How to Claim Compensation for an International Airline Flight Delay

This post will explain the grounds for making a claim for compensation if you have experienced a flight delay on an International flight. We will discuss the process for making a claim, and how to process a claim if you have had a flight delayed (or you know someone who has).

What are the Flight Delay rules?

  • The flight you have been delayed on must be a European Union (EU)-regulated flight i.e. one where the flight departed from an EU airport, regardless of the airline OR where an airline landed at an EU airport, this would cover all flights from Nigeria to the UK, France, Germany etc. (since the UK left the EU on 31 December 2020 it has indicated that the relevant law that covers delayed flights will still continue to operate in the UK)
  • You can only claim for compensation for flights over the last 6 years
  • You are only entitled to the compensation if the delay was something within the airline’s control. However, you can’t claim if the delay was caused by terrorist activity, bad weather, industrial strike, and some other exceptions.
  • It will only be considered a DELAY when the flight ARRIVES at the destination over 3 HOURS later than it was due to arrive
  • The amount of compensation you’ll get depends on the flight delay and distance. A flight from/to Nigeria would get you compensation between €400 – €600


The Process for Claiming after a Flight Delay

  1. Complain to the airline – Different airlines have different procedures for claiming. Some accept complaints via email, and you need to send a “written claims letter” to others. Check what method your airline wants you to use. Just remember to explain what went wrong and state what you want in terms of compensation and/or reimbursement. Remember to say you want compensation under: EC regulation 261/2004
  1. If your claim for compensation is rejected by the airline, you may either choose to accept the rejection, or make a further complaint to regulator in the arrival EU country, or the European Consumer Centre (ECC).
  1. When complaining to the ECC, you will need to include; the details of your initial complaint letter, the rejection letter received from the airline, and a cover letter to asking them to review the rejection by the airline.
  1. Unfortunately, the regulators or the ECC do not have the same powers to force airlines to pay out for compensation. So even if they agreed that you should get compensation, you might get the airline refuse to accept liability. If this happens, then you will have to take the case to court.
  1. You may engage a lawyer and decide to take the matter to court. Please note that at any step in the above process, you may decide to go to court.

You can find out more about the legislation governing delayed flights in the European Union here.

Now we also know that some people were hoping to find information in this post on how to deal with the notorious Nigerian airlines for domestic flight delays. We have laid out the process in this post – How to Claim Compensation for Domestic Flights.

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We hope you have found this information helpfulPlease note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. This answer is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.

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