Compensation for long-haul delays

See what compensation your airline must provide when your long-haul flight is delayed

Under EU law, airlines may have to provide compensation if your long-haul flight covering over 3,500km arrives at its destination more than three hours late.

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

What caused the delay?

You can probably claim if the delay was caused by poor aircraft maintenance, flight crew being unavailable or a technical fault on the aircraft that is not out of the ordinary.

However, delays caused by things like extreme weather, airport or air traffic control employee strikes, situations where the entire airport was closed or other ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are not eligible for compensation.

Getting care and assistance

Even if you are not eligible for compensation, your airline may still have to provide you with food, drinks and accommodation during any delay.

Your rights

If the cause of your delay gives you grounds for compensation, you can claim a lump sum depending on the length of the delay.

  • For delays of under three hours, you cannot claim compensation
  • For delays of three to four hours, you can claim €300
  • For delays of more than four hours, you can claim €600

The delay length is calculated using the time the flight arrives at its destination (this is based on the time at which at least one door of the aircraft is opened) — not the departure time.

You are entitled to a cash payment, usually this will be paid by cheque or bank transfer.  Some airlines may also offer you an alternative such as travel vouchers or free travel services.  You are free to choose which suits you best and can insist on a cash payment if you wish.

How it works in practice

If you think you have a right to compensation, you will need to lodge a claim with your airline. If they agree you should receive compensation, they will pay you.

It’s best to contact your airline or check its website to find out how to apply for compensation. Many airlines will ask you to fill in a form, which is usually the fastest way to claim.

If there’s no standard claim form, send the airline a letter. Our standard letter is a good template to help you claim compensation.

More about claiming

Learn more about how to claim compensation for a delayed flight.

Currently delayed?

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