Air passenger rights in the United Kingdom after Brexit
When the UK was part of the European Union, British citizens enjoyed some of the most pro-air passenger rights in the world. How has this changed after Brexit? Read on to learn more about the UK flight compensation rules post Brexit.
After Brexit, the UK adopted the EU air passenger rights.
If you have encountered a flight delay or a flight cancellation in the past 6 years, you might be eligible for compensation.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be entitled to up to £520 in flight compensation.
You can check if you are eligible for flight compensation using our free Claim Calculator.
At Flight-Delayed.co.uk, we have legal teams in 9 different countries and over 10 years of experience fighting airlines in courts. We can help you get your money back based on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.
Table of contents
In 2004, after observing how unfairly air passengers are treated by airlines, the EU established Regulation EC 261/2004, often referred to as Flight Compensation Regulation. Initially, it guaranteed compensation for the loss of time as a result of a flight cancellation or denied boarding (e.g. due to overbooking). However, in 2009, as an effect of the Sturgeon Ruling, the regulation started also covering lengthy flight delays.
Unfortunately, still many air passengers are unaware of their rights. According to the Summer 2020 Standard Eurobarometer survey, only 14% of EU citizens know that air passengers rights exist in the EU. This makes some airlines successfully avoid their obligations.
Thankfully for the citizens of the United Kingdom, the Flight Compensation Regulation has been adopted in time into British law — the new law is called 'The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019’. The name might not be as easy to remember as the European original but what’s important is that thanks to the law, the rights of British air passengers stay the same.
Did you know?
If you had a delayed. cancelled, or overbooked flight during the last 6 years, you might be entitled to up to £520 in compensation!
Not every case of a delayed flight is eligible for compensation. You can get the money only if the flight has arrived at your destination at least 3 hours late.
Then, you have to consider the distance of your delayed flight:
- For all flights of fewer than 1,500 km, the compensation is £220.
- For all flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km, the compensation is £350.
- For all flights over 3,500 km, the general compensation is £520 — however, if your flight has been delayed by fewer than 4 hours, the total amount can be reduced by 50%.
Be aware that many airlines try to avoid paying out the delayed flight compensation. In some cases, there are extraordinary circumstances (see more about these below ⬇️) that rightfully allow the airline to deny you flight compensation. However, in many other cases, the truth is on the passenger’s side — but the airline still insists on denying the claim, especially if the passenger is not aided by a legal expert.
If you wish to have your flight delay compensation case handled by professionals, count on Flight-Delayed.co.uk. We have legal teams in 9 countries and have been fighting airlines in courts for over 10 years. There is no risk for you — we only collect a fee when the airline actually pays the compensation. Just take a few minutes to submit your claim through our easy-to-use system (it even works on your phone!) and we’ll handle all the paperwork for you moving forward.
In the case of cancelled flight compensation, the checklist to consider is a bit more complicated than in the case of delayed flight compensation. Have a look at the table below to see the cases in which you are eligible for cancelled flight compensation.
Additionally, when you have not been offered an alternative flight, you are always eligible for a full refund of your flight — not in the form of a voucher, but a money refund. So, if your flight has been cancelled fewer than 14 days in advance and you have not been offered an alternative flight, you can get both a money refund AND cancelled flight compensation!
You can also get a refund if you have been offered an alternative flight but it does not fit your schedule.
Yes. In some cases, the airline may deny you delayed or cancelled flight compensation in the hope that you won’t take them to court.
However, there are also situations in which the airline is not obliged to compensate the passengers. In the aviation industry, we call these extraordinary circumstances. These are:
- 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.
- Delays caused by the airport staff, such as extraordinarily long queues to security checks.
Due to these extraordinary circumstances, it might be sometimes difficult to assess the chances of getting cancelled or delayed flight compensation by yourself. But there is a solution — simply use our free, no-obligation Claim Calculator to quickly check if you are eligible for compensation. If you are, we can then help you get your money back. When needed, we will even go to court to fight the airline in your name.
What’s best, as we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, you don’t have to pay us anything until you get your money back from the airline.
Yes, at least in some cases.
The air passenger rights covered by the British equivalent of the EU Regulation EC 261/2004 guarantee compensation for all delayed and cancelled flights departing from the UK. However, if you are flying into the UK, it depends on what type of airline you are flying with. See the table below for details.
The UK has some of the longest periods to submit a flight delay compensation or cancelled flight compensation claim — you can do so up to 6 years after the original flight date.
If you had a case of a cancelled or significantly delayed flight during this period, check your eligibility for compensation before the time runs out!
This highly depends on the airline’s willingness to cooperate. In some cases, it might take as little as a few weeks; in others, you might need to wait even around 2 years.
It might sound like a long time but be aware that in most cases the law is on the passenger’s side. To make sure you are compensated, if needed, our legal experts at Flight-Delayed.co.uk will even go to court — to this day, we have won 98% of court cases against airlines. We operate exclusively on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis so you can be sure you don’t have to pay us anything until the airline sends you the money.