How to Get Compensation for Delayed or Canceled Flights: Know Your Rights

Compensation for Delayed or Canceled Flights

Flight delays and cancellations are two of the worst nightmares a passenger has, as no one wants to waste their time waiting for their flights rather than enjoying the event they were flying for or the next connecting flight they were supposed to take. It’s evident that none of the offered things could make up for your time lost. Nevertheless, they surely would make up for the hefty sum of money you paid out of your pockets to get that reservation, which no longer is of use or required. 
So, if you want to be an informed passenger and have a clear-cut answer to a question lingering in your mind: How long can a flight be delayed before compensation? You must not miss out on the upcoming sections of this well-curated doc. Let us introduce you to the “passenger rights” when it comes to getting cancellation or airline delay compensation.

Cancelled or Delayed Flight?

You do not need to worry if your flight is delayed because you are eligible to get assistance in addition to the choice to rebook, reroute, or reimburse your flight. Also, keep in mind that if you reach your destination after three hours of your scheduled arrival time, you are entitled to reimbursement, rerouting, and rebooking as well. 

Potential Reasons for which Your Flight was Delayed or Cancelled

Every airline in the aviation industry has encountered situations when it had to cancel or delay a flight; the circumstances could be either controllable or uncontrollable. Here are a few reasons that caused your flight to be delayed or canceled.

Air Carrier

The reasons for delays or cancellations are maintenance, crew problems, baggage loading, fueling, or aircraft cleaning, all of which lie under controllable circumstances.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Actual or forecasted meteorological conditions (such as tornado, hurricane, or blizzard) resulting in delays or cancellations.

Aircraft Arriving Late

If the plane that was supposed to carry you is late because it arrived late, your departure will be canceled or delayed.

National Aviation System

NAS is typically a matter of security nationwide, such as heavy air traffic, airport operations, or non-extreme weather. 

Security Breaches

The plane was boarded late because of a breach in security, which led to re-boarding.

Tarmac Delays

These are delays when the plane is stuck either before taking off or after landing. In both cases, the passengers are inside the plane but are unable to deboard. These often occur at US Airports. 

Categories under controllable events include air carrier-related issues. Uncontrollable events include extreme weather conditions, security delays, weather, and air traffic. Per the rules, the airline ought to provide compensation when controllable situations arise.

Passenger Rights When It Comes to Flight Delays and Cancellations 

Whatever the reason, passengers have some basic rights that the airline they are traveling with must follow. It ensures the safety and security of the passengers, whether they require medical attention or want to fulfill basic human needs. As a traveler, you should know that:

In the event of DELAYS

  • If the plane has been delayed for at least 2 hours, the airline should provide you with meals or refreshments during your wait time.
  • If your plane (domestic) is delayed for at least 6 hours or more than that, the airline must book you on another flight within 24 hours. Or, they must offer you a full refund of your ticket.
  • If the flight has kept you waiting for more than 24 hours, the airline must provide you with hotel accommodation and food. You can also request a refund for your ticket as compensation.
  • If the airline denies you compensation for food, meals, or snacks, you can seek reimbursement under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention.
  • If your airline cancels your current reservation, they must rebook you on the first flight available to your destination, and that too without any additional charges.

Note: If your airline has first delayed and then canceled your flight schedule, then also, you can file compensation for the canceled flight.

In the event of CANCELLATIONS

When a flight cancellation occurs, you are provided with three choices; to request compensation, reimbursement, a choice to reroute, and rebook. However, this is only applicable when you were notified of the cancellation not less than 14 days before. And, If the cancellation occurred due to uncontrollable circumstance

The airline is not liable to provide you with any of the mentioned things if:

  • They informed you 14 days prior.
  • They offered you re-routing, in which your flight was scheduled to depart two hours before the booked or original departure time so that you reached your destination less than four or two hours before.

Note: Each airline’s refund procedure is different and depends on certain factors. If you abide by their cancellation policies, you can successfully request a refund for the unused portion of the ticket.

How to File a Complaint to the Airlines?

If passengers departing within the United States or outside the country find a flight delay, they can request compensation. Here’s how to get compensation for a delayed or canceled flight:

  • If you have booked your flight with a third-party travel agency, you must contact them again. They will inform you more about the terms and conditions and apply for compensation on your behalf. 
  •  If you have booked a flight directly with the airline, you can get in touch with their customer support staff, available right at the departures terminal.
  • Several airlines also offer online support to provide passengers with what they need when a flight is delayed, so don’t forget to check their official website.
  • Most prominent airlines are active on social media platforms like Twitter and are quick to respond to your queries. So, always keep an eye out on these platforms. 
  • Lastly, get a word with the airline’s department of claims, from which you bought yourself a flight reservation. Elaborate on your situation and request the airline to inform you about further procedures. 

Whenever you are booking a flight with any airline, it’s essential that you go through their travel policies to better handle the unfortunate circumstances such as flight delays without panicking at the airport.

Closing Lines 

Flight delays are common and known to frequent travelers but first-time time-flyers often panic in such a situation. Regardless of what type of traveler you are, you can always seek assistance by knowing your passenger rights and by getting in touch with your airline to file a complaint for reimbursement or compensation. 

Learn with Us!

How to get compensation for a delayed or canceled flight?

Passengers can get in touch with their airline to request compensation for a delayed flight, whether domestic or international. 

Can I get compensation for the canceled flight?

Yes. Airlines are responsible for compensating passengers for canceled flights, either by refunding them or by booking them on the next available flight.

How long can a flight be delayed before compensation?

Your flight must be delayed for not less than 3 hours to call for compensation. 

Is reimbursement or compensation for a delayed flight the same?

Reimbursement refers to repayment (refund), and compensation refers to a reward (food, snacks, meals) for a delayed flight.

What is the minimum flight delay to get compensation for flight delay?

The minimum flight delay to get compensation for flight delay is at least two hours.

What is the rule if the flight is delayed more than 2 hours?

If the flight is delayed more than 2 hours, the passengers are entitled to food, meals, refreshments (free of cost), access to lavatories, and medical aid.

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