Flight Delay Claims

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in the last 6 years?

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How to Claim Delayed Flight Compensation

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Feb 29, 2024
7 minutes read
  • Flight compensation qualifying criteria
  • How to go about claiming
  • UK and EU flight compensation amounts

When it comes to suffering from a delayed flight, you might not know how to go about claiming flight compensation. While all airlines are different in how they deal with their customers, the rules as set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are standard and it’s relatively straightforward to make a claim.

This article will explain how much you can receive in compensation for delayed flights. It will also go through the steps you need to take to claim this money from the airline. Finally, this article will talk about the reasons to pursue flight compensation in the UK and explain what airlines must do if you are delayed.

Are you ready to make a claim? Fill in our online form and find your flight. It only takes a minute.

A man in a suit sits on a chair in an airport with his head in his hands. His luggage case is next to him and a black bag is on the adjacent chair

What Is Flight Delay Compensation in the UK?

Originally an EU law, it has since been passed in the UK and covers flights operating within the EU and UK. Under UK regulations, you can claim compensation for a flight that arrived at least three hours late to its destination.

The airline must be registered in either the UK or EU and the qualifying journey has to be taking off or arriving in the UK or EU. This also counts with connecting flights. When it comes to flight compensation, there are rules that have to be followed.

The basic criteria for flight compensation in the UK are as follows:

  • The flight arrived at its destination at least three hours late

  • You are making a claim for a flight that happened in the last six years

  • The delay was caused by the airline

As an example, if you were travelling when the UK air traffic system went down in August 2023, you cannot claim flight compensation because this was not the airline’s fault. Due to a technical error, this counts as extraordinary circumstances, which are exempt.

Extraordinary Circumstances

Despite facing flight disruption, you may not be eligible for compensation under UK law in some situations.

For the avoidance of doubt, you’re unable to claim flight compensation for delays caused by:

  • Air traffic control decisions

  • Bad weather

  • Political issues

  • Safety or security issues or risks

  • Technical problems of an unusual nature

When looking at timings for your disruption, it’s the arrival times that count. If you’re late to take off, you can still arrive at your destination with a delay of less than three hours. Lateness is measured from when you arrive compared to when you were originally scheduled to.

How Much Flight Compensation Are You Entitled To?

Your entitlement to compensation for delayed flights is based on the distance you travel and the length of the delay. Shorter flights are capped at £220, while the longest distances can be up to £520. A standard 1,500km journey that was delayed by 3 hours will entitle you to £220, but even a minute longer will grant you £350 in flight compensation.

You can see the full amounts in the table below.

What If I Took an Alternative Flight?

If your original flight was cancelled and you were offered an alternative flight to your final destination, you can still make a claim, depending on when it lands. Any connecting flight should be met where possible.

The amounts are reduced by half if your replacement flight gets you to your destination within two hours of your original flight time.

Flight compensation for alternative bookings also has a maximum of £520, but this is for the longest flights between the UK/EU and non-UK/EU countries. Even the smallest amount of compensation you can receive is £110, and this is for all alternative flights that land within two hours of your original booking (up to 1,500km in distance).

You can see the amounts for all journeys in the table below.

Steps to Take to Claim Compensation for Delayed Flights

Information You Need

Before you make a claim for flight compensation, you’ll need to make sure you have to hand the following:

Airline Ticket Vector
  • Customer name

  • Booking reference

  • Flight number

  • Flight date and route taken

  • Postal address

Contact the Airline – They’ll Review Your Case

In the first instance, airlines generally prefer you to contact them directly for flight delay compensation. This gives them a chance to review your case and see if they deem it to be valid. If the airline doesn’t believe you have a claim, they will write to you to explain why.

Find out how airlines differ by looking at the flight delay section.

A claim for flight compensation can take a couple of weeks, but in rare circumstances it can take even longer. If the airline is refusing to accept its liability for a flight delay, you can still get your money but you’ll have to use alternative routes. This includes contacting the regulatory body or going to court. Alternatively, you can use a claims company to make the process simple.

Use a Claims Management Company

With legal specialists at their disposal, claims companies process flight compensation claims on a daily basis. They know whether you have a valid claim and fight to make sure you receive the full amount you’re due.

If an airline is making your life difficult, a claims management company has the ability and expertise to take them to court on your behalf. This will force them to pay you your compensation. When it comes to speeding up a lengthy claim, flight compensation can be much easier through a claims company.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

When an airline rejects your claim for flight compensation and you disagree with their decision, you can elevate it to their alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme. This gives you a chance for an independent body to review your claim and make a binding decision on the airline.

If an airline isn’t part of an ADR scheme, you can elevate this to the regulator. If the ADR also rejects your claim, you can escalate it to the regulator. Additionally, you can contact the regulator if you haven’t heard anything about your flight compensation within 8 weeks.

Aeroplane Boarding Isometric

Contact the Regulator

When contacting the airline regulator for flight delay compensation in the UK, such as the CAA, they will review your case and see if you have a valid claim. Unfortunately, while they can ask the airline to fulfil their duties, they currently have no legal powers to force an airline to pay out. This makes it incredibly frustrating when it comes to chasing flight compensation.

At this point, it may seem hopeless, but if you’ve done everything in your power and still haven’t received the rightful compensation, the last option is to use a claims management company.

Start Your Claim

If you have tried to get compensation yourself and not a single body is accepting that it’s valid, you can make a speedy claim through a claims company. Flight compensation is easy for them to resolve as specialist lawyers know how to battle your case. When airlines are in the wrong and won’t accept their fault, you can trust a claims company to get you the compensation you deserve.

Reasons to Claim

When it comes to claiming compensation, you may not feel as though it’s worth doing. However, there are several instances in which you’d be foolish not to claim flight compensation.

You may have paid hundreds of pounds for your ticket(s) and been delayed for several hours in a packed airport. It could have been an extremely uncomfortable experience with no clear indication from the airline when things will start moving again. Equally, this would be much worse with children in the mix, scuppering your family holiday plans. Trying to keep everyone entertained and in high spirits is a mammoth task in itself. Fortunately, flight compensation can go some way to repairing this distress.

Sometimes airports can be uncomfortable to stay in for long periods of time too. If a delay of a few hours suddenly turns into an overnight stay, you are more than inconvenienced enough to make a claim for flight compensation. While the airline will have to sort out accommodation, travel and food and drink expenses, it’s no reason to avoid a payout for a flight that was extremely late.

You can see how much a group of up to four can receive in flight compensation altogether in the interactive graph below.

For these reasons, and more, you can turn your flight delay into a payday. While it may make you think twice about booking with the same airline, flight compensation certainly goes a long way to making reparations.

Airline Responsibilities During a Delay

Waiting at Airport Vector

Depending on the distance of your flight, all airlines are required to offer you food and drink, access to phone calls and emails and overnight accommodation, if necessary. If they cannot provide this for you, you should be able to claim any money back, so long as the expenses are considered “reasonable”.

The flight distance and the delay depends on when these responsibilities kick in.

  • Less than 1,500km – 2 hours

  • 1,500klm –3,500km – 3 hours

  • More than 3,500km – 4 hours

The airline needs to ensure you are looked after in the event of delays, and especially in the event of cancellations. These are your air passenger rights and you should make sure you know them. Just because an airline covers the cost of a meal in the case of a delay, it doesn’t count as compensation. You are entitled to money back for the inconvenience.

Ready to claim compensation for delayed flights? Click on the button below to fill in your details to get started.

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