Many of you will fly home for holidays, Christmas is traditionally the worst period for flight delays. We thought it might be useful to publish passenger rights in case of delayed or cancelled flights.  We hope you never use this information but in case you need it here it is.

Happy Holidays!

btrfly crew


Travelers have their patience tested while dealing with long waits and flight cancelations at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Thursday, January 2, 2014. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune) B583439043Z.1 ....OUTSIDE TRIBUNE CO.- NO MAGS, NO SALES, NO INTERNET, NO TV, CHICAGO OUT, NO DIGITAL MANIPULATION...




(For flights departing from an EU airport, arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline)

  • If your flight has been delayed for over 5 hours, and if you no longer want to travel, you can get a FULL refund of your ticket.  If you do still want to travel, your airline MUST get you to your destination on your original booking. If you are a transfer passenger, your airline must also fly you back to your original departure point.
  • If your flight is cancelled, your airline must find you a new flight. Sometimes this might be with another airline.
  • If you are stuck at an EU airport, or if you are stuck at an airport outside the EU but you are flying on an EU airline, your airline must look after you no matter what has caused the delay or cancellation.
  • If your airline tells you to book alternative flights or accommodation yourself, keep a note of who told you this and when.
  • You might be able to claim a refund of reasonable expenses or need to claim on your travel insurance – so keep receipts for anything you buy.
  • You may be entitled to a fixed sum in compensation if the cause of the delay or cancellation was within the airline’s control.

If you have been delayed for several hours then your airline must look after you.

It must provide:

  • A reasonable amount of food and drink
  • A means for you to communicate, often by refunding the cost of two phone calls
  • Accommodation, if delayed overnight, usually in a nearby hotel.
  • Transport to/from that accommodation or to your home if you can return there.

The length of your flight determines when your airline must start looking after you:

  • Short-haul flights under 1,500km. You’re entitled to assistance once the delay is over 2 hours.
  • Medium-haul flights of 1,500-3,500 km, and the flights of longer than 1,500 km within the EU. You are entitled to assistance once the delay is over 3 hours.
  • Long-haul flights over 3,500km. You’re entitled to assistance once the delay is over 4 hours.

(US Airlines are not subject to the above-mentioned rules and regulations)


Passengers may be denied boarding or “bumped” if a flight is overbooked. Your airline must offer an alternative flight as soon as possible, or at a later date that suits you.

Bumped Passengers can claim:

(Flights departing from EU, or travelling to EU or on a EU based airline)

  • Cash compensation: €250/400/600 for short/medium/long haul flights. (if re-routing is offered and results in the passenger arriving within two/three/four hours of the scheduled arrival time the compensation is halved). This payment is strictly a compensation for the customer’s inconvenience and does not replace a re-route or a refund.
  • Re-routing or refunding: it’s your choice to get a refund; re-route with the next available flight or re-route at your convenience.

(Flights departing from US)

  • Cash compensation: You are entitled to a compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of the ticket and the length of the delay. If re-routing delays you between 1-2hrs (1-4hrs for international flights), you are entitled to 200% of your one-way fare (650$ maximum). If re-routing delays you more than 2 hrs (4+hrs for international flights), you are entitled 400% of your one-way fare (1300$ maximum)
  • Re-routing or refunding: it’s your choice to get a refund; re-route with the next available flight or re-route at your convenience.


If your luggage is delayed or lost, you may qualify for reimbursement of expenses (amount depends on the delay and airline)




After 21 days any delayed luggage is considered lost, even if the airline finds and delivers your luggage

The airline will pay you an indemnity, the amount of indemnity will depend on the contents of your luggage and will be subject to the following liability limits:

  • International flights: 1600$ (Montreal convention)
  • Domestic US flights: 3,400$ (DOT as of Aug 2014)
  • European flights: 1,220€
Flying home for Christmas?
Tagged on: