Compensation For Delayed Flights

‘Extraordinary’ Circumstances

It’s the time of year when many of us are looking forward to our summer holidays.  For some, that will involve a flight to a warm and sunny destination.  Unfortunately for some, they will be disappointed and frustrated to encounter delays to their flight.

In such a scenario, are you entitled to compensation?

The European Commission has published some new guidelines on what counts as an extraordinary circumstance. An extraordinary circumstance has to meet the following three criteria – unpredictable, unavoidable and external.

The Civil Aviation Authority defines extraordinary circumstances as ‘When the flight would have been delayed, even if the airline had taken all reasonable measures.’  Such instances include bad weather, strikes, political instability, security risks, unexpected flight complications (for example, technical problems which would not ordinarily be picked up by routine maintenance), and air traffic management decisions.  If it can be proven that the delay was due to an ‘extraordinary’ circumstance than no compensation is payable.

How much compensation could be paid?

If compensation is due, it is calculated using the flight distance and length of delay.  This ranges from 250 euros (distance up to 932 miles/3 hours delay) and 600 euros (+ 2,175miles more than 4 hours delay). Note: Guidelines are due to be revised from June 2014.

 Denied Boarding Regulations

Regardless as to whether you qualify for compensation as above, if you are travelling with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport, then you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulations.   These state that you would be entitled to:

Two free phone calls, faxes or e-mails

Free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay

Free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required

You can also choose not to travel, and get a refund of your ticket cost if the delay lasts for five hours or more (but the flight is not cancelled).


As long as your flight meets one of the following requirements:

A flight less than 932 miles is delayed for at least two hours

A flight within the EU (more than 932 miles) is delayed for at least three hours

A flight that isn’t within the EU but is between 932 and 2,174 miles is delayed for at least three hours

If any other flight is delayed for at least four hours


If you are unsure as to whether you are entitled to compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight or if you meet the criteria above and your claim has been declined, contact AJC Consultants on 0121 632 2970 for  free, no obligation advice.