EU Regulation EC261/2004 was created to give travellers a legal framework to protect their financial interests. It was first instituted to prevent EU carriers from overbooking their flights, but it has evolved to include cancellations and delays. In a few core circumstances, any EU passenger is entitled to monetary compensation if their airlines are in breach of contract. The law covers passengers who:
- Are flying with a European carrier.
- Are travelling from a European destination.
- Are flying to a European destination.
- Have arrived at the boarding gate at the scheduled boarding time.
The regulation does not apply to those who are travelling on a free ticket, or a discount ticket from a frequent flier program. The regulation covers denied boarding, flight cancellations, delays of two or more hours, and lost luggage. All parts of the EU are accountable to this new law, provided they are not a part of bilateral agreements. This means that Gibraltar Airport is not covered, but for as long as the UK remains a part of the EU, it is accountable to regulation EC261.
Flight Compensation US to UK Flights
In terms of delayed flight compensation, US to UK travellers are entitled to their choice of re-routing or refunds. If your flight is delayed due to no fault of your own, you are due:
- Financial compensation, calculated based on flight distance, and the number of hours the flight is delayed.
- The option of a full refund, in the case of a delay of five or more hours.
- A full refund if the return flight to your original destination no longer serves its purpose.
- Rerouting to the same destination at the same arrival time.
Flight Delay Compensation UK to US
When it comes to delayed flight compensation, US to UK fliers are entitled to settlements if their destination is in the EU. Cash compensation of €250 to €600 will be due, unless the delay is caused by extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances. Your airline is required to have done everything reasonable to prevent a delay, and must refund any extra legs of your journey if it causes you to miss connecting flights. If the flight is cancelled entirely, you may be due a ticket refund.
To fall under the regulation, your flight must be EU regulated, so it must either depart from, or arrive at an EU airport. Alternatively, your carrier must be based in the EU. Not all EU airports are in EU nations, and if you are on a codeshare flight that relies on a range of different operators, the matter becomes more complex. If your flight is categorised as one rather than two flights, and the delay occurs on EU soil, you have a better chance of receiving compensation. In some cases, the claims court will have to determine your rights.
EU Compensation is only applicable if the fault lies with the airline. Strikes by airline staff, lack of staff, or equipment failures are considered carrier-based problems, and thus fall under the new law. If your delay is caused by bad weather, or employee strikes of a different airline however, your carrier won’t be required to compensate you.
Your airline is required to treat you fairly, but the claims process can be a little confusing, so rely on us to guide you through the process. We’ll make sure your delay is treated ethically so that you can focus on enjoying your trip.