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Flight delays exceeding 3 hours and related compensation

According to a current EC Regulation you may be entitled to a compensation if your flight was delayed for more than 3 hours. The compensation could be as much as 250EUR to 600 EUR per passenger. Regulation 261/2004 establishes common rules on the compensation and assistance of the passengers. Flight Refund has years of experience in succesfully collecting indemnity and all the legal & technological background to help represent your case against the airlines.
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Reasons for flight delays

Flight operation is a complex activity where different fields work together to get air passengers reach their destinations. Due to air traffic getting busier, in certain periods airports and airspaces may get overcrowded that lead to flight delays. The most common reasons for flight delays are severe weather conditions, industrial actions (strikes), overcrowded airports and technical shortcomings. Should an aircraft be delayed due to dangerous weather conditions – since aviation safety is primary -compensation can not be validated, airlines are only liable for mitigation of damages. However in some cases of technical problems, labor logistic failures or similar events, airline companies are obliged to compensate their passengers with definite amounts of money. The amount of the compensation does not depend on the length of the delay but the distance of the flight route:


  • Under 1500 km – 250 EUR
  • Between 1500 to 3500 km – 400 EUR
  • Over 3500 km – 600 EUR

In the event of denied boarding, cancellation or long delay of flights all passengers with valid tickets are entitled to compensation. Even children younger than 2 years, travelling on their parents' lap, are entitled to compensation despite the fact that these tickets cost only 10% of a regular priced ticket. There is also no difference between the indemnity and legitimacy of Economy, Business or First Class passengers. Important addition that the directive does not distinguish between scheduled, budget or charter airlines. All types of commercial flights departing from the EU or with operations within the EU fall under the scope of the Regulation.

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Flight delays due to severe weather conditions

Severe weather conditions are the most common factors to the significant proportions of delayed flights. Unfavourable weather may not only affect the departure itself, but also the airway and the destination airport where serious flight delays or cancellations can occur. Already airborne aircrafts can be diverted due to bad weather so they diverge from their scheduled routes making the flight time longer. Bad weather conditions at the destination may slow down the operation of the airport.
In some cases the airport can shut down totally, forcing all arriving aircrafts to divert to other airports. Of course flight delays can happen other way around when the weather affected airport’s diverted traffic cause disruptions. During winter time on some airports deicing of the aircrafts is required, this activity is not scheduled therefore may cause flight delays. Since every flight has a so called take off slot, good to know that one delay can set off a chain reaction, because of an order that needs to be kept for the departing aircrafts air traffic controllers may not be able to immediately reschedule the one that was delayed on the first place . Since an aircraft for a better utilization performs 2-3 routes daily, often takes up delays during previous trips so it can have a knock-on effect to its daily schedule. In some of these cases claims can be validated if the force majeure situation does not affect the flight in question directly. At other long delays or cancellations caused by severe weather airlines liable only for mitigation of damages and not for indemnity.

Overcrowded airports

International air transportation is continuously improving - however, airport developments are not always able to keep up with the pace. Airlines mainly operate their flights to popular destinations because of market demands. There are periods (like Christmar, Easter, other holidays), when many people travel and the increased traffice leads to delays at airports. The departure and arrival of aircrafts demand complex logistics (e.g. to seize up) - and this can generate massive delays. Airlines only have liabilities for their own operational failures. All other cases are out of their scope of responsibility.

Flight delays due to technical shortcomings

Airplanes are complex technical structures under continuous pressure and stress, so despite regular and planned maintenance unexpected minor malfunctions can occur. Fixing of these between two flights can result in flight delays. In case of failure to repair the problem, a replacement aircraft may be required, which is also a time-consuming procedure. In these cases the crew for the replacement aircraft has to be available (not all crew fit for all types of aircrafts; their duty time is up; new crew has to be called in). In case of technical shortcomings, if the airline is ready to prove that the malfunction could not be avoided by regular maintenance and came unexpectedly (e.g. external impact) claims cannot be validated.
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