Air passenger rights & flight compensation in the UK and the EU

Your air passenger rights allow you to benefit from flight compensation up to £520 per passenger if your flight was delayed, cancelled or overbooked.

Claim flight compensation in less than 5 minutes!

Air passenger rights in the UK and the EU — here is what you need to know

  • In the UK and the EU, there are regulations protecting your air passenger rights

  • If your flight was delayed, cancelled or if you were denied boarding, you could get up to £520 in flight compensation per passenger!

  • If your flight was cancelled, you might also be entitled to a full monetary ticket refund.

  • Claim your money now with, we have been defending air passenger rights since 2010!

Air passenger rights: what are the regulations protecting your rights in the UK and EU?

In 2004, the European Parliament and Council created Regulation EC 261/2004, also known as EU261, to protect air passenger rights in the European Union. Back in the day, this also included the UK.

Knowing that Brexit would happen, the British government adopted the EU air passenger rights regulation in 2019. The British equivalent of EU261 is known as 'The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019' — it’s now the main regulation protecting passengers travelling from and to the United Kingdom.

When are the British and European regulations protecting my air passenger rights?

Your air passenger rights are protected by European and British regulations only if:

  • Your flight was operated by a European airline, OR, 

  • Your flight was operated by a non-European airline BUT you departed from the UK or an EU country

If you were flying onboard a non-EU or a non-British airline from a non-EU country, the aforementioned regulations, unfortunately, do not apply. See more details in the table below.

Type of flightExampleCompensation
Flying with a British carrierTokyo to London with British AirwaysYes
Flying with a EU carrierAmsterdam to London with KLMYes
Flying with a non-UK/non-EU carrier from the UKLondon to Tokyo with Japan AirlinesYes
Flying with a non-UK/non-EU carrier to the UKTokyo to London with Japan AirlinesNo

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Air passenger rights for a delayed flight: claim flight compensation up to £520!

If your flight was delayed by more than 3 hours upon arrival, you can exercise your air passenger rights and claim up to £520.

The amount of the compensation depends on the flight distance:

Distance of your flightCompensation
Flights shorter than 1,500 kmGet £220 per passenger
Flight between 1,500 and 3,500 kmGet £350 per passenger
Flights of over 1,500 kilometres within the EU
Get £350 per passenger
Flights of over 3,500 kilometres outside of the EU
Get £520 per passenger

flight compensation amount

Air passenger rights for a cancelled flight: claim flight compensation and ticket refund

In the event of a cancelled flight, air passenger rights allow travellers to get flight compensation, a flight refund, or both in some situations.

Cancelled flight — right to flight compensation

You can exercise your air passenger rights to get flight compensation in the event of a cancelled flight if:

  • Your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before departure, AND,

  • The airline was the party at fault for the cancellation

More information can be found in the table below.
Cancellation noticeAlternative flightCompensation
Fewer than 7 days in advanceDeparts 1h+ earlier or arrived 2h+ laterYes
7-14 days in advanceDeparts 2h+ earlier or arrived 4h+ laterYes
Fewer than 14 days in advanceNo alternative flight offeredYes + refund

Was your flight cancelled?

Air passenger rights allow you to receive flight compensation!

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Air passenger rights for a cancelled flight — right to a ticket refund

If your flight was cancelled, as an air passenger, you can ask for a refund of your flight ticket if:
  • You chose not to accept the alternative flight offered by the airline

  • The airline did not provide you with an alternative flight

Denied boarding, overbooked flight — what do the air passenger regulations say?

Overbooking is a common practice among airlines. They usually sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane. If in the end all the passengers went to board the plane, the airline must ask some passengers to give away their seats, rebooking them on another flight and/or offering them vouchers. If no volunteers are found by the airline, the airline will have to deny boarding to random passengers.

If you were denied boarding: you have air passenger rights! Denying passengers boarding is the same as a flight cancellation, according to the EU261. You could then be entitled to flight compensation, flight refund or both, if you did not fly with the airline in the end.

Wondering if your air passenger rights apply for your last flight?

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Can the airline deny my air passenger rights? All about the extraordinary circumstances.

According to EU261, for passengers to get their compensation, the airline must be the party at fault for the flight delay or cancellation. If a third party of force majeure causes the delay, cancellation, the airline is not the party at fault and therefore can deny air passengers their rights to flight compensation.

Here are a few examples of extraordinary circumstances (please note that this list is not exhaustive):

  • Bad weather conditions, such as thick fog, heavy rain, or thunderstorms.

  • A strike, most often specifically within the aviation industry (for example, a strike of air traffic control workers at a specific airport).

    However, a strike of the airline's 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 ill or unruly passenger.

  • Flight delays caused by the airport staff, such as extraordinarily long queues to security checks.

Air passenger rights: how to claim flight compensation and exercise your rights? is the fastest and easiest way to claim flight compensation!

With, you can claim flight compensation in just a few minutes. Our experts will handle your claim from A to Z by preparing the right dossier, communicating with the airline, and more. When needed, we will even defend your air passenger rights in court!

For your convenience, we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

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 If you wish to learn more about our fees, please visit our Price List page.

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Air passenger rights and flight compensation — a little history

As air passengers, we did not always have rights. Considering commercial flights being a quite recent means of transportation (compared to others), governments worldwide have had to decide on air passenger rights.

This all started in 1999, when the Montreal Convention established worldwide airline liability in the event of passenger death or injury, delays, damage, or loss of baggage and cargo.

After that, in 2004, air passenger rights have been further specified in the EU by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, also known as EU261. This new regulation stated that the airline owes air passengers flight compensation for denied boarding or last-minute flight cancellation.

The same European regulation EU261 was then updated in 2009 after the so-called EU Sturgeon Ruling. This ruling determined that the flight compensation rules should also apply to flight delays of over 3 hours.

Finally, in 2019, the UK government adopted its equivalent of EU261, called 'The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019’.