Since 2009, in the event of a delayed flight, you as a passenger no longer stand empty-handed. Indeed, in the Sturgeon judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union extended the airlines’ obligation to pay compensation. Since then, passengers have been able to benefit from compensation not only in the event of cancellation, but also in the event of flight delays. The Court has ruled that in both cases the airlines only have a margin of three hours to deviate from the original schedule. Is the margin in question exceeded by the airline and do you arrive at your destination more than three hours late? In that case, the airline will have to compensate you for the delay damage.
However, if the airline can prove that it is not responsible for the delay in question, thereby proving the existence of extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided, it is not obliged to pay the compensation for the delay of more than three hours. In view of legal practice, the circumstances are rarely extraordinary. This is only the case when it comes to:
- very bad weather conditions (such as storms or sudden volcanic eruption)
- natural disasters
- medical emergencies
- unannounced strikes (e.g. by airport staff)
The Court of Justice does not regard technical defects on the aircraft as a circumstance that can be regarded as extraordinary. According to the Dutch court, strikes by the airline’s own staff are not covered by such circumstances either. In such cases, you as a passenger are simply entitled to compensation.
Are you entitled to the compensation and are there no exceptional circumstances? In that case, the airline must pay the compensation to you. Therefore, you do not have to agree to another possible alternative, such as a voucher, that the airline presents to you. Under certain circumstances, however, you are also entitled to care and/or accommodation and the airline must facilitate this.
The amount of compensation can generally range from 125,- to 600,- euro per passenger, depending on the length of the flight and the length of the delay. For delays of flights shorter than 1500 km you can count on 250,- euro compensation. If it concerns flights between 1500 and 3500 km, compensation of 400,- euro can be considered reasonable. If you fly more than 3500 km, your compensation for more than three hours of delay can amount to 600,- euro.
Finally, with regard to the compensation just described, there is another important condition for you as a passenger. In fact, you are only entitled to the compensation for delay damage if your flight delay falls under European Regulation 261/2004. This is the case when your flight departs from an EU country or when you fly to a country within the EU with a European airline company.
Are you experiencing a flight delay, do you want to know whether you are entitled to compensation for damage caused by delay or do you intend to take any action against the airline? Please contact the lawyers at Law & More. Our lawyers are experts in the field of delay damage and will be happy to provide you with advice.