We operate under international aviation law and EU law, in particular Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of European Parliament and Council of the European Union establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91.
Here is a link to the Regulation: DOWNLOAD FILE
How much compensation can I get?
The amount of damages recoverable is set by the law. As for individual cases, the amount of damages depends on the distance between the port of departure and the destination. For example, if a flight reaches its destination with a minimum three-hour delay, for refusal of boarding or for a cancelled flight, each passenger is entitled to:
€ 250 for flights of up to 1,500 km;
€ 400 for flights ranging from 1,500 to 3,500 km (also for flights exceeding 3,500 km when both airports, i.e. the departure airport and destination airport, are located in the European Union);
€ 600 for flights over 3,500 km (when at least one of the airports, i.e. either the departure airport or destination airport, are located outside the European Union).
Yes, the length of the delay is key in assessing your chances of obtaining compensation. Under applicable regulations, a compensation process can be launched for delays of 3 or more hours compared to the scheduled arrival time at the port of destination.
Example: Due to the carrier’s negligence, a PLL LOT plane from Warsaw to New York reached its destination at 1830 hrs instead of the scheduled 1500 hrs. The time of delay in this case is 3 hrs 15 mins, and constitutes a basis for pursuing a claim.
In addition to financial compensation, in case of delays whose length is stipulated in applicable regulations, passengers can seek assistance from their carrier (phone calls, food and beverages, overnight accommodation, transport to place of accommodation). Passengers are eligible for this kind of assistance in case of the following delay times:
a) 2 hours or more for flights of up to 1,500 km;
b) 3 hours or more for longer flights within the EU or other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km;
c) 4 hours or more for flights longer than 3,500 km outside the EU.
If your flight is delayed by 5 hours or more but you still decide to take it, you can seek reimbursement of the cost of your ticket, and you are entitled to transportation to your place of departure.
Yes, the applicable compensation regulations pertain to both scheduled airline flights and charter flights.
So-called “extraordinary circumstances” free carriers from liability for delayed and cancelled flights and make it impossible for passengers to seek compensation. These circumstances are events which a carrier cannot prevent even when it exercises due diligence. Most commonly these events include:
- unfavourable atmospheric conditions (e.g. heavy snowfall);
- riots (e.g. the revolution in Egypt);
- strike by airport staff (note that a strike by an aircraft’s crew does not necessarily constitute an extraordinary circumstance).
In addition to the above, there is a range of technical defects that have been found in previous court decisions to constitute extraordinary circumstances (e.g. a crack in a newly-replaced window seal resulting from a hidden defect in the seal arising during production).
Please bear in mind that the burden of proving that an extraordinary circumstance has occurred is on the carrier.
Depending on the circumstances and the carrier (just like in any other business, some companies do and others do not respect customers’ rights) the process can take anywhere between 3 and 12 months. Our experience so far shows that the average time for obtaining compensation is seven months. Because the procedure for pursuing compensation is complex, we cannot determine beforehand how long it will take to resolve the case. Please note that if the carrier delays payment of your compensation, you will be eligible for interest on the compensation sum.
Regulation No. 261/2004 does not stipulate deadlines for pursuing claims against airlines. Such deadlines are subject to separate, domestic regulations. For example, in Spain claims against carriers expire 10 years after the event, in Poland - for the cases conducted on judicial level - after 1 year. Below is a table showing claim expiry dates in certain countries covered by the Regulation). As the claim expiry dates are short, we suggest that you make your claim as soon as possible, while you still have all the relevant documents handy (tickets, boarding passes, etc.
Country in which you are claiming damages
Deadlines for pursuing claims
(number of years since the flight)
1 year (for judicial cases)
Regulation No. 261/2004, which is the legal basis of our clients’ claims, pertains to EU countries. In practice, these passengers’ rights apply when:
a) the place of departure is in any EU Member State and the flight is served by any airline, whether or not its registered office is located in the EU;
b) the passenger arrives in any EU Member State on a flight served by an airline registered in an EU Member State, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland.
From outside EU to outside EU
From outside EU to inside EU
From inside EU to outside EU
From inside EU to inside EU
Yes, by all means you are. Your compensation rights are subject to the length of the delay in reaching your final destination (this must be at least three hours). However, there is one condition that must be met in this case – the tickets for both flights must have the same booking reference number.
Compensation is the right of the passenger, regardless of who paid for the ticket. This means that if your flight was delayed during a business trip, it is you (i.e. the passenger) who is eligible for compensation.
No. There is no such an opportunity. This exclusion is worded in Article 3 of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004: "This Regulation shall not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public. However, it shall apply to passengers having tickets issued under a frequent flyer programme or other commercial programme by an air carrier or tour operator."
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