Air passenger rights

There are many laws and regulations around the world governing the rights of air travelers. Usually different countries and flight companies have their own rules. Only in Europe, where regulation is very clear, do the countries have common laws explained in the EU 261/2004 regulation. However no matter the country passengers always have their rights. The following paragraph describes the most well-known and passenger-friendly regulations.

EU 261/2004 regulation

EU regulation 261/2004 specifies which passengers are entitled to flight compensation. This regulation covers flights from or to a European Union country, provided that the air carrier is based in Europe. Passengers may be entitled to compensation in the following cases:

  • Flight delays
  • Flight cancellations
  • Denial of boarding

What matters is the length of the flight delay. The delay is calculated as the difference between the actual and predicted landing of the aircraft to the destination. Air passengers who have suffered a delay of at least 3 hours are entitled to compensation.

Passengers whose flights have been canceled due to extraordinary circumstances are not entitled to compensation. The following are considered as such:

  • Weather (Unless other planes have flown continuously)
  • Strikes (Except for strike by delayed airline staff)
  • Air control decisions
  • Political problems
  • Security risks

The amount of compensation depends on the length of the route and is:

  • 250 € for flights up to 1500km
  • 400 € for flights between 1500km and 3500km
  • 600 € for flights over 3500km

You can claim compensation for flights up to a few years back, depending on the country.

Montreal convention

Since 2003, as many as 130 countries have signed accession to this Montreal Convention. It regulates compensation for damage incurred in the event of flight cancellation, flight delay and boarding refusal. In some countries, this is only monetary damage, and in Europe, for example, emotional damage.

An example of such compensation is lost luggage for which the passenger is entitled to be compensated. Nevertheless, there are limitations. In the case of damaged luggage, you must report the damage up to 7 days after the trip and the delay of the luggage up to 21 days. After 21 days your luggage is considered lost and you have 2 years to submit your claim for compensation.

American laws

US law does not favor passengers in the event of an airplane nuisances and provides for compensation only if:

  • Boarding denied (up to $ 1350 compensation)
  • The aircraft was delayed at the take-off

Other regulations

Other countries also have laws governing the rights of air passengers, but these are very country and carrier specific. In general, these laws are less favorable to passengers and do not provide for compensation, but there are exceptions. If you have delayed a flight in one of the countries where the laws described above do not apply, you can send us a question at