Flight Delay Compensation

Claiming Flight Delay Compensation

I was going to add this Flight Delay Compensation section to the guide even though I had never had to claim for a delayed flight before. Just as I am revamping the guide in April 2019, I received an email informing me that my recent flight delay compensation claim has been successful. My story is below.

What the law EC 261/2004 states

You can claim up to €600 in flight delay compensation if your flight is at least 3 hours late. It has to be the fault of the airline. Here are the rules for a claim…

You must be flying from an EU airport or be flying into an EU airport.

The flight must be at least 3 hours late (see below for what constitutes 3 hours)

The delay must be due to something beyond the airline’s control such as bad weather, air traffic control or security threats.

Mr Brit’s claim

After a 5 day trip to New York in March 2019 we arrived at the Newark Liberty airport (EWR). The check-in lady told us the departure would be 3 hours late due to a technical problem. She gave us $11 each for a meal or drink and apologised. Straight away I was thinking ‘flight delay compensation’ #rubbinghands

The flight actually took off three and a half hours late. When we took off, the TV screen was showing an ETA of 12.10pm. Now our original flight was supposed to be landing at 9.15am so the pilot wanted to get us there 5 minutes before compensation was due. If the flight landed at 12.15pm, we were due compensation. One minute earlier and we get nothing.

As we got closer to the UK it became apparent that we were not going to land before 12.15pm. Being the sort of person that doesn’t trust the big corporations I decided to take this photo of the TV screen at 11.51am. It stated that our ETA was 12.25pm so this was 10 minutes after the required time. After about another 15 minutes I noticed the plane began circling. The pilot came over the speaker and said he had to circle due to air traffic control issues.

Knowing the small print helps

We eventually landed on the tarmac at 12.35pm. When I got into the airport an alert from the airline app popped up on my phone. It stated that I have landed at 12.45pm. The reason for this is that your landing time is not when you touch the tarmac, the landing time is classed as the moment the first door of the plane is opened. Taxiing can take at least 10 minutes to reach the terminal.

When I got home I got straight on to Resolver.co.uk and filed my claim. Resolver is a free to use ‘dispute resolving website’ and it was the first time I had used it. I made a claim and it took just a few minutes. About ten days later I got a reply from the airline that read something like this….

Thank you for your recent claim against our airline. We are sorry you were delayed but the fault was not with the airline, it was the fault of air traffic control so we cannot pay any compensation in this instance.

I sort of knew that was going to happen and I already had my reply ready and waiting. I had discovered various websites that helped with my evidence building and I learned some things that helped my claim.

Learning while waiting

A website called FlightAware.com shows you all of the stats for any given flight. This can help you prove if the plane was ever going to arrive on time because it shows where the plane was at a specific moment in time. My specific flight showed that it was impossible to be on time so I took some screenshots.

I also learned that when an aircraft is due to take off, they are allocated a landing slot at that time. They are not given a landing slot when the aircraft is already on its way. This means that the aircraft probably already had a landing slot of 12.45pm because it departed a half hour late. The pilot probably ‘wanted’ to land before the compensation was due but couldn’t.

I forwarded my evidence including screenshots etc and just 5 days later I received this reply.

I had an individual booking and Mrs Brit had another booking with herself and Little Brit on it. In total we received £777.84 in compensation which was more than the £720 it cost us to book the 3 flights. If the flight was delayed just another 30 minutes our compensation would have doubled.

I think that they will almost always blame air traffic control, hoping you just ‘go away’. Stick to your guns and get your follow-up reply ready.

So if you are late, take photos of the flight map on the TV screen in front of your seat. Open a claim on Resolver.co.uk and ignore the first reply, unless it is good news. You can claim flight delay compensation on flights as far back as 6 years.