Flight delay compensation for US passengers in Europe
What are your rights as an American in Europe?
Are you flying from the United States to Europe? Lucky you, not only are you visiting the old continent, but as a passenger, you are also protected by EU regulations. In this article, we’ll explain what your rights are if your flight to Europe is cancelled or delayed.
We also explain what your rights are if your return flight is cancelled or delayed.
How does flight compensation work in the EU for US passengers?
As an American passenger or tourist, you may be eligible for compensation if you experience flight problems.
According to EU Regulation 261/2004 you are be entitled to compensation ranging from €250 ($257) to €600 ($660), depending on the distance of the flight.
This compensation applies regardless of your nationality, meaning American travelers are included. There are some caveats for Regulation 261.
If the airline notified you 14 days (or more) before the flight about changes in the flight plan, such as a delay or a cancellation, the EU stipulates that there is no right to a financial compensation.
The regulations only apply if:
- Your flight is from an EU country to the USA
- You are flying on an European airline from the US to an EU-country
- All flights between EU-airports
NB: The regulation only applies to countries in the EU. Not all European countries are part of the European Union. The following countries are in the EU:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) isn’t part of the EU, but the same rules apply. Countries such as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have also accepted EC Regulation 261/2004 into their law.
Delayed flight compensation EU
Is your flight delayed? You might be entitled to compensation, but it depends on the circumstances. If the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control, you are not entitled to compensation. The most common reasons for force majeur are delays because of weather conditions, Air Traffic Control restrictions or strikes by ground crew.
These conditions apply to flights from the United States to Europe, but only if they are operated by an European airline.
If your flight starts in one of the countries of the European Union and is delayed for more than 3 hours, you may also be eligible for compensation. This flight doesn’t necessarily have to be operated by a European airline, in this case, the EU regulation also applies to Delta or United, for example. We’ll explain the amount of compensation later on in this article.
If your flight is delayed for at least 2 hours, the airline must provide you with care and services.. This includes food and beverages and, if necessary, a hotel booking. If the airline doesn’t provide these, and you pay out ofpocket, keep the receipts for later reimbursement.
Cancelled flight compensation EU
What if your flight is cancelled? Thanks to EU Regulation 261, the airline must give you a reasonable alternative, or offer to refund your ticket. You can then book a new ticket, and if the new ticket costs more, the airline must pay the difference.
In addition to this, you may also be eligible to compensation. The same conditions apply as in the previous paragraph. As an American, you may be eligible for compensation if your cancelled flight is either:
- From the US to a country in the European Union and operated by an European airline
- Flying from the EU to the United States
- Flying within the EU
If your flight has been either delayed by a minimum of 3 hours, or has been cancelled altogether, you may be eligible to compensation.
How much compensation can I get?
If your cancelled or delayed flight falls under Regulation 261, the amount of compensation is based on the distance of your flight.
- €250 ($275) compensation for a cancelled flight up to 1,500 km (<932 mi)
- €400 ($440) compensation for a cancelled flight between 1,500 and 3,500 km (between 932 mi and 2,741 mi)
- €600 ($660) compensation for a cancelled flight over 3,500 km (>2,174 mi)
If your flight exceeds 3,500 km and your arrival delay is between 3 and 4 hours, you are entitled to 50% of the compensation amount (€300).
If you are not sure how long the distance of your flight was, use the calculator below.
Calculate the distance of your flight
Claim your money with EUclaim
Save yourself the hassle of contacting European airlines for your compensation. Let us do the hard work for you. EUclaim was founded in 2007 and has helped nearly 700,000 passengers successfully claim compensation. We are the European airline industry’s experts when it comes to standing up for passengers’ rights.
Click below to check if your cancelled or delayed flight is eligible for financial compensation.