Short-haul delays

Your rights when a short-haul flight is delayed

If your short-haul flight is delayed, EU law may entitle you to care and assistance during the delay (which means food, drink and accommodation). Depending on the length and cause of the delay, you may also be able to claim a lump sum in compensation.

Is your short-haul flight covered by EU law?

This page explains your rights under EU law when flying a short-haul journey.

Any flight that covers under 1,500km is short-haul. The distance is sometimes shown on your flight confirmation, or you can check it online.

To be covered by EU law, your flight 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.)

You are always entitled to care and assistance

As long as the law covers your flight, you are always entitled to care and assistance. This usually means food, drink, access to communications (this could be by refunding the reasonable cost of phone calls) and accommodation (if necessary).

You may be able to claim compensation too

In some circumstances you may be able to claim a fixed sum in compensation. This depends on what caused the delay – if it wasn’t the airline’s fault, don’t expect compensation.

The five-hour refund rule

Once your short-haul flight has been delayed for more than five hours, you are entitled to a refund if you no longer wish to travel.
You will also receive a refund for any unused parts of your booking (for instance, the return flight), and a flight back to your departure airport if you’ve already completed part of your journey.

Compensation for infants


The CAA view is that compensation is payable at the same rate as that of adults for infants on an infant fare.