COVID-19 and Flight Compensations
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the travel industry particularly hard, because of the travel restrictions it called for. Even with some of those restrictions being lifted, flight disruptions keep occurring across the world.
Unfortunately for air passengers, flights disrupted as a result of COVID-19 safety measures are not eligible for compensation. That’s because the COVID-19 outbreak is considered an “extraordinary situation”. However, while you can’t get compensation for a flight delayed or cancelled because of coronavirus, you may get a refund from the airline.
At ClaimCompass, we help you get your refund for free - check out this page for more information.
Delayed Flight Compensation in the UK
Which flights are under EU law?
Only EU-regulated flights are subject to flight delay compensation rules. For EU Regulation 261/2004 to apply, the flight needs to:
- Depart from the UK or the EU, regardless of the airline
- Be operated by British or European airline and land in the UK or the EU
For example, a flight from London to New York qualifies. So does a flight from San Francisco to London operated by British Airways or KLM.
But a delayed Miami to Manchester flight operated by Delta or Qatar Airways does not qualify, because those aren’t EU or British airlines.
When can I claim EU flight delay compensation?
To be eligible for compensation:
- You must reach your final destination at least 3 hours late
- The airline must be responsible for the delay
The delay at arrival is critical to determine both your eligibility and the compensation amount. Note that it’s when you arrive that matters, not when you leave: even if the plane left 3h30 late but landed only 2h50 later than planned, you’re not entitled to compensation.
Check out the next section to know more about flight delay compensation amounts.
The European Commission considers the delay to be the airline’s fault when its cause is not of the “extraordinary circumstances” listed in their interpretative guidelines. In short, if the delay was caused by something which was within the airline’s control, they have to compensate passengers.
On that note, back in april 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that wildcat strikes by airline staff were NOT considered “extraordinary circumstances”, but the airline’s responsibility. This means that if your flight was disrupted because of a wildcat strike organized by the airline’s staff, you’re entitled to compensation (provided that you meet all the other requirements).
How much EU delayed flight compensation can I claim?
Your are entitled to:
- 250€ (£220) for all flights under 1,500km
- 400€ (£360) for
- Flights between 1,500 and 3,500km
- Flights within the EU and UK that are longer than 1,500km
- 300€ (£270) for flights between the EU or UK and a non-EU/UK airport longer than 3,500km, when the delay is between 3 and 4 hours
- 600€ (£530) for flights between the EU or UK and a non-EU/UK airport longer than 3,500km, when the delay is over 4 hours
You will notice that the compensation amount for flight delays of 3 hours or more doesn’t vary according to the price of your ticket. It is fixed, based on the total delay and the distance of your flight.
Keep in mind that the amount in Pound sterling is only indicative: since compensation amounts are in euros, the exact amount you receive will vary depending on the exchange rate at the time of the payment.
How far back can I claim compensation?
In the UK (except Scotland), you can claim compensation for flights going back to 2014, because the statute of limitations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 6 years. In Scotland, it’s 5 years, so you can claim back to 2015.
In theory, you can claim much further back, but in practice, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get paid if your disrupted flight took place over 6 years ago.
What can I do if the airline refuses to pay?
If you’ve tried claiming on your own, but the airline denied your compensation request, don’t lose hope. Airlines often reflect or put passenger claims on hold, hoping to avoid paying compensation. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your claim is invalid.
Submit your claim with ClaimCompass: our team of experts will look into it, and if it’s a legitimate claim, we’ll contact the airline for you.
Alternatively, you may escalate your claim to a court of appeal. The court you need to contact varies based on the airline you flew with and your flight itinerary. Depending on that, the decision may or may not be binding. When it is and the ruling is in your favor, the airline has to pay compensation. If the ruling is only advisory, getting what you’re owed might get complicated.
In the United Kingdom, you can file a complaint to the Civil Aviation Authority using this form. Keep in mind, however, that the CAA will only consider your claim if the airline or airport is not part of an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution body (ADR).
Cancelled Flight Compensation in the UK
When can I claim EU cancelled flight compensation?
Just like delays, cancellations need to be on EU-regulated flights to qualify for compensation. One thing to keep in mind is that EU261 applies to countries that are part of the European Union, as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
Similarly, the airline must be responsible for the cancellation of your flight. If you couldn’t depart because of extraordinary circumstances like air traffic control restrictions, adverse weather conditions (not just “bad weather”), or security risks, the airline doesn’t have to pay compensation. Extraordinary circumstances do NOT include technical faults, however. That means you CAN get money from the airline when they cancelled your flight because of technical issues.
There is one more requirement for you to be eligible for flight cancellation compensation. The airline must have cancelled your flight within two weeks prior to departure.
Am I entitled to compensation or a refund for a flight cancellation?
You’re always entitled to a refund and you may get compensated as well.
No matter the reason they cancelled your flight, you’re entitled to either a refund or an alternative flight to your destination at the earliest opportunity.
You may be eligible for compensation IN ADDITION TO the refund or rerouting flight. For that, strict conditions apply, including when the airline notified you about the cancellation and whether they were responsible for it.
How much can I claim in compensation for my cancelled flight?
You can claim between £110 (250€) and £530 (600€).
Flight cancellation compensation amounts are also fixed and based on:
- The length of the delay at arrival (based on the time of the alternative flight compared to the original)
- The flight distance of your itinerary
- How long before departure the flight was cancelled
To know exactly how much the airline owes you, refer to our flight cancellation compensation guide or use our flight compensation calculator.
Missed Connection Compensation in the UK
When can I claim flight compensation for a missed connection?
You can submit a valid missed connection claim if:
- You missed your connecting flight because of the delay, cancellation, or overbooking of the previous flight
- All your flights were under the same booking; you did not purchase them separately
- You reached your final destination at least 3 hours late
- Your flight departed from a British or EU airport or landed in an EU country or in the UK (and was operated by a British or EU airline)
- The airline is responsible for the disruption that caused you to miss your connecting flight (i.e. the delay was not caused by “extraordinary circumstances”, out of their control)
Remember that technical problems are NOT “extraordinary circumstances”. If this caused the disruption, make sure that the airline respects your air passenger rights and pays the amount of compensation planned by EU law.
How much compensation can I claim when I miss my connection because of the airline?
The compensation amount in cases of missed connections depends on its cause: did you fail to catch your flight because the previous leg of your journey was delayed? Cancelled? Or because they denied you boarding on the plane?
Based on this, you can calculate the appropriate amount of compensation. As a rule of thumb, you get:
- 250€ (£220) for flights under 1,500km
- 400€ (£360) for flights between 1,500 and 3,500km and flights to/from outside the UK/EU that are longer than 1,500km
- 600€ (£530) for flights longer than 3,500km
But there are exceptions that take into account the arrival time and your flight details. Check our guide on missed connection compensation for more information.
Denied Boarding Compensation in the UK
When can I claim compensation for boarding denial?
You’re only eligible for compensation when you meet the following conditions:
- You were denied boarding because the plane was overbooked (the airline sold more tickets than there are seats on the plane) or because the airline changed the aircraft to a smaller one
- You did NOT surrender your seat voluntarily in exchange for a benefit of any kind (a voucher, airline miles, or any other)
- You were NOT denied boarding because you arrived late at the gate, or because you presented a security or health risk, or because you were missing your travel documents
How much am I entitled to in boarding denial compensation?
When the airline refused you access to the plane because it was overbooked or smaller than planned, you are entitled to:
- £220 (250€) for flights of 1,500km or less
- £360 (400€) for flights between 1,500 and 3,500km and flights to/from outside the UK/EU that are longer than 1,500km
- £530 (600€) for flights longer than 3,500km
One thing to keep in mind is if you were denied boarding when departing from or flying to the US, the overbooking compensation amount may differ. While US regulations do not compel airlines to pay compensation for long delays and cancellations, they do protect passengers from involuntary boarding denials.
Check the compensation amounts for boarding denials in the US on this page.
What to do in case of boarding denial?
If you’re reading this at the airport after being denied boarding, here’s what you must know: you have the same rights as if the airline had just cancelled the flight at the last minute.
This means that they must offer a choice between:
- The partial or full refund of your ticket, along with a return flight to your point of departure, free of charge
- An alternative flight to your destination (they may arrange another type of transportation if no seats are available)
- A new ticket to your final destination, at a later date of your choosing, depending on seat availability
Should the rerouting flight or the flight back to your point of departure leave in over 6 hours or on the next day, the airline must also arrange hotel accommodation and transportation at no extra cost to you.
As part of your “right to care” (which exists also for delays at departure longer than 2 hours and cancellations, by the way), the airline is also responsible for providing you with a meal and refreshments, as well as phone calls to let you make necessary arrangements following the disruption.
British Airlines and Flight Compensations
When flying to or from the UK, you’re more likely to deal with British Airlines. Although they are all subject to the same regulations, they do not process flight compensations identically.
EasyJet Delayed Flight Compensation
The low-cost British airline is infamous for its long flight delays. But what only airline passengers who have claimed easyJet flight delay compensation know is that they make the whole process daunting, in the hope that they can avoid paying passengers what they’re owed.
If you want to contact easyJet, feel free to reach out to them on:
- 0330 365 5000 or,
- 0203 499 5251 (EasyJet holidays customer service team)
Or you can let us handle your easyJet flight compensation claim for you.
Ryanair Delayed Flight Compensation
The Irish budget airline is not all too different from easyJet. It has repeatedly been ranked worst airline and isn’t without controversies. Although it claims to be the most punctual airline in Europe, we know for a fact that it isn’t true.
You can reach Ryanair’s customer service team by calling:
- UK - 0330 1007 838
- Ireland - 0818 30 30 30
But in all likelihood, your claim will remain on hold for a while or the Irish airline will deny your right to compensation, like so many Ryanair passengers with a valid claim before you. At ClaimCompass, we have experience dealing with the Irish low-cost airline. We can help you get your flight compensation from Ryanair. Even if that means undertaking legal action, we’ll get your Ryanair flight delay compensation.
British Airways Delayed Flight Compensation
You’d expect a giant like British Airways to be a role model when it comes to enforcing passenger rights. It was the case for a while, but BA recently took a turn for the worst, and became as unlikely to pay your compensation fast - if at all.
UK’s flag carrier operates many short and long-haul flights, especially from Gatwick and London Heathrow airport. It’s not uncommon for the largest airline in the UK (after Ryanair) to run into trouble.
To contact them yourself regarding your British Airways flight delay compensation,, you can call:
- 0344 493 0787 for the main help desk and customer care
- 0344 493 0747 to contact British Airways from abroad
At ClaimCompass, we’re used to dealing with them. We can help you get your British Airways flight compensation. Just fill out our Compensation Calculator with your flight details (flight number, reservation number) and provide a travel document like your boarding pass: we’ll take care of the rest.
Your flight was disrupted in the UK?
Claim up to £530 in compensation for your delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flight. Despite Brexit, your air passenger rights remain the same as in Europe. Get back the money the airline owes you now!