Compensation ruling for passengers delayed up to 3 hours


A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice now means that airline passengers in the EU who are delayed by more than 3 hours now have the right to receive the same amount of compensation as if their flight had been cancelled.

Before the ruling:

  • The ruling used to be that anyone whose flight was delayed up to 5 hours would receive a meal, a phone call and if necessary a hotel room overnight
  • If the flight was delayed over 5 hours or cancelled then passengers could demand a full refund

The landmark judgment means that:

  • The threshold is to be reduced from 5 hours to 3 hours
  • Compensation has be around the same level as if the flight is cancelled

The judges ruled in favour of the passengers as they believe that anyone who is delayed by more than 3 hours should receive adequate compensation.

The airlines are up in arms over this as they believe this is going to open the floodgates to many claims for compensation. The airlines are protesting as they say that a "technical" problem with an airplane cannot be foreseen.

If the flight is delayed due to technical difficulties for more than 3 hours then passengers will be entitled to a fair amount of compensation, but airlines argue that this should fall into the category of "extraordinary circumstances" and should be deemed beyond their control.

This could now mean that many airlines face the prospect of refunding far more than the cost of the original ticket.

If you find yourself in this situation, get further advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority regarding your rights.

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