If your flight is cancelled or delayed, then you have every right to claim flight delay compensation as per the European law. To be specific, a delay of over three hours in the flight departure/arrival, or cancellation of flight, under EU rule 261/2004, entitles you to a delayed flight compensation sum of between Euros 250 and Euros 600 per passenger. You can claim the amount without incurring any legal expenses.
As per the European Union regulations, airlines are required to pay delayed flight compensation if a flight is delayed or cancelled. They can however, sidestep it by citing “extraordinary circumstances”. This includes severe and unnatural weather events such as cyclones and volcanic eruptions. The rules are applicable to any flight departing from any commercial airport located inside the European Union and on any flight entering the EU on an airline having a base operation within the EU zone.
The laws is applicable on all flights flying within the EU or the Swiss region and to departures as well as arrivals in the region (flights run by a Swiss or a EU airline). The ECJ, in its 2009 ruling, decreed that you can claim flight delay compensation if you have had to wait for more than three hours for your flight. In summary, you can claim compensation if your flight is overbooked, cancelled or delayed for time period exceeding three hours.
According to Regulation (EC) 261/2004, an airline must compensate you if the flight is delayed or cancelled. The airline company, in addition, must provide you appropriate hotel accommodation and meals whilst you wait for the rearranged flight. The company must also pay for any transport related expenses that you may have incurred while travelling from the airport to your place of accommodation. No monetary restrictions or time limits are applicable on this.
In case the airline does not offer you any assistance at the airport, then minimise your spending, take receipts for every purchase, and then claim the reimbursement after you reach your destination.
Ways your airline can refute your claim
Airlines can deny you delayed flight compensation if they can prove that the delay was caused due to “extraordinary circumstances”. However, even under this clause, the airline cannot escape the “duty of care” clause, as printed in the regulations. If no accommodation or meals are offered, along with transport between the airport and hotel, then an airline is considered to be shirking the obligation.
If you disbelieve the reason for delay given by your airline, you can challenge the company by writing to the Civil Aviation Authority although they currently have an enormous backlog of processing claims. The airline may try to pass ‘technical faults’ as extraordinary circumstances. Do remember that there is no exact definition of the term ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
Making your claim
There is no time limit on Regulation (EC) 261, however, it is applied as based on the laws of the nation. In England, you have up to six years to file a claim for delayed flight compensation. Many airlines use a number of legal loopholes to avoid paying the claims. If you spend any extra money due to the flight delay, then you can try to have it reimbursed by providing receipts of purchases made or services bought.