’re flying with, the reason for the delay, and so forth. On this publish I’ll go over all the small print.

Which airways & nations are coated by EU261?

EU261 guidelines apply within the following conditions:

  • If you’re touring from a European Union airport on any airline
  • If you’re touring to a European Union airport on a European Union-based airline

In different phrases:

  • In the event you’re flying from Frankfurt to Newark, EU261 would apply no matter whether or not you’re touring with Lufthansa or United
  • In the event you’re flying from Newark to Frankfurt, EU261 would solely apply on Lufthansa, and never on United (since United isn’t a European Union-based airline)

A pair extra issues to notice:

  • Although Norway and Switzerland aren’t within the European Union, EU261 applies for these nations as nicely
  • You’re solely eligible for EU261 protection if in case you have a confirmed reservation, and are touring on a income or award ticket (in different phrases, workers journey or different industrial low cost tickets don’t qualify)
EU261 additionally probably applies on non-EU airways

How a lot cash is EU261 compensation?

The amount of money compensation you’re entitled to underneath EU261 varies primarily based on the size of the flight… form of:

  • In case your flight covers a distance of underneath 1,500km (930 miles), you’re entitled to 250 Euro compensation should you’re delayed by not less than two hours
  • In case your flight covers a distance of 1,500-3,500km 930-2,200 miles), you’re entitled to 400 Euro compensation should you’re delayed by not less than three hours
  • In case your flight covers a distance of over 3,500km (2,200 miles), you’re entitled to 600 Euro compensation should you’re delayed by not less than 4 hours

In order you may see, the longer the flight, the longer the delay must be with a view to get compensated. Nonetheless, you’re additionally probably going to get extra compensation.

In the event you assume the above is sophisticated, it will get extra sophisticated than that:

  • The gap flown is measures between the capitals of the nations you’re flying between; should you’re flying between Frankfurt and Los Angeles, it could be calculated primarily based on the gap between Berlin and Washington (on this case that doesn’t make an enormous distinction, since each are greater than 3,500km)
  • A delay is calculated primarily based on the time that you just truly arrive at your gate and the doorways open, quite than primarily based on once you contact down at your vacation spot
  • Moreover, the delay is calculated primarily based on how late you attain your closing vacation spot; in different phrases, should you’re flying from Berlin to Frankfurt to New York, and your Berlin to Frankfurt flight is delayed by an hour and causes you to overlook your connecting flight and arrive in New York not less than 4 hours late, you’d be entitled to money compensation
EU261 compensation can get you as much as 600 Euro

Which delays qualify for EU261 compensation?

In the event you’re on the lookout for compensation by means of EU261, you’re entitled to that for any delay or cancelation that isn’t on account of “extraordinary circumstances.” The difficulty is that this generally is a little bit of a grey space, and airways have been identified to play video games. That’s as a result of what constitutes “extraordinary circumstances” isn’t explicitly outlined.

As a basic rule of thumb:

  • Climate delays, air site visitors management delays, delays on account of strikes, delays on account of political instability, and so forth., can be thought-about extraordinary circumstances, so EU261 compensation wouldn’t apply
  • A mechanical drawback, a late inbound plane, a crew-related delay, and so forth., wouldn’t be thought-about extraordinary circumstances, so EU261 compensation would apply
Extraordinary circumstances aren’t eligible for compensation

Do flight cancelations qualify for EU261 compensation?

Not solely does the above compensation apply in case your flight is delayed, however it additionally applies if it’s canceled. EU261 compensation applies within the occasion that your flight is canceled inside 14 days of departure. In case your flight is canceled additional out than that, then the compensation wouldn’t apply.

Moreover, as is the case with delays, extraordinary circumstances are excluded from being eligible for compensation.

Flight cancelations additionally qualify for EU261 compensation

How do you declare EU261 compensation?

Claiming EU261 compensation is probably the tough half, as airways typically do every little thing of their energy to get out of paying this compensation. There are two basic methods you may method this:

  • You possibly can contact the airline to attempt to declare EU261 compensation, and a few airways have types on their web sites by means of which this may be performed
  • You need to use a 3rd occasion service that helps customers with this, although they normally take a big reduce; I’ve by no means used certainly one of these so can’t personally vouch for any, however you may simply discover them on-line

I’d all the time advocate doing every little thing in your energy to request the compensation straight, so you may hold the whole quantity. In the event you’re going to say EU261 compensation, a number of issues to remember:

  • This isn’t one thing you have to do on the airport, so don’t take this up with airport workers, however quite take it up with buyer relations after the actual fact
  • I’d advocate preserving as a lot documentation as doable, together with taking photos of the flight standing web page reflecting the delay, preserving boarding passes, and so forth.
  • Anticipate that airways could attempt to do every little thing of their energy to get out of paying this compensation; this may embody claiming that there have been “extraordinary circumstances,” simply not responding for a very long time, and so forth.
You possibly can declare EU261 compensation straight with an airline

Does EU261 cowl resorts & meals?

Not solely does EU261 provide money compensation within the occasion of a delay or cancelation, however it additionally gives passengers different types of help, together with:

  • Lodge lodging within the occasion of an in a single day delay, together with transport to & from the resort
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Two phone calls or emails

This must be supplied proactively within the occasion of a big delay or cancelation. There’s no promise of how effectively any of this shall be supplied, although. For instance, if in case you have a flight canceled at an outstation (non-hub airport), you might need two brokers attempting to work on resorts for a whole bunch of passengers, which might take hours. So be ready to be affected person.

EU261 compensation also needs to cowl resorts

Ought to EU261 compensation impression how you intend journey?

As I stated, EU261 is essentially the most client pleasant authorities rules on the market with regards to flight delays and cancelations. In the USA, airways can delay your flight by 12 hours or cancel your flight, and also you’re entitled to precisely zero {dollars} compensation. So it’s nice to see that in not less than some a part of the world there’s some safety for customers.

EU261 compensation definitely makes me really feel much less annoyed in conditions the place my flight is delayed or canceled. However I believe there’s additionally an attention-grabbing angle right here on the whole, which could put customers comfy.

Many European airports have unrealistically brief minimal connection instances, after which they encourage passengers to guide very brief connections. Typically individuals will misconnect, although maybe one silver lining right here is that you would find yourself getting EU261 compensation.

As talked about above, the size of the delay is measured primarily based on how late you arrive at your closing vacation spot. Say you’re flying Lufthansa from Chicago to Munich to Berlin with a forty five minute connection. In case your Chicago to Munich flight is delayed by an hour (inflicting you to misconnect), and you find yourself being rebooked on one other flight that will get you to Berlin greater than 4 hours late, you’d be entitled to 600 Euro money compensation.

That definitely takes the sting out of misconnecting a bit…

EU261 compensation takes the sting out of misconnecting

Backside line

The European Union has essentially the most client pleasant guidelines that you just’ll discover anyplace on the earth with regards to flight delays and cancelations. Below EU guidelines, you’re entitled to 600 Euro in money compensation within the occasion that you just’re touring lengthy haul and arrive at your vacation spot not less than 4 hours delayed.

Whereas there are some phrases to concentrate on, in some ways the foundations are nearly as good as they sound. Truly getting an airline to pay, particularly in a well timed method, could possibly be a special story, although.

Hopefully the above is a helpful rundown of how EU261 works. Whereas there’s a bit extra nuance, I attempted to strike the fitting steadiness between preserving this temporary and simple, and being thorough.

Have you ever ever been capable of get EU261 compensation? If that’s the case, what was your expertise like?

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