Thanks to EU regulation No. 261/2004, air passengers flying between European countries are well protected when it comes to flight cancellations and delays.
In short, according to the regulation and additional rulings of EU courts:
If your flight has been delayed by at least 3 hours, you are entitled to compensation of up to £520.
If your flight has been cancelled and you have not been offered an alternative flight (or you don’t want to take the alternative flight) you are entitled to a monetary refund.
If your flight has been cancelled fewer than 14 days before departure, you might also be entitled to compensation.
Delayed or cancelled Christmas flight to the USA or another non-EU country? You might still be eligible for compensation!
Are you visiting your family living outside of the UK and EU and your Christmas flight is delayed or cancelled? Not to worry, you still have a chance to get compensated and refunded!
You are eligible for Christmas flight refund and compensation if:
You are flying with an American airline from Europe to the USA — e.g. from Paris to Atlanta with Delta. Flights with American airlines from the USA to Europe are not covered!
You are flying with a European airline either from or to the USA — e.g. from NYC to Paris with Air France.
This depends on the distance between your point of origin and your point of arrival.
To put it simply:
For all flights of 1,500 kilometres or less, the compensation is £220.
For all flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres, the compensation is £350.
For all flights of over 1,500 kilometres within the EU, the compensation is also £350.
For all flights of over 3,500 kilometres outside of the EU, the compensation is £520.
If your Christmas flight has been cancelled and you have not been offered an alternative flight — or the alternative flight doesn’t fit your schedule — you are entitled to a monetary refund. Don’t accept vouchers from the airline, they owe you actual money!
Additionally, if your Christmas flight has been cancelled fewer than 14 days before the original departure date, you might also be entitled to compensation of up to £520. There are, however, some criteria to take into consideration. See the table below for more information.
Unfortunately, passengers are still too often denied their compensation and refund — especially if they handle the claim themselves, without a legal representative. Airlines believe that not many of these passengers will ultimately take the case to court.
However, it’s also worth noting that there are situations in which the airline doesn’t have to offer compensation. We call these extraordinary circumstances.
Bad weather, such as thick fog, heavy rain, or thunderstorms.
A strike, most often specifically within the aviation industry.
HOWEVER! A strike of a specific airline/their crew is not considered an extraordinary circumstance!
Political circumstances, such as a terrorist attack or general security risk due to political unrest.
Natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions and hurricanes.
A collision between the aircraft and birds or other foreign objects.
An unruly or ill passenger.
Flight delays caused by the airport staff, such as extraordinarily long queues to security checks.
Of course, in some cases, the airlines claim that these extraordinary circumstances occurred, even if they didn’t. To make sure if you are entitled to compensation for your cancelled or delayed Christmas flight, use our free, no-obligation Claim Calculator.
If you wish, you can later decide to file the claim yourself or let us handle it for you — we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, have 10+ years of experience, and have won 98% of court cases against airlines.
If you are flying from or to the UK, you have up to 6 years to file a claim.
If your itinerary doesn’t include the UK, the time to submit a claim differs depending on your point of origin, point of arrival, and the airline you are flying with.
Thanks to our years of experience in the sector, legal teams in 9 countries, and good relationships with many airlines, we are able to process your claim fast and give it the much-needed attention. Many of the passengers we help receive their money within a few weeks or months.
Unfortunately, if the airline is unresponsive or we have to take the case to court, the wait for compensation can be significantly longer — up to a few years. Rest assured, however, that we will always keep you posted on any new update regarding your claim and fight for your rights until the very end.
And remember, we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ policy!
First, check if you are indeed entitled to compensation/refund using our free, no-obligation Claim Calculator.
Afterwards, you can either file the claim yourself or let us handle all the time-consuming paperwork and court proceedings for you.
We have been helping passengers with their claims for over a decade, have legal teams in 9 countries, and have won 98% of court cases against airlines.
Plus, our claim system makes the whole process really easy for you — you can submit all the relevant documents right from your phone or your computer and we will handle it from there!
For your convenience, we work exclusively on a 'no win, no fee' basis.
- More details on delayed flight compensation
- More details on cancelled flight compensation
- Post-Brexit flight compensation rules in the UK
- Rules regarding missed flight compensation
- Rules regarding flight compensation in the case of denied boarding
- Claim Calculator — check if you are eligible for compensation