Regulation 261/2004

European Regulation EC 261/2004

Regulation 261/2004 is a regulation that establishes rules on compensation for passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations or delayed flights. The regulation made in 2004 was enforced on the 17 February 2005 and applies to all members of the EU and the airlines that reside in them.

EU Regulation 261/2004 applies to:

Any passenger of any age and nationality, whose flight departed from any airport which resides in the European Union or; was en-route to an EU member state whilst travelling with an airline operated in the EU. To be eligible under regulation 261/2004, the passenger must have a confirmed reservation on the flight and arrived on time for check-in.

Flight Delays

Passengers are entitled to refreshments and communication from the airline if they expect a flight to be delayed for more than a few hours. Should the expected departure date change to a later date on a delayed flight, passengers are entitled to accommodation provided by the airline.

Delayed flights of more than 5 hours entitles passengers to 'abandon' their flight, allowing the passenger to claim back a full refund of all unused tickets. Should the passenger be involved in a multi-flight travel plan where they have connecting flights, they are also entitled to a refund on tickets already used if the flight no longer serves purpose in regards to their original flight plan. In such case, if relevant, a flight back to the original point of departure should be awarded.

Flight Delay Compensation

As a passenger, regulation 261/2004 states that you have a right to be reimbursed for your journey when delayed as outlined below:

Cash compensation

This form of compensation is for the inconvenience the passenger has endured as a result of the delay, and compensates their time lost and loss of enjoyment. The amounts payable are:

  • £210* / €250 if your flight was 1,500km or less.
  • £340* / €400 if your flight was over 1,500km.
  • £540* / €600 if your flight was over 3,500km and was to a non-EU airport.

If rerouting was offered which results in the passenger arriving within three hours of the scheduled arrival time, the compensation payable is halved.

The airline is not obliged to pay compensation should they experience unforeseen extraordinary circumstances.

If you would like more information, please see our flight compensation claims page.

Rerouting or refunding

The passenger may choose to have a refund of the cost of any unused flight tickets and if needed receive a flight back to the original point of departure should they have a multi-part travel plan. If the passenger wishes to continue their journey, they may opt for rerouting to the final destination instead at the earliest opportunity.

Refreshments and accommodation

Passengers are entitled to free refreshments and accommodation (depending on the delay of the flight), unless such offerings would further delay the flight. The regulation states that each passenger is entitled to (provided by the airline):

  • Meals and refreshments directly proportional to the waiting time.
  • Two telephone calls, or fax messages, or emails.
  • In the case of a change in departure date caused by delay, the passenger has a right to hotel accommodation and transport.

Making A Claim

There are multiple ways you can make a claim for the inconvenience of a delayed flight.

Writing to the airline yourself

If you believe you are eligible for compensation, you may attempt to claim it directly from the airline. You will be required to write exactly what happened to your flight, the flight number, the time of scheduled arrival and the actual arrival time. The airline should normally respond to you within 30 days of receiving your letter. If you are ignored by the airline, you may wish to contact the civil aviation authority or Flight Delays will instruct solicitors to act on your behalf.

Instructing Flight Delays to act on your behalf

If you have been subject to a delay of more than 3 hours within the last 6 years, you may be entitled to compensation. We operate on a no win no fee* basis and there is no initial fee to pay. Don't delay Start your claim today.

You Can Claim Up To £540* Per Passenger

Amounts vary. Charges deductible. Terms apply*

Start your claim now