• Under EU law, you have significant rights on many flights to, from or within the European Union. This page will help you understand when the law applies and what you are entitled to if your flight doesn’t go as planned.

    The law covers many flights to and from EU airports

    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.

    See the full country list

    If you book with one airline but fly with another (a ‘codeshare flight’) then it’s the nationality of the airline operating the flight that counts.

    There have been a number of changes to the law over the last few years due to cases being heard in the European Court. The European Commission has published guidelines to clarify the existing rules and ensure they are consistently applied across the EU.  

    Not covered?

    If your flight isn’t covered by EU law, you may still be entitled to assistance.

    The length of your flight is important

    The length of your flight determines many of your rights, so it’s a good idea to check which category your flight falls into:

    • Short-haul flights under 1,500km - for instance, Edinburgh to Dublin. 
    • Medium-haul flights between 1,500km — 3,500km - for instance, Manchester to Marrakesh. 
    • Long-haul flights over 3,500km - for instance, London to New York. 

    The distance is sometimes shown on your flight confirmation. Alternatively, you can check it online.

    Delayed flights: your rights

    If your flight is delayed, EU law says your airline must provide food, drink and accommodation. See specific information about:

    Cancelled flights: your rights

    If your flight has been cancelled, your airline must offer you the choice of a refund or alternative flight. See specific information about:

    Being bumped: your rights

    If an airline has overbooked a flight or uses a smaller plane than it planned, it sometimes asks or forces passengers to give up their seat. This is called being ‘bumped’ or denied boarding.

    Your rights when bumped from a flight

    Being downgraded: your rights

    If your airline downgrades you to a lower class than the one you booked (for instance, economy instead of business), you are entitled to reimbursement of a percentage of the price for the flight on which you were downgraded. 

    The table below shows how this is calculated:

     Length of journey  Reimbursement
     Up to 1500km  30% of the flight price
     1500-3500km  50% of the flight price
     More than 3500km  75% of the flight price


    Your rights when downgraded

    Missed connections: your rights

    If your journey involves more than one flight and you have a through ticket (a single ticket which covers more than one flight), your airline may have to look after you if you miss your connection.

    Your rights when you miss a connection