The time limit for claiming flight delay compensation
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Claiming compensation for your flights’ delay or cancellation can be a trouble-filled quest. The relevant pieces of legislation may be very well unclear about some specific conditions and many of the aspects regarding the process of claiming your compensation are left to be decided by the national enforcement bodies in every member State of the European Union.
Knowing exactly how much time one has available to submit a claim if you’ve been denied boarding, if your flight was delayed or If it has been cancelled will help you enforce your rights as an air passenger inside the EU. Yes! You are entitled to compensation if your flight has been delayed, cancelled or if it was overbooked. However, the statutes of limitations vary from country to country.
What is the statute of limitations regarding flight delays and cancellations in the United Kingdom?
The Civil Aviation Authority, the UK’s enforcement body when it comes to Regulation EC 261/2004, established that you have up to six years after the date of your disruption to claim compensation and you are awarded the same timeframe in Ireland.
One important thing to note is that legal proceedings, in case they are necessary, need to be initiated before the expiry date on your claim. The United Kingdom and Ireland are the countries with the longest timeframes in which you initiate court action against an airline regarding the rights granted to you by Regulation EC 261/2004.
If you’ve experienced a flight delay or cancellation in the past (or if you were denied boarding because your flight was overbooked) but you are unsure if you’re still in time to claim compensation, you can check your flight for free here with Flight-Delayed:
We can also manage your claim under our no win, no fee agreement. Best of all, our 25% win-fee covers all possible legal costs associated with claiming your compensation. Furthermore, we’ll ensure that the airline pays what you’re owed and that they do it before your claim expires.
The airline’s nationality also determines the period of time in which you can claim compensation for your flight delay or cancellation
The airline’s country of origin also determines the timeframe because you can always sue them in said country. That means that even if your flight originated and arrived somewhere outside of the UK, you can still sue easyJet in the UK up to six years after the disruption.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you flew from Amsterdam to Berlin four years ago with easyJet and your flight arrived with a delay greater than three hours. In the Netherlands, the statute of limitations is two years for claiming compensation for a flight delay. In Germany, it’s three. You would think you’re out of options. However, due to the fact that easyJet is an English carrier, you could still proceed in the UK because of the established six-year timeframe. You might very well still be in time to be compensated for a past flight.
Timeframes in other European countries for claiming compensation
It’s no surprise that flight delays and cancellations occur all around Europe and at any given moment. Even though all flights originating from an airport in the EU and all flights operated by an EU-carrier fall under Regulation EC 261/2004, the statute of limitations varies depending on in which member state you want to proceed legally.
The time constraints in other European countries are as follows:
- Belgium: 1 year
- Poland: 1 year
- Italy: 2 years
- The Netherlands: 2 years
- Germany: 3 years
- Denmark: 3 years
- Spain: 5 years
- France: 5 years
- The UK and Ireland: 6 years
Remember that these timeframes also come into play depending on the airline’s nationality. It’s worth mentioning once more that if you still have doubts about the topic, our team will be happy to assist you.
What happens when flying to somewhere outside of the EU and with a non-EU airline?
Great question! Then, the location of the airport of departure will determine the time you have available for claiming compensation. So, if you were flying from Manchester to Los Angeles with Delta, you would still have six years to claim compensation. However, if you were flying from Brussels to New York with Delta, you would only have one!
Does the total amount of compensation also change in the same way?
Even though the statutes of limitations vary from country to country, the total amount is determined by the distance covered by your flight. It doesn’t really matter from where you’re flying, as long as it’s from inside of the EU or with an EU carrier. Here are the criteria that define the total amount of your compensation:
- €250 (approx. £216.00) For flights of up to 1500 kilometres
- €400 (approx. £345.00) For all other flights within the EU and for flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres from or to an airport outside the European Union
- €600 (approx. £518.00) For all other flights (that means of 3500+ kilometres)
*Totals in GBP may vary depending on the exchange rate against the Euro.
The difference between reimbursement and compensation when your flight has been disrupted
For us, it’s a must to remind you about the difference between "reimbursement" and "compensation". Another subject on which there is still a lot of confusion and airlines exploit to their advantage. The two terms are often understood as synonyms in cases of flight delays and cancellations but are most definitely not.
Reimbursement is the refund of the amount that a passenger has spent to purchase a ticket from the airline. This can be requested when your flight is cancelled and you are not offered (or do not accept) an alternative flight. You can also ask for one if you’ve been denied boarding due to overbooking but you will have to give up your right to be flown to your final destination. Compensation, on the other hand, is the monetary payment to make up for the time you’ve lost due to your delay, cancellation or denied boarding. Keep in mind that it should always be awarded to the passenger who has suffered the disruption and not the person or entity that purchased the ticket.
Please remember that compensation and refund are not the same thing and enforce your rights as an air passenger. Check your flight to find out how much money you’re owed in compensation before you accept an offer from the airline.