Compensation for missed connecting flights
If passengers arrive at their destination over three hours late due to a missed connecting flight, you have the right to compensation as well as some additional benefits at the airport. Based on the EU Passenger Rights Regulation, you be due €250 to 600 € in compensation. Additionally, the Airline must provide you with foods and drinks from 2 hours waiting time. The airline should re-book the passenger on the next available flight or in the case of the next outbound flight being the next morning, the airline should either provide booking for another airline or provide accomodations and meals.
What happens if I miss a connecting flight due to a delay?
- You are entitled to compensation if you arrive at your final destination with a delay of 3 hours or more
- The compensation amount varies between €250 and €600 per passenger
- From 2 hours waiting time at the airport, the airline should provide you with food and refreshments
- Hotel accommodation if your flight is delayed overnight
What should I do if I miss a connecting flight due to flight delay?
- Get the airline to provide you with confirmation of the cause of the delay
- Collect relevant documentation, such as receipts and vouchers
- Claim your basic benefits and services at the airport
- Determine the amount of your claim using our calculator
When do passengers receive compensation for a missed connecting flight?
There have been a number of court decisions that have strengthened air passenger rights in favour of the consumer. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg and the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) have both issued consumer-friendly rulings stating: Passengers can also receive compensation for major delays affecting flights consisting of several legs. The flight plan needs to be all in one booking for this to apply.
Passengers who miss a connecting flight due the shortcoming of an airline and are delayed for over 3 hours will be able to claim between €250 and €600 compensation. The amount of compensation available is dictated by the distance of the entire journey, from the starting airport to the final destination. Please see here a table that explains how the compensation totals are calculated:
- Short distances – up to 1500km – Passengers are due €250 compensation
- Medium distances – Between 1500km and 3500km – Passengers are due €400 compensation
- Long distances- over 3500km – Passengers are due €600 compensation
What conditions need to be met in order for me to claim compensation?
The main prerequisite to consider when wondering if you have a valid compensation claim is whether or not the flight in question actually qualifies under the European Regulation No. 261/2004.
Note: The regulation applies to all flights taking off from an airport in the European Union. It is also applicable to flights landing in the EU, provided that the head office of the airline that operated the flight is also in the European Union. Moreover, all passengers (except those who have benefited from a price not open to the public) are protected by these provisions in case of missed connection following a flight delay or flight cancellation. It is possible to claim on flights dating as far back as 6 years. This regulation applies to business travelers, passengers flying with a low-cost airline, people traveling with a package holiday or children who paid a ticket price.
What if my connecting flights are operated by different airlines?
If a flight delay leads to a passenger missing a connecting flight, and the delay at the final destination is 3 hours or more than 3 hours, they have a valid claim for compensation. The flight plan needs to be all one booking for this to apply – although it does not matter if you have a mix of different airlines in that booking. If a passenger has booked all legs of their journey with one single booking the airline must offer alternative transportation as soon as possible. If the passenger has booked the flights separately – with different airlines, and the first is delayed, there is nothing to be done if they miss their connecting flight. Additionally, they don’t have the right for alternative transportation organized by the airline.
How to claim compensation for a missed flight connection
Firstly, you’ll want to check whether or not your flight disruption fits the necessary criteria for you to have a valid claim. This can be a somewhat complicated procedure – you’ll need to figure out if you meet the conditions laid out in the European Regulation No. 261/2004, you may also need to compare the circumstances of your missed connection with similar cases and may even need to access flight databases. All of this can take a lot of effort for a consumer, can be hard to understand and ultimately prove frustrating.
As a European legal aviation expert, this is our specialty. We can determine within a matter of minutes whether you qualify for compensation. Simply enter your flight information into our unique compensation calculator to ascertain verification. The claim check analyzes hundreds of thousands of flights and the corresponding meteorological data and assesses whether the European Regulation No. 261/2004 applies to your case. By using this you receive a free evaluation of your situation. Over 3.2 million customers have already put their faith in us. Enter your details below to get started.
Additional services and benefits at the airport
After the delay at the airport reaches a certain amount of time, under EU law passengers qualify for some additional services and benefits which are provided by the airline. Below is a breakdown of what passengers become entitled to and when:
- Short distance (up to 1500km): departure delayed over 2 hours – 2 phone calls, emails or faxes and complimentary food and refreshments
- Medium distance (between 1500 and 3500km): departure delayed over 3 hours – 2 phone calls, emails or faxes and complimentary food and drinks
- Long-haul (over 3500km): departure delayed over 4 hours – 2 phone calls, emails or faxes and complimentary food and drinks
What if my flight is delayed for more than 5 hours?
If the flight departure is delayed for over 5 hours, passengers are within their rights to withdraw from the flight. They can request alternative transportation or can demand a full reimbursement for the ticket.
What if my flight is delayed until the following day?
If departure is moved to the following day, the EU regulation states that the airline is obliged to find their passengers accommodation in a hotel for the night. The airline must also cover any costs of getting the customers to and from the hotel and airport.
What are extraordinary circumstances in case of a missed connection flight?
Sometimes flight disruptions do not qualify under the EU regulation. This will be the case if the reasons behind the problem were out of the control of the airlines, and therefore not their responsibility. The causes were deemed to be “extraordinary circumstances”. Extraordinary circumstances include:
- Birds flying into the engine
- Severe weather conditions
- Unavoidable security risks
- Airport and airspace closures
- Political instability
Sometimes exceptions are made in situations where it turns out the airline could have prevented the problem. One example of this is if the airline cites severe weather conditions as a reason for disruption, and the actual problem was that they failed to bring enough supplies of de-icer. Although the airline would be responsible in this case, it is not something the average passenger can prove easily. Our experts have access to specialised databases that allow them to establish the airline’s liability which will greatly increase the chances of receiving compensation in cases such as these.
How to protect my rights on a future flight?
You have planned a flight trip in the future and want to be sure you won’t miss any compensation payments in advance? No problem. You can enter your flights in advance in our compensation calculator and we will inform you if you are entitled to compensation.
Checklist: Your rights in case of flight delay
- You might be entitled to compensation from €250 to €600 if you arrive at your final destination 3 or more than 3 hours later than planned.
- From 2 hours on waiting at the airport you are also entitled to refreshments and snacks
- The flights must be part of one booking
- You have checked in for your flight on time (generally no less than 45 minutes before departure)
- You encountered these problems on a flight operated no more than 6 years ago
- The airline is responsible for the delay or cancellation
- The flight took off in the EU (from any airline) or landed in the EU (provided that the airline is headquartered in the EU)
- You can claim compensation even if you have travelled with a tour package or had a business trip