EU Regulation 261/2004: Know Your Rights

Do you know your rights under the EU regulation 261/2004? This regulation is also referred to as the flight compensation regulation. Air passengers tend to deal with a lot, ranging from delayed flights to cancelled flights and denied boarding for unjustifiable reasons. However, under this regulation, you can be compensated with up to €600, among other things. 


What Does the EU Regulation 261/2004 Entail?

The EU regulation 261/2004 is established to favour passengers for any flight disruption. While some of these disruptions such as long delays and cancellations might have been seen as a common occurrence, the legislation confirms that they cause great inconvenience to the passenger. As a result, every affected passenger should be compensated. While this law sounds great, it doesn’t apply to everyone. You will be entitled to compensation if you meet the following criteria:


  • You have a valid ticket and booking information.
  • You started your trip at an EU airport or landed in an EU airport, with the airline headquartered in the EU.
  • You weren’t notified of the flight delay or cancellation at least 14 days before departure. 
  • In the case of a flight delay, you checked in on time, which is at least 45 minutes before departure.  
  • The case is on a flight operated in the last six years. 


The compensation mostly depends on the reason behind the flight disruption and also the flight distance. If the reason was within the airline’s control, you will be entitled to compensation. However, if the reason was out of their control such as in the case of adverse weather conditions like a hurricane or an earthquake, you might not be able to get compensation from the airline. 


The exact amount you get is determined by the distance of your flight as expanded below.


  • Short distances up to 1500km, e.g. London – Edinburgh: €250 compensation
  • Medium distances up to 3500km, e.g. London – Athens: €400 compensation
  • Long distances more than 3500km, e.g. London – Tokyo: €600 compensation


The amount you bought your ticket doesn’t, in any way, affect how much you get. It also doesn’t change if the passenger is a child or if you are on a business trip. As long as your booking information is valid, you can claim compensation under the EU 261 law for flight disruptions. 


How Do You Claim Your Compensation?

Once you have established that you are eligible for compensation under the EU regulation 261/2004, you can get started on the process. Gather all relevant information and documents about your flight. This includes the reason for the disruption obtained from the airline in a written format, your booking information and ticket, and receipts of expenses incurred due to the disruption. Then, you can reach out to the airline to find out about their process for claiming compensation. Contact them directly or check their website for any available form to fill. 

This process can seem tedious, especially if you’re not familiar with how it works. This is why it’s always best to get an attorney or work with an agency like Flightright to help you through the process. 


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