Care and assistance for long-haul delays

See what food, drink and accommodation your airline must provide when your long-haul flight is delayed

Under EU law, airlines must provide you with care and assistance if your long-haul flight of over 3,500km is delayed significantly.

However, these rules only apply to certain flights to, from or within the EU.

Your rights

If the law covers your long-haul flight, your airline must look after you once you have been delayed by more than four hours.
This means they must provide:

  • A reasonable amount of food and drink (often provided in the form of vouchers)
  • A means for you to communicate (often by refunding the cost of your calls)
  • Accommodation, if you’re delayed overnight (usually in a nearby hotel)
  • Transport to and from the accommodation (or your home, if you are able to return there)

The airline must provide you with these items until it is able to fly you to your destination, no matter how long the delay lasts or what has caused it.

How it works in practice

If your flight is delayed, many airlines will provide vouchers for you to buy food and drink. If you require accommodation, they may book a hotel and arrange transportation for you.

Sometimes airlines are unable to arrange care and assistance for all passengers. This can happen when staff are stretched during major disruption.

If this happens, in our view you have the right to organise reasonable care and assistance yourself, then claim the cost back later. See how to do this.

Occasionally, airlines refuse to provide care and assistance. If your airline does this, but you are sure you are entitled to help, you can organise it yourself and claim the cost back later. Always keep receipts in this situation.

However, it can take time to complain and get your money back.

Currently delayed?

If you’re currently waiting for a delayed flight, learn more about your rights and what to do during the delay.

Claim for a delay

If you paid for food, drink or accommodation during a delay, see how to claim your money back.