Flight Delay Compensation
Flight delay compensation may vary depending on the legislation applied.

EU air passenger rights 

Passenger rights for flight delays apply under the EU regulations in the following scenarios:

  • flight within the EU and operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • flight arriving in the EU from outside the EU and operated by an EU airline
  • flight departing from the EU to a non-EU country operated by both an EU or a non-EU airline


  • if the passenger has not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing, assistance from the airline) for flight-related problems for this journey under the relevant law of a non-EU country.

EU rules also apply to flights to and from Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Travelling from the UK to an EU country

From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of delays to flights from the UK to the EU if the flight was operated by a UK or non-EU airline, even if the flight was booked before this date. 

EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if the flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU airline, unless the passenger has already received compensation for airline delays or other benefits under UK law.

However, UK rules on air passenger rights (UK 261) are mostly similar to EU 261 and apply:

  • to passengers departing from a UK airport
  • to passengers departing from outside the UK to an airport situated in:
    • the UK if the operating airline is either an EU/EEA airline or a UK airline
    • the EU/EEA if the operating airline is a UK airline.

One of the major differences is the replacement of the Euro value of the compensation with Sterling amounts.

Passenger rights in case of flight delay

A flight delay can happen at departure and/or at arrival. The extent of passenger rights differs depending on delay time and type. 

Delay at departure

For the flights delayed at departure, passengers have the right to assistance, refund, and a return flight, depending on delay duration and flight distance.

More than 2 hoursMore than 3 hoursMore than 4 hoursMore than 5 hoursDistance
AAAR/R1500 km and less
-AAR/RAll flights inside EU longer than 1500 km and all flights between 1500 and 3500 km
--AR/RAll other flights
A - assistance, R/R - refund and a return flight

In case the flight is delayed at least 5 hours at departure, the airline must reimburse the ticket and, if a passenger has a connecting flight, offer a return to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity.

Delay upon arrival

A delay of over 3 hours upon arrival at the final destination entitles passengers to compensation unless the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances.


The passengers of the delayed flights are also entitled to free assistance at the airport, which might include, depending on the length of the delay and distance of the flight:

  • Refreshments
  • Food
  • Accommodation (if a passenger is rebooked to travel the next day)
  • Transport to your accommodation and return to the airport
  • 2 telephone calls, telex, fax messages, or emails

If assistance is not offered and the passenger paid for their own meals and refreshments, the airline should reimburse necessary and appropriate expenses. It is important for the passenger to keep all receipts for this purpose. 

Airline compensation. Flight delay

When a passenger reaches their final destination with a delay of 3 or more hours, they are entitled to compensation. The amount of compensation depends on the flight distance:

Amount in EURDistanceDelay time
2501 500 km or lessMore than 3 hours
300More than 3 500 kmBetween 3 and 4 hours
400More than 1 500 km within the EU and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kmMore than 3 hours
600More than 3 500 kmMore than 4 hours

The deadline to claim late flight compensation depends on the airline and usually is 3-6 years after the flight date.

When the compensation is reduced or not paid?

If the airline has offered a passenger a re-routing and they reached the final destination with a delay of 2, 3, or 4 hours, the compensation may be reduced by 50%.

Compensation is not due if the airline proves that the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided. Examples of such events are:

  • air traffic management decisions
  • political instability
  • adverse weather conditions
  • security risks
  • strikes external to an airline

However, if the airline states that the flight was delayed due to bad weather, but the other flights at the same time departed, it is better to double-check. You can easily do this using our compensation calculator.

Compensation calculator

Delay compensation under Canadian law

Canadian flight delay compensation applies to all flights to, from, and within Canada. Airlines are obligated to inform passengers of delay reasons, compensation, and treatment standards. If delay notification is under 12 hours before departure, standard treatment is ensured. For delays of 3+ hours, passengers can receive alternate travel or refunds. If informed within 14 days of delay, minimum compensation ranges from $125-$1,000 CAD, based on delay duration and airline size.


How long does a flight have to be delayed to qualify for compensation?

For the flights covered by EU and Canadian legislation, passengers have the right to compensation if the flight is delayed by a minimum of 3 hours.

What is the amount of compensation for a flight delay?

The compensation amount varies based on factors such as the length of the delay, flight distance, and applicable legislation. It can range from €250 to approximately €670 (equivalent to 1000 CAD).

Flight delay. How do I claim compensation?

Claiming for flight delays with Compensair is simple. Just complete a brief online form, upload the required documents, and monitor emails/profiles for application updates. One can file an application at no cost, Compensair service fee is only due when compensation is received by the passenger.

Check your compensation in case you have experienced a flight delay:

Compensation calculator


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