Air travel doesn't always go as smoothly as we hope for, and flight delays are an unfortunate reality. However, if you've found yourself on a delayed flight, you may be eligible for compensation for flight delays under specific air passenger rights regulations. When travelling from and to Canada, air passengers have rights when it comes to delayed flights, and understanding these regulations can help you claim the compensation you deserve.
One avenue for compensation for delayed flights is European legislation known as EC 261. This regulation allows passengers who experience flight delays to claim compensation of up to US$700. But there's a catch - it applies primarily to flights departing from European Union (EU) countries or flying with European airlines. So, if your delayed flight falls within these parameters, you could be in luck.
For international flights originating or landing outside of Europe, the Montreal Convention, also known as MC99, steps in to protect air passengers. Unlike the straightforward guidelines of EC 261, MC99 operates on a case-by-case basis, making it more complex to navigate. However, it still offers potential compensation for flight delays in Canada, provided certain conditions are met.
To better understand your rights and determine what you may be entitled to, consider using our free Eligibility Checker. Simply input your flight details, and our tool will provide you with valuable information on the compensation you might be eligible to claim under these regulations.
Canada's air passengers have rights regarding delayed flights when travelling to and from Europe. The rights offer opportunities to Canadians for compensation under various regulations, including EC 261. If you're left waiting due to a delayed flight, you might be eligible to file a claim and receive a significant payout of up to US$700(€600) in late arrival compensation.
However, determining your eligibility can be a bit complex, as specific conditions must be met. To shed light on whether you quality for this delayed flight compensation, let's dive into key factors:
You arrive at your destination more than three hours later than planned.
Your flight took off in the EU (flights into the EU also qualify in some cases).
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 three years ago.
The airline is responsible for the delay (e.g. operational circumstances and technical difficulties).
It doesn’t matter whether the airline has already provided you with food, refreshment or travel vouchers.
When your travel plans are thrown into disarray due to a disrupted flight, it's essential to understand your rights and the potential for late arrival compensation that applies to Canada's air passengers. Delayed flight compensation can provide relief in such situations of flight disruption.
Under EU law EC 261, flights operating within the European Union (EU) or departing from an EU airport are subject to specific regulations. If your flight experiences a delay of more than three hours, you may be eligible for delayed flight compensation, even if you are from or live in Canada.
The amount of compensation you can claim for your delayed flight depends on several key factors, including how long you have been delayed, and the distance of your flight. The following chart details the amount of airline flight compensation for delayed flights you can claim:
|Length of delay|
|Less than 3 hours||3 – 4 hours||More than 4 hours||Never arrived||Distance|
|❌ € –||✔️ €250||✔️ €250||✔️ €250||All flights 1,500 km or less|
|❌ € –||✔️ €400||✔️ €400||✔️ €400||Internal EU flights over 1,500 km|
|❌ € –||✔️ €400||✔️ €400||✔️ €400||✔️ Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km|
|❌ € –||✔️ €300||✔️ €600||✔️ €600||✔️ Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 km|
Many people think that their employer will be entitled to any flight disruption compensation for a delay during a business trip, but that’s not the case.
In fact, it is the passenger who has suffered the inconvenience that is entitled to flight delay compensation, whether in Canada or Europe, not the person who paid for the ticket.
This is the general principle set out in the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation that applies to Canadians for major flight delays, cancellations and cases of overbooking. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an employee of a private-sector company or a public official.
When you’re stuck waiting for the airline to get you back to Canada or toward your destination, European law EC 261 says you’re entitled to a number of essentials, depending on your flight details.
The carrier must provide you with meals and refreshments during the delay as well as access to communications, including two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, and emails.
If overnight accommodation is necessary, they must provide you with a hotel room, and transportation to and from the airport.
Right to reimbursement or re-routing
In addition to compensation for your loss of time, if your delay exceeds five hours, you are entitled to a full or partial refund of your original ticket and a return flight to your point of departure, if needed.
Upgrading and downgrading
If you are offered an alternative flight and are lucky enough to get an upgrade, the airline isn’t allowed to charge you anything extra. On the other hand, if the class of the alternative flight is lower, you can get a reimbursement of between 30-75% of the price you originally paid.
Even if you are compensated for flight delays under EC 261, this doesn’t affect your right to request further compensation.
This rule doesn’t apply in cases where passengers have voluntarily surrendered their reservations. But bear in mind that the amount you are entitled to under EC 261 may be deducted from whatever additional compensation you receive.
Obligation to inform passengers of their rights Airlines are obliged to inform passengers about their rights and the content of EC 261. This means that every airline has to display information on passenger’s rights at check-in counters. You can find the full text of the regulation on this link.
When your flight is delayed, your airline may offer you compensation in the form of flight vouchers. Of course, when you’re tired and frustrated and someone is offering you a voucher for a new flight, it’s very hard to say ‘no’.
However, you should check that by accepting a voucher, you’re not waiving your right to claim for the compensation for flight disruptions you’re legally entitled to with your Canada air passenger rights. EU regulations clearly state that compensation should be paid in cash, electronic transfer or checks, unless the passenger chooses to accept travel vouchers instead.
Essentially, it’s your choice whether to accept the vouchers or not. The data says that most people do.
But you must remember that it’s worth finding out what you might be entitled to if you refuse the airline’s offer and insist on cash instead.
Most people don’t know their rights to what compensation for flight delays in Canada they’re owed. We surveyed European air travellers and found that 85% don’t know their rights.
When it comes to airline compensation for delays, many passengers are unaware of the extent of their rights under EC 261, even when their flights involve destinations beyond Europe. Contrary to common misconceptions, EC 261 covers more than just the European Union airspace; it extends its reach to include Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and even what are known as the "outermost-regions".
These "outermost-regions" encompass destinations like French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Réunion, Saint-Martin, Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary Islands. So, if your travel plans involve any of these regions, and you experience a flight delay, you may be entitled to EC 261 compensation.
It's crucial to note that the scope of EC 261 goes beyond Canada or other departure locations as well. If your flight departs from any airport within the EU, it's covered by EC 261. Moreover, even if your flight originates outside the EU but is operated by an EU airline, you still have the right to claim compensation for a late flight in Canada or anywhere else your journey takes you.
So, whether you're flying within Europe, heading to one of its outmost regions, or travelling beyond, knowing your rights regarding Canada flight delay compensation and EC 261 compensation can help you navigate unforeseen travel disruptions with confidence.
When passengers discover their entitlement to delayed flights compensation under air passenger rights, their next query often revolves around the calculation of this flight disruption compensation. So, if you're contemplating claiming Canada flight delay compensation with EC 261 regulations for a late flight, you might be wondering how the compensation amount is determined.
The key factor in calculating compensation for a flight delay is the time of your arrival at the final destination. This distinction is crucial because, even if your flight departs late, the airline might manage to regain some time during the flight itself.
Now, what precisely constitutes a flight's "arrival time"?
In September 2014, the European Court of Justice (in case C-452/13) provided a defining moment by declaring that “arrival time” is when the aircraft has reached its final destination, and at least one of its doors is open. This definition is rooted in the concept that passengers are granted permission to disembark at his moment.
It's worth noting that this definition might result in a time difference of 15 minutes or more compared to when your flight actually touched down. Thus, precision is paramount when you're seeking late arrival compensation for your flight, especially if you're considering delayed flight compensation in Canada or any other location.
Understanding the intricacies of how compensation is calculated can empower passengers to assert their rights and make informed decisions when faced with flight delays.
How long can a flight be delayed without compensation? Three full hours.
The regulations in EC 261 state that an airline can avoid liability if the delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances”.
These include situations like lightning strikes, medical emergencies, air traffic control strikes, serious adverse weather conditions, airport employee strikes or air traffic control strikes, air traffic control restrictions, sudden malfunctioning of the airport radar, acts of sabotage, political unrest, acts of terrorism… you get the idea.
Does snow count as a serious adverse weather condition?
It depends whether or not the airline could have prevented the problem.
If, for example, the airline failed to ensure that there were sufficient supplies of de-icer before the onset of winter, it could be held responsible for the delay – especially if flights operated by other airlines were able to depart on time.
Airline strikes do not fall under extraordinary circumstances
In April 2018, the European Court of Justice made a ruling stating that internal ‘wildcat strikes’ by flight staff do not constitute extraordinary circumstances.
Therefore, airlines must now compensate air passengers for flight delays and cancellations, when an airline strike is to blame.
With travellers flying further afield than ever, it’s not unusual for a flight to have one (or more) stops, or connections, on the way.
And if any one of those flights are delayed, it can cause you to miss your connection and throw the whole journey into chaos.
Firstly, if you do miss a connection because of a delayed flight, it is the airline’s responsibility to find you a replacement to the final destination on your ticket.
In addition, you could be entitled to delayed flight compensation in Canada under European laws. If the time you arrive at your final destination is over three hours later than your original flight, you could claim up to €600.
It’s important that your flights are booked together and part of the same journey. If you booked your own onward flight separately, that would not be covered.
You can read a lot more information on our missed connection advice page.
If you’ve just found out your flight is delayed, don’t stress, follow our easy step-by-step guide on how to make the best out of the situation.
Hold onto your boarding pass and any other travel documents .
Ask why the flight was delayed.
Gather proof of the delay (for example photos of the departure board or communications from the airline confirming the disruption.)
Make a note of the arrival time at your destination.
Ask the airline to pay for your meals and refreshments.
Don’t sign anything or accept any offers that may waive your rights.
Choose to wait it out or call it off if your delay is more than five hours.
If needed, get the airline to provide you with a hotel room.
Keep your receipts if your delayed flight ends up costing you extra money.
We understand that many air passengers do not have the time, experience or inclination to fight with airlines in order to claim the compensation they’re owed.
AirHelp is able to submit claims on passengers’ behalf:
We'll tell you quickly if we think you are eligible for compensation.
We'll handle all communication with the airline.
There's no risk, we only charge a fee when we're successful in getting your compensation.
Airlines have different procedures and required documents in order to make a claim. The best advice is to hold on to all documents if your flight is delayed.
One of the advantages of filing a claim with AirHelp, is we know exactly what each airline will require. We’ll help you to find the right documents when you kick off your claim.
If you’re going to file directly with an airline, you can expect some pushback. Even with EC 261 on your side, they might not be enthusiastic – or quick – about paying you. To give your claim the best chance of succeeding, make sure you gather together all the documentation you can.
Flight delay compensation calculator
Using our free online flight delay compensation calculator, with a few clicks of your finger, you can transform your delayed or cancelled flight into a reimbursement claim.
After you have gone through our eligibility checklist and qualify to seek compensation, the good news is you can make a delayed flight claim.
We understand how frustrating it is to suffer a flight delay or cancellation and our app delivers real-time flight compensation eligibility decisions.
Boarding pass scanner
There is no need to manually enter or remember your flight details or booking numbers—just scan the barcode on your boarding pass. After this, our compensation calculator takes care of everything.
Free compensation calculator
Using the online boarding pass scanner, you are able to check flight delay compensation eligibility instantly.
After you enter your flight details into our free compensation calculator, within seconds you are notified if you are eligible or not to make a claim for your delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight.
No matter where you live, if you’re flying from a European airport, or flying into Europe on a European airline, you can claim for flight delay under EC 261. This chart makes it clear:
|Itinerary||EU Air Carrier||Non-EU Air Carrier|
|From inside the EU to inside the EU||✔️ Covered||✔️ Covered|
|From outside the EU to inside the EU||✔️ Covered||❌ Not Covered|
|From outside the EU to outside the EU||❌ Not Covered||❌ Not Covered|
The Canada does not have it’s own comprehensive set of air passenger rights covering flight delay, though that is currently under review.
AirHelp is actively campaigning to improve Canada’s air passenger rights regulations.
The Montreal Convention, often referred to as MC99, plays a significant role in addressing various aspects of air travel, including situations involving flight delays. It's essential to grasp that the Convention primarily pertains to international flights, and its provisions do not extend to cover domestic flights operating solely within a single country.
However, there is an exception to this rule. If your journey involves a flight that departs and arrives within the same country but includes a planned stopover in another country, the Montreal Convention comes into play. For instance, imagine you booked a flight originating in a member nation like China but included a stopover in a different country, such as India. In such cases, your flight would be considered an international one, and the Montreal Convention's protections would apply. On the other hand, if you booked a direct flight without any stopovers, it would be classified as a domestic flight and fall outside the scope of the Montreal Convention.
It's worth noting that the Montreal Convention's reach extends to encompass all international flights conducted between countries and territories that adhere to the regulations it outlines. Currently, more than 135 countries and territories across the globe abide by the Montreal Convention, providing a comprehensive framework for addressing issues related to air travel, including delayed flight compensation. Understanding the nuances of this international agreement is crucial when seeking compensation for flight delays under the Montreal Convention in accordance with Canada's air passenger rights.
The Montreal Convention, while not specifying fixed compensation amounts for flight delays, offers passengers an avenue to seek damages for the inconvenience. Instead of providing a predetermined sum, the Convention empowers travellers to claim compensation for various expenses incurred due to air travel disruptions. This means that if you find yourself in a situation where you miss a pre-paid reservation, have to cover the cost of an additional hotel night, or face any other unforeseen expenses resulting from flight delays, you have the opportunity to seek reimbursement. The Montreal Convention sets a maximum limit for such claims, which can reach up to a substantial $7,000.
It's important to note that both the Montreal Convention and Canada's air passenger rights have strict time limits associated with filing claims. To ensure you don't miss out on the compensation you may be entitled to, it's crucial to initiate the claims process as promptly as possible. Understanding the intricacies of these laws and regulations can be the key to receiving fair compensation for your travel inconveniences. Don't let unforeseen expenses disrupt your travel experience without exploring your rights and the available avenues for flight compensation. You can read more about the Montreal Convention here.
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There have been significant compensation flight delay rulings that have made an impact on how compensation for flight delays are assessed.
In 2012, a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice declared that passengers were entitled to compensation for long delays, as long as certain conditions were met.
Following on from that ruling, the floodgates opened for flight delay compensation claims to be made by disgruntled passengers.
AirHelp’s team strives to ensure that passengers are relieved from the stress of making a claim.
We take on the responsibility of enforcing your right to compensation from the airline.
To date, we have helped over 16 million passengers process airline compensation claims.
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