Compensation for flight delays

Компенсація за затримку рейсу Useful information

Compensation for delays in scheduled and charter flights

Airlines try to do their best to keep flights running strictly on schedule, but it is not always possible to realize this in full. The reasons for a flight delay may depend on the company, the airport, or may be classified as force majeure. Depending on the reason for the delay, the country, and the details of the incident, passengers are entitled to compensation.

Flight delayed? You may be entitled to compensation of up to EUR 600

What should I do if my flight is delayed?

In fact, an airplane ticket is a contract between a passenger and an airline that it will deliver the customer to the final destination or compensate for losses if the flight is not made. First of all, you need to stay calm and follow simple instructions:

  1. keep your boarding pass and supporting documents;
  2. find out the reason why the flight is delayed;
  3. take a photo of the departure board showing that the flight is delayed or save the message in which the airline confirms the delay;
  4. record the time of arrival at the final destination;
  5. contact the airline representatives to provide drinks and meals;
  6. if necessary, ask the airline to organize hotel accommodation.

If your flight is delayed, and you incur additional costs, be sure to keep all receipts – these costs should be reimbursed. Do not sign any documents or accept vouchers to avoid automatically waiving your right to financial compensation.

Compensation for the delay of a scheduled flight

For the delay of a scheduled flight, financial compensation is due, as well as the provision of food and beverages, depending on the duration of the delay. The airline also undertakes to provide passengers with a hotel room if the flight is delayed until the next day. Transportation to and from the hotel is paid for by the airline.

The type and amount of compensation depends on the duration of the delay. In addition, there are cases in which the delay is not the fault of the airline. For example, unfavorable weather conditions or a strike by airport employees. In the case of a strike by employees, the airline is obliged to compensate for losses, as it is responsible for its employees.

Compensation for charter flight delays

In the event of a charter flight delay, similar rules apply. To clarify what compensation the airline should pay, you need to know

  • the reason for the delay;
  • the country where the airline is registered;
  • the convention that this country has adopted to regulate the operation of its airlines.

You can also ask the airline staff to provide you with the means of communication to call or send an email if you want to inform your meeting people or loved ones about the delay.

Want to get up to 600 euros for an airport delay?

What can a passenger be provided with in case of a flight delay?

In case of a flight delay, depending on the duration of the delay and the distance of the planned flight, the passenger can count on the following support and compensation from the airline

  • provision of means of communication with loved ones
  • drinks and meals at the airport;
  • hotel room and transportation to the place of overnight stay and back to the airport;
  • reimbursement of expenses that the passenger was forced to incur due to the delay, such as the purchase of necessities;
    financial compensation for the delay.

The company may offer a different flight to the same destination. If the flight was planned with a stopover and the passenger was late for it, the airline must provide a flight directly to the final destination, taking into account the stopover.

The passenger also has the right to cancel the flight and demand a refund of the unused ticket price. The airline has the right to offer to wait for the flight or to make the flight on more favorable terms. You can agree to the company’s terms, but remember that you should not sign any documents or accept vouchers. They can automatically deprive you of the opportunity to receive financial compensation.

If the flight is delayed by 1 hour

If the flight is delayed by 1 hour, the passenger may request to make a call or send an email. At this time, it is better to check with the airline’s employees about the reason for the delay and follow the above scheme. If you can’t find any employees of the company, contact the hotline or the airport staff.

If the flight is delayed by 2 hours

If the flight is delayed by 2 hours, passengers are provided with drinks and cold snacks. Parents with young children under 7 years of age should be provided with unimpeded access to the mother and child room. Passengers can still request the use of communication devices.

If the flight is delayed by 3 hours

After 3 hours, the airline must provide food and drinks to passengers, as well as offer rebooking tickets for another flight to the same destination.

If the flight is delayed by 4 hours

Passengers can also use airport services free of charge, make 2 calls or send a letter by e-mail/fax. Parents can use the mother and child room.

In case of a flight delay of 5 hours

After five hours of flight delay, the airline may offer a refund of the ticket price within 7 days, as well as return you to the starting point of the route if continuing the trip no longer makes sense.

If the flight is delayed by 6 hours

After 6 hours of flight delay at night, the airline must provide the passenger with a hotel room and free transportation to and from the hotel. If the flight is delayed in the daytime – after 8 hours.

If the flight is delayed by 12 hours

After 12 hours of flight delay, the possibility of hotel accommodation is still valid. The company must also compensate for losses incurred by the passenger when purchasing basic necessities. To do this, you must keep the receipts.

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Compensation for flight delays in Ukraine

The type and amount of compensation depends on the country in which the airline operating the flight is registered. If it is registered in Ukraine – for domestic flights and flights from Ukraine to the EU – compensation is determined by the following aviation regulations:

  • “The Air Code of Ukraine”,
  • the Order “On Approval of the Rules of Air Transportation of Passengers and Baggage”
  • rules of Ukrainian airlines (including the main provisions of the Montreal Convention);

If the flight was operated by an airline registered in Europe, compensation is determined by the Montreal Convention for international flights. The same act applies to international flights operated by Ukrainian airlines.

If the flight is delayed by 2 hours, the passenger is provided with soft drinks and cold snacks. After 4 hours of flight delay in Ukraine, hot meals are provided. After 6 hours at night or 8 hours during the day, you can claim a hotel room and transportation to it.

You can also fly to your final destination on another flight, if the airline offers it, at no extra charge. Or you can cancel the flight and claim a refund.

Financial compensation can be provided for each hour of delay, but the total amount cannot exceed half the ticket price. If the flight is delayed due to the fault of the airline, reimbursement of losses incurred by the passenger is offered.

Compensation for flight delays in Europe

In case of a flight delay in Europe, a passenger may be guided by the following laws:

Regulation EC No. 261/2004 applies to all flights within Europe, all flights departing from Europe, and flights arriving in Europe if they are operated by airlines registered in the EU.

The EU includes 28 countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, St. Maarten, Asorish, Madeira, and the Canary Islands.

According to the Montreal Convention, the airline compensates the passenger for damage caused by a delayed departure, damage, or loss of baggage. The amount of damage is calculated individually. This may include, for example, taxi expenses and necessities. All receipts and checks must be attached for confirmation.

According to EU Regulation 261/2004, the passenger is paid monetary compensation for the time lost due to delays. The loss of time is calculated equally for all passengers on the flight.

Please note: These regulations provide for different types of compensation and they can be claimed simultaneously. Non-pecuniary damage is not compensated.

In case of a flight delay in Europe, a passenger can claim

  1. drinks and meals after 2–4 hours of delay, depending on the flight distance, as well as free transportation to the hotel and a room if the flight is postponed to the next day.
  2. compensation in case of overbooking or if the flight was delayed due to the fault of the airline.

The compensation is:

  • From 250 to 600 euros if the flight was delayed, and you arrived at your destination 3 or more hours later than planned.
  • From 125 to 600 euros if the flight was canceled and replaced with another one less than 14 days before departure.
  • From 250 to 600 euros if boarding is denied due to overbooking.

On international flights, you can claim compensation under the Montreal Convention.

You can also take another flight at no extra charge if the airline offers it, wait for the departure or cancel the flight and get the full cost of the unused part of the ticket back: in case of cancellation and overbooking – in any case, in case of rescheduling – only after 5 hours of delay. If the connecting flight and the remaining flight have lost their meaning, the money will be refunded for all parts of the ticket and delivered free of charge to the original departure airport.

Please note! Meals and drinks are included in any case, and compensation is possible only if you have not canceled the flight and reached your final destination no more than 3 hours late.

Compensation for international flight delays

The calculation and amount of compensation for an international flight delay depends on the airline and the country to or from which the flight is operated.

  • Domestic flights in Ukraine – Ukrainian Aviation Rules apply.
  • Flights from Ukraine to the EU and back – Ukrainian rules and the Montreal Convention, the latter prevails.
  • Flights within the EU and from the EU – the Montreal Convention and EU 261/2004.

To determine what compensation is due for an international flight delay, check which country the airline is registered in.

How to get compensation for flight delays?

According to EC No. 261/2004, you can claim compensation of EUR 600 if…

  • You arrived at your destination three hours later than the scheduled arrival time.
  • Your flight departed from the EU (and was operated by an airline from any country) or landed in the EU (and was operated by an airline headquartered in the EU).
  • You’re checked in for your flight on time (usually this means checking in no later than 45 minutes before departure).
  • This problem occurred with your flight that took place within the last three years.
  • The delay was caused by the airline (for example, due to operational conditions or technical issues).
  • The fact that the airline provided you with meals, drinks, and vouchers does not affect anything.

Compensation for flight delay – calculate its amount for free!

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Flight delay compensation for business travelers and government employees

Many people believe that any compensation for flight delays that occurred as part of a business trip is paid to the employer, but this is not the case.

In fact, compensation for a flight delay should be paid to the passenger who suffered from it, not to the person who paid for the ticket.

This basic principle is set out in the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation and applies to cases of flight cancellation, long delays, and overbooking. It doesn’t matter if you are an employee of a private company or a government employee.

The right to free service

If you are forced to wait for the airline to sort out the situation and allow you to continue your planned trip, European law EC No. 261/2004 entitles you to a number of important things, depending on your flight.

The carrier is obliged to provide you with food and drinks while you wait, as well as access to communication facilities, including the ability to make two phone calls, send messages by telex or fax, and e-mail.

If you need to spend the night, the carrier is obliged to organize hotel accommodation for you, as well as a transfer from the airport to the hotel and back.

Other rights provided for by EC No. 261/2004

Right to a refund or transfer to another flight

If the flight is delayed for more than five hours, you are entitled not only to compensation for the lost time, but also to a full or partial refund of the ticket price, as well as a ticket for a return flight to the airport from which you started your flight (if necessary).

Upgrades and downgrades

If the airline offers to transfer you to another flight and you get a seat in a higher class cabin, the carrier has no right to charge an additional fee. On the other hand, if you have to fly in a lower class cabin on the flight to which you were transferred, you can get a refund of 30 to 75% of the ticket price you originally paid.

Additional compensation for flight delays

Even if you have received the flight delay compensation provided for in EC No. 261/2004, you may still be entitled to additional compensation.

This rule does not apply to cases in which passengers voluntarily refused to give up their seats on board. However, it is worth remembering that the amount of compensation received under EC Regulation No. 261/2004 may be deducted from any additional compensation you are entitled to.

Obligation to inform air passengers of their rights

Airlines are obliged to inform passengers about their rights and the provisions of EC No. 261/2004. This means that information about the rights of air passengers must be provided at the check-in counters of each carrier.

The full text of the regulation is available here.

Vouchers as compensation for flight delays

In the event of a flight delay, the airline may offer you ticket vouchers as compensation. Of course, when you’re tired, fed up, and someone offers you a voucher for a new flight, it’s very hard to refuse.

However, in this case, you should make sure that by accepting the voucher, you do not waive your right to claim compensation that is legally due to you. EU law explicitly states that compensation must be paid in cash or by bank transfer or in the form of a check, unless the passenger agrees to vouchers instead.

By and large, the decision whether to accept an airline voucher or not is up to you. According to available data, most people accept vouchers.

However, it is worth remembering that it is sometimes worth finding out what you can claim if you refuse the airline’s offer and insist on financial compensation.

Most people do not know their rights regarding what compensation they are entitled to.

Apply for flight delay compensation through Compensair

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How is flight delay calculated?

Flight delays are calculated based on the time you arrive at your final destination. This is important because, even if your flight departs late, the carrier can make up for the lost time during the flight.

However, what exactly do we mean when we say “flight arrival time”?

In September 2014, the European Court of Justice defined “time of arrival” (in case C-425/13) as the moment when the aircraft has reached its final destination and one of its doors has been opened.

It is assumed that at this point passengers are given the opportunity to leave the aircraft.

It can take up to 15 minutes or more from the moment of landing to this moment, so it is essential to accurately record this moment if you plan to file a claim for compensation for flight delays.

Airlines are not obliged to pay compensation in exceptional circumstances

According to the provisions of EC No. 261/2004, an airline may avoid the obligation to pay compensation if exceptional circumstances caused the delay.

Such circumstances include situations such as lightning strikes, the need for emergency medical care, air traffic control strikes, severe weather conditions, strikes by airport employees, restrictions by the air traffic control service, unexpected failure of airport radar, sabotage, political unrest, and terrorist attacks. You get the idea.

Is snowfall among the serious adverse conditions?

It depends on whether the airline could have prevented the problem.

If, for example, the airline did not bother to replenish its de-icing supplies before the start of winter, it may be considered responsible for the delay – especially if other airlines’ flights departed on time.

Airline strikes are not exceptional circumstances

In April 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that internal spontaneous strikes by airline employees are not considered exceptional circumstances.

Consequently, airlines are now obliged to pay passengers compensation for flight cancellations and delays if the reason is a strike by airline employees.

If you missed a connecting flight due to a flight delay

Every year we travel to more and more remote places, so connecting flights are no surprise.

If one flight is delayed, you may not be able to catch the next one, and the whole trip will turn into chaos.

The main thing is that if you do miss a connecting flight due to a flight delay, the airline is obliged to find you another flight to the final destination indicated on your ticket.

Moreover, you may be entitled to compensation under European law. If you arrive at your final destination with more than a three-hour delay in relation to your scheduled arrival time, you may be entitled to up to 600 euros.

It is important that your flights are part of one booking and one flight. If you bought a separate ticket for a later flight, it will not be covered by the law.

If you have suffered from a flight delay, cancellation or overbooking within the last three years, you may be entitled to compensation of up to €600.

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How do I get compensation for a flight delay?

To receive compensation, you need to collect a package of documents. It includes:

  • Flight information: route, number and date.
  • Booking number.
  • Boarding pass, ticket, or flight booking letter (a document confirming that you bought a ticket).

Next, you need to file a pre-trial claim with the airline.

Please note! If the company has informed you in advance of a delay in departure, you can choose another flight or cancel the flight. If this delay disrupts the planned transfer, you can get compensation.

In Ukraine, don’t forget to stamp your boarding pass or itinerary receipt with a stamp about the delayed departure – contact an employee of the company or the information desk at the airport.

Flight cancellation due to coronavirus quarantine

These days, many travelers face problems trying to get their money back for a canceled flight due to COVID-19 quarantine. Airlines are trying to avoid cash refunds and offer vouchers and re-routes, which not only spreads negativity among travelers but also infringes on their rights.  A recent statement by the European Commission is that every traveler can get their money back and refuse any alternatives offered. Other jurisdictions do not prohibit this option either.

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