Air passenger rights & flight compensation in the UK and the EU
Did you know that 85% of passengers are unaware of their air passenger rights and their right to flight compensation in the UK and the EU? That may sound crazy when you realise that, as soon as you step foot in a plane, as an air passenger, you have rights. Those rights allow you to benefit from flight compensation up to £520 per passenger if your flight was delayed, cancelled or overbooked!
Continue reading to learn more about air passenger rights and flight compensation in the UK and the EU. Or, start your claim now!
Air passenger rights in the UK and the EU — here is what you need to know
In the UK and the EU, there are regulations protecting your air passenger rights
If your flight was delayed, cancelled or if you were denied boarding, you could get up to £520 in flight compensation per passenger!
If your flight was cancelled, you might also be entitled to a full monetary ticket refund.
Table of contents
- Cancelled flight — right to flight compensation
- Air passenger rights for a cancelled flight — right to a ticket refund
In 2004, the European Parliament and Council created Regulation EC 261/2004, also known as EU261, to protect air passenger rights in the European Union. Back in the day, this also included the UK.
Knowing that Brexit would happen, the British government adopted the EU air passenger rights regulation in 2019. The British equivalent of EU261 is known as 'The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019' — it’s now the main regulation protecting passengers travelling from and to the United Kingdom.
Your air passenger rights are protected by European and British regulations only if:
Your flight was operated by a European airline
Your flight was operated by a non-European airline BUT you departed from the UK or an EU country
If you were flying onboard a non-EU or a non-British airline from a non-EU country, the aforementioned regulations, unfortunately, do not apply. See more details in the table below.
Was your flight from Europe delayed or cancelled?
Get flight compensation up to £520 per passenger!
If your flight was delayed by more than 3 hours upon arrival, you can exercise your air passenger rights and claim up to £520.
The amount of the compensation depends on the flight distance:
For flights shorter than 1,500 km, the compensation is £220.
For flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km, the compensation is £350.
For flights of over 1,500 kilometres within the EU, the compensation is also £350.
For flights of over 3,500 kilometres outside of the EU, the compensation is £520 —but if your flight was delayed by fewer than 4 hours, the total amount might be reduced by 50%.
In the event of a cancelled flight, air passenger rights allow travellers to get flight compensation, a flight refund, or both in some situations.
You can exercise your air passenger rights to get flight compensation in the event of a cancelled flight if:
Your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before departure
The airline was the party at fault for the cancellation
More information can be found in the table below.
Was your flight cancelled?
Air passenger rights allow you to receive flight compensation!
If your flight was cancelled, as an air passenger, you can ask for a refund of your flight ticket if:
You chose not to accept the alternative flight offered by the airline
The airline did not provide you with an alternative flight
Overbooking is a common practice among airlines. They usually sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane. If in the end all the passengers went to board the plane, the airline must ask some passengers to give away their seats, rebooking them on another flight and/or offering them vouchers. If no volunteers are found by the airline, the airline will have to deny boarding to random passengers.
If you were denied boarding: you have air passenger rights! Denying passengers boarding is the same as a flight cancellation, according to the EU261. You could then be entitled to flight compensation, flight refund or both, if you did not fly with the airline in the end.
Wondering if your air passenger rights apply for your last flight?
Check your flight now with our free, no obligation Claim Calculator!
According to EU261, for passengers to get their compensation, the airline must be the party at fault for the flight delay or cancellation. If a third party of force majeure causes the delay, cancellation, the airline is not the party at fault and therefore can deny air passengers their rights to flight compensation.
Here are a few examples of extraordinary circumstances (please note that this list is not exhaustive):
Bad weather conditions, such as thick fog, heavy rain, or thunderstorms.
A strike, most often specifically within the aviation industry (for example, a strike of air traffic control workers at a specific airport).
However, a strike of the airline's crew is not considered an extraordinary circumstance!
Political circumstances, such as a terrorist attack or general security risk due to political unrest.
Natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions and hurricanes.
A collision between the aircraft and birds or other foreign objects.
An ill or unruly passenger.
Flight delays caused by the airport staff, such as extraordinarily long queues to security checks.
With Flight-Delayed.co.uk, you can claim flight compensation in just a few minutes. Our experts will handle your claim from A to Z by preparing the right dossier, communicating with the airline, and more. When needed, we will even defend your air passenger rights in court!
For your convenience, we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.
Why claim with Flight-Delayed.co.uk?
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As air passengers, we did not always have rights. Considering commercial flights being a quite recent means of transportation (compared to others), governments worldwide have had to decide on air passenger rights.
This all started in 1999, when the Montreal Convention established worldwide airline liability in the event of passenger death or injury, delays, damage, or loss of baggage and cargo.
After that, in 2004, air passenger rights have been further specified in the EU by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, also known as EU261. This new regulation stated that the airline owes air passengers flight compensation for denied boarding or last-minute flight cancellation.
The same European regulation EU261 was then updated in 2009 after the so-called EU Sturgeon Ruling. This ruling determined that the flight compensation rules should also apply to flight delays of over 3 hours.
Finally, in 2019, the UK government adopted its equivalent of EU261, called 'The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019’.
- More details on delayed flight compensation
- More details on cancelled flight compensation
- Post-Brexit flight compensation rules in the UK
- Rules regarding missed flight compensation
- Rules regarding flight compensation in the case of denied boarding
- Claim Calculator — check if you are eligible for compensation