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Flight delay? You can claim up to £460 from the airline

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Holidaymakers who have experienced a flight delay of more than three hours in the past six years aren’t claiming the up to £460 in compensation they’re entitled to.

New research reveals that just 30% of those who’ve been delayed have made a claim for compensation and one in three weren’t aware they could do so, despite the rules being in place for a decade.

One in three also believed the maximum they could get back is £150, which is why many said they couldn’t be bothered to make a claim.

Of those that did claim, 73% went directly to the airline, but 27% went via a claims management or legal company, losing up to a third of the compensation paid out, according to

Industry analysis shows that some of these firms are taking as much as 30% off the total compensation amount which means that for a family of four, this amounts to £552.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) received 8,966 complaints about delay compensation between April 2015 and March 2016 and 87% were successful, securing applicants a share of £4.5m.

What are the flight delay rules?

Under EC regulation 261/2004, you can make a claim for at fault flight delays of three hours or more up to six years after they take place.

This applies to delays on all flights departing from an EU airport, irrespective of the airline or destination and applies to delayed flights on a EU airline that lands at an EU airport.

The delay must have been caused by an airline fault so bad weather, strikes or unforeseeable technical issues won’t generally be included. A delay is measured from the time you were expected to land, not the departure time.

The amount of compensation you’ll receive is based on the distance you were due to fly and the length of the delay.

If you’re delayed by more than two hours, you have the right to food and drink vouchers, access to phone calls, emails and accommodation and you can still claim compensation on top of this if the delay exceeds three hours.

You’ll need to take your complaint to the airline first and if it rejects it, you can then escalate it to the CAA.

‘There’s no point paying a middle man’

Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of, said: “Airlines make it really easy to lodge a claim and you don’t even have to call them – most allow you to do it online. As the process is generally so simple there’s no point paying a middle man; lodge the claim yourself and you should get to keep every penny.

“This isn’t about chasing compensation for minor inconveniences. If your travel plans have seriously been affected and the airline was at fault, you can and should ask for the compensation you’re entitled to. If the airline wasn’t to blame then look to your travel insurance instead.”

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