It is possible to claim flight delay compensations if your flight is delayed or cancelled altogether. However, it is not an easy task to accomplish, as airlines are not always forthcoming on such claims. Before you decide to go ahead and claim compensation from the airlines, it is important that you first determine the cause of the delay.
Reasons for delay
The flight delay claims have to be within governing laws of the country of the airlines as every country or region has different laws regarding flight delay compensations. In most cases, if a flight is delayed by more than two hours, the airlines must offer passengers free meals, refreshments and must also reimburse them for two or more telephone calls or faxes. If by chance the departure is scheduled for the next day, the airlines must arrange and pay for accommodation for all stranded passengers. The airline must also pay for the transport from the airport to the hotel or the place of accommodation.
Passengers are within their right to claim compensations for the cost of the ticket if the flight is delayed for five hours or more. However, it is important to know that the airlines have the right to refuse compensation if the delays are due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’. These are events that cause a delay in the flight due to no fault of the company such as terrorist attacks, security risks, natural calamities, adverse weather conditions and the likes. Another vital detail to note is that airlines are required to pay passengers compensation if the delays are due to technical faults in the flight.
The amount of flight delay compensation passengers can claim differs as per rules and laws governing different countries. For example, all airlines operating from regions under the European Union (EU) are governed by EU regulation 261/2004. Under EU regulations, if there is a delay of more than three hours on a flight covering a distance of 1500 km or less, passengers can claim €250. For distances between 1500 km to 3500, the flight delay claims can be up to € 400 for delays of three or more hours. For distances over 3500 km, compensation can be up to €600. These rates are approximations and may change as per currency rates at the time you file for flight delay compensation. These are, however, not applicable if the delays are due to extraordinary circumstances.
The rules for flight delay claims may vary depending on the region or country of operation. But all passengers are entitled to file for compensation if the flight has been delayed by three hours or more. When you file for claims, know that airlines might cite reasons to wiggle out of paying you the compensation you deserve. If you are serious about receiving your compensation, then be ready to deal with a lot of correspondence to and fro, from you to the airline in question. You can also challenge the airlines if they cite mechanical faults for the delays by counter arguing that airlines must be ready to deal with most technical problems, preventing delays of more than two hours.