Recent European court case decision confirms passengers’ right to claim for compensation after delays of more than three hours on arrival.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has recently issued a judgment on delayed passengers’ right to compensation.
The right to compensation for delayed flights is not set out specifically in European law so the judgment has a direct effect on passengers’ ability to claim for compensation for delayed flights where the delay on arrival is longer than three hours. We have set out below some advice for passengers and some frequently asked questions (FAQs) on how to claim, and what you may be entitled to. The judgment applies to flights from European Union (EU) airports. It also applies to flights to EU airports, from outside the European Union, on an EU airline. (EU in this sense includes all EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.)
You should be aware that you may not actually be entitled to compensation if your flight was delayed due to what is known as extraordinary circumstances which are outside the airline’s control. This is when the flight would have been delayed, even if the airline had taken all reasonable measures to avoid the flight being delayed. For example, if there were poor weather conditions or a strike at the airport.
Standard letter for compensation claims for delay
We provide a standard letter to help you with any claim you may have for compensation for delay. You should send this to the airline. Some airlines may require you to fill in a specific complaints form, so you may wish to check with them their requirements before you send the letter.
What should you do if you have already made a claim for a delayed flight?
If you have already written to the CAA or an airline about a delayed flight, you should contact the airline again in the first instance, saying that following the judgment in the TUI v CAA case, you would like to pursue your claim for compensation. It will help speed the claim if you provide the following information:
1) Passenger details
What should you do if you have not yet made a claim for a delayed flight?
If you have not previously taken up a claim with your airline, you may wish to check our questions below to see if you may have a valid claim and you should include the following information as well as that listed above:
2) Flight details
3) Supporting documents
The CAA provides a free service to passengers who are having trouble resolving complaints against airlines or airports. Before contacting the CAA, passengers should contact the airline first, to give them an opportunity to consider their claim.
If the airline declines your request for compensation, you may wish to contact the Passenger Advice and Complaints Team at the CAA for free advice or help.
Please be aware, due the recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling which has extended passenger rights for certain delayed flights, we are receiving a significant increase in demand for our services.This has meant our response is likely to be slower than we would like if you have recently contacted us. We do apologise for this. Please look at our guidance on making a complaint and make sure you have written to the company first and provided all the relevant information. We assure you that your complaint does matter to us and we will answer as soon as we can.
Can the CAA help with all claims?
Unfortunately no, for claims arising from delayed flights from another member state to the UK, passengers would need to contact the National Enforcement Body in that member state.My flight was delayed by less than 3 hours on arrival - am I entitled to compensation?
No. There is no entitlement to compensation for your delay.
My flight was delayed by over 3 hours on arrival – am I entitled to compensation?
You may be. You will be entitled to compensation unless the delay was outside of the airline’s control and the airline refers to the “extraordinary circumstances” clause in Regulation EC261/2004.
What are “extraordinary circumstances”?
The Regulation that covers passengers' rights when their flights are delayed or cancelled gives the following examples as such circumstances:
· Political instability
· Bad weather
· Security risks
· Unexpected flight safety shortcomings
· Strikes that affect the operation of an air carrier
· Air traffic management decisions
My flight was diverted and I arrived at my final destination more than 3 hours later than planned. Can I claim compensation?
Yes, following the CJEU’s ruling you may be liable for compensation, depending on the cause of the diversion.
My flight was delayed several years ago. Can I claim compensation?
Yes if you have all the necessary documentation to demonstrate that you were on a delayed flight. In the UK the time limit for bringing a claim to court for compensation is six years from the date of the delayed flight.
How much compensation may I be due?
Length of flight
Delay to destination
Up to 1500km
More than 3 hours
1500km to 3500km
More than 3 hours
More than 3500km
More than 3 hours, but less than 4 hours
More than 3500km
More than 4 hours
Where you have these rights
The above information applies to all flights from European Union (EU) airports. It also applies to all flights to EU airports, from outside of the European Union, on an EU airline. (EU in this sense includes all EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.) We also have information on delays and cancellations outside of the European Union.