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10 travel situations when you’re entitled to an airline compensation

Traveling and especially flying to new destinations is so nice! But sometimes an unexpected flight delay can cause a lot of mess. And not just a delay, but lots of other disruptions, like lost baggage, flight cancellation, missed connecting flight and more.

But do you know what’s the bright side of it? In many cases, you’re actually entitled to receive a handsome compensation from your airline for the trouble caused. You just have to be aware of these cases and know when to request your compensation.

I’ve had this experience a couple of times with long flight delays. And two times it even resulted in free travel. For example, I got a 600 EUR compensation for a 24-hour flight delay going from Paris to Los Angeles. And that’s more than what I paid for the flight itself.


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About airline compensations

In this article, I’m concentrating on the cases when you’re flying from, to or within the European Union. That’s because there’s a specific EU regulation (EC 261/2004) that protects air traveler rights and has become very beneficial for me and many others over time.

Within this regulation, there are common rules in place on compensation and assistance to passengers who experience flight delays due to an airline’s fault. But since it’s not realistic for all travelers to know these rights by the hearth, airlines quite often get by without compensating anything.

Since I’ve had quite a lot of experience with it myself, I’m going to share the most common situations when you’re entitled to compensation. Just keep them in mind and if that happens to you, apply for compensation and you might end up getting free travel as I did.

If this happens, go after your compensation!

1. Your flight got delayed and you arrived at your destinations 3 or more hours late.

There are a few factors that affect the ability to get compensated in this case, such as if at least one of the locations of your flight is within the EU and if it was actually airline fault (technical issues, crew scheduling, re-routing etc) to cause the delay.

What do you get:

There are 3 levels of compensation depending on the distance of your flight.

250 EUR for flights up to 1500 km;

400 EUR for flights from 1500 km to 3500 km;

600 EUR for flights over 3500 km.


10 travel situations when you’re entitled an airline compensation

2. You were flying a charter flight, it was delayed and arrived 3 hours late at your destination.

Many travelers think that these compensation rights apply only to regularly scheduled flights. But remember, if you’re traveling through a travel agency, flying on a charter flight and it gets delayed, the same rules and compensation amounts apply as mentioned in the 1st point above.

3. Your flight got canceled less than 14 days before the departure date.

If this happens, you’re entitled not only to reimbursement, re-routing, and return but also to compensation and assistance at the airport, such as free meals, drinks, and even accommodation and transport if needed.

What do you get:

The compensation amounts by distance are the same as mentioned in the 1st point about flight delays.

4. Your original flight schedule was abandoned right before departure and you were transferred to another scheduled flight.

This is technically considered as a flight cancellation and you’re entitled to everything that comes with a flight cancellation 14 days before the departure date. (See the 3rd point)


10 travel situations when you’re entitled an airline compensation

5. Your flight departed as planned but was forced to return to the airport of departure and you were transferred to another flight.

Same as above, this too is technically considered as a flight cancellation and you’re entitled to everything that comes with a flight cancellation 14 days before the departure date. (See the 3rd point)

6. Your flight arrives at an airport which is not the final destination indicated on your ticket, and you didn’t originally accept the rerouting.

Same as above, this too is technically considered as a flight cancellation and you’re entitled to everything that comes with a flight cancellation 14 days before the departure date. (See the 3rd point)

The exception, in this case, is if the new airport serves the same city/ region as the original airport. In that case, there’s no compensation.

7. You were denied boarding because the flight was overbooked

It happens quite a lot that airlines sell more seats than they have available on a flight. While it’s more common with flight in the US, it happens also within the EU.

So if you are denied boarding due to a fact the plane is full and if you haven’t willingly given up your seat in exchange for a flight voucher, you’re entitled to compensation similar to one mentioned in the 1st point.


10 travel situations when you’re entitled an airline compensation

8. You’re experiencing a delay of at least two hours for flights of 1,500km or less

Two hours is the minimum amount of time that gives you a right for airport assistance such as free phone calls, internet access, and then based on the time of delay also food, refreshments, reimbursement, and a return flight.

If the airline didn’t offer any assistance, they are responsible for reimbursing you for all the costs encountered while waiting for your flight.

9. Your flights new expected departure time is the next day after the initially scheduled departure time

If your flight gets delayed until the next day, in addition to the compensation amounts mentioned in the 1st point and the airport assistance (food, drinks, phone calls) you are entitled to free accommodation as well as the transport to and from the airport to your accommodation.

10. Your checked-in luggage was lost, damaged or delayed.

This is another thing that happens quite a lot. If due to a fault of the airline your luggage gets lost, delayed or damaged, you’re entitled to compensation from the airline. The amount of compensation depends on the value of your luggage and can go up to 1300 EUR.


10 travel situations when you’re entitled an airline compensation

How to get compensation?

From my own experience, I can say that getting compensation can get tricky quite quickly. Sometimes airlines admit their fault and are willing to pay compensations, but more often than not it’s not the case.

Since the EU regulation states different exceptions when airlines don’t have to pay compensation even if the flight was canceled or arrived at the destination over 4 hours late, airlines like to use these “ways out”.

Normally the process works so that you look up the claim form on the airline’s website, fill it out, submit it to them and wait for your compensation. But very often claims get rejected.

So if submitting a compensation claim directly to an airline doesn’t work and it gets rejected, there are professional services out there that are ready to help. One of such is Skycop.

This company helps its customers get flight compensations from EU airlines in all cases – if you have tried yourself and weren’t successful or if you want to save your own time and just have professionals take care of it all from the very beginning.

Benefits of using Skycop to get your compensation from an airline

Since the rules of eligibility for an airline compensation are quite complex, Skycop evaluates every case individually, determining if you’re eligible for compensation. That’s a real time-saver to know in advance, do you stand a chance for compensation or not.

They are also very customer friendly, serving clients in 8 languages and offering an average answering time to a new request within 20 minutes.

They have 10 years of professional experience in this field and will take care of everything after the claim form is completed, including, contacting and negotiating with airlines, higher authorities like CAA, event court, etc.


10 travel situations when you’re entitled an airline compensation


Skycop has won around 400 court cases in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Spain against several airlines, helping almost 600 passengers get compensations. Which means that Skycop is not only getting travelers their rightful compensations but also making airlines to shift attitude towards flight delays and have more flights landing on time.

In my opinion, that’s a win-win for the travel industry.

Have you had any experience with getting compensation for an airline for a disrupted flight? Share it in the comments!