Claiming costs and compensation

If you think you are entitled to reimbursement or compensation following a flight delay or problem, see how to claim it. Official advice from CAA.

When your flight is affected by disruption, your airline must take care of you and get you to your destination. Once the disruption has been resolved, you might also be able to claim costs or compensation. This page explains how to do so.

Does the law apply to your flight?

The information on this page only applies to flights covered by EU law. These must be either:

  • departing from an EU airport and operated by any airline, or
  • arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline

Under this law, EU airports also include those in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Can you claim?

If your flight is covered by EU law, there are two main situations in which you are legally entitled to payment from your airline:

  • Reimbursement for care and assistance. If you paid for food, drink or accommodation that your airline should have provided, you can claim reasonable costs back.
  • Compensation for the disruption. If the delay was severe and could have been avoided by the airline, the law sets out fixed levels of compensation you should receive.

To determine whether you are eligible for either type of payment, you should review your rights carefully.

Check the circumstances

In particular, the law is specific about compensation. If the disruption was caused by extraordinary circumstances, then you will not be entitled to compensation, as long as the airline took reasonable measures to avoid the disruption.

To avoid wasting your time, make sure you understand your rights before you contact your airline.

Contact your airline directly

If you believe you have a case, you should contact your airline directly.

Many airlines will have a claims procedure for you to follow. Often, a standard claim form is available. If so, using it will ensure you provide all the information the airline needs to process your claim.

You can usually find the best way to put in a claim by calling the airline or checking its website.

If no standard procedure is available, it may be best to make initial contact by email, so you have a record of the communication. You can also send a letter – always keep a copy, if you decide to do this.

Your airline will probably need detailed information to process your claim.

Waiting for the outcome

It can take some time for the airline to process your claim. If the disruption was severe, the airline’s claims team might be busy.
However, in time you should receive a response. If the airline believes your claim is valid then they will probably include a cheque. If they decline your claim then they should explain why. If you are unhappy with the decision, you have some options.

Make your case effectively