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As the summer holidays get closer, the number of travellers gets higher and thus increases the problems related to delays and flight cancellations. In these situations, do you know when you’re entitled to a refund or compensation?

At eDreams we have prepared a guide so you know what to do when there’s a problem with an airline. We hope it helps you!

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Delays, cancellations or other flight problems. Find out when you’re entitled to compensation, refund or other measures.

What law protects me?

The European legislation CE261/2004 dictates the obligations and rights of the passengers travelling from/to an European country, or aboard a plane with an European flag.

What are my rights?

In case of denied boarding, flight cancellation or long delay, the airline must provide you an alternative mode of transportation (free change to another flight) or a full refund of the ticket within 7 days. In addition, there will be extra compensation taking in consideration the following criteria:


If your flight is cancelled and you’re not notified of it at least 14 days in advance, you’ll be entitled to:

  • Right to information, assistance, and ticket refund or alternative transportation (relocation to another flight). The airline must provide the necessary assistance: enough food and drinks, two phone calls or email access and, if necessary, one or more nights of accommodation and transport between the airport and place of accommodation.
  • The right to be compensated between 250€ and 600€ depending on the flight distance, which means that the farthest is the destination, the greater will be the compensation. These amounts can be reduced by 50% if the airline offers alternative transportation and reduces the delay of arrival at the destination.

Note that these conditions can’t be applied if the airline justifies the cancellation due to force majeure such as adverse weather conditions, strikes, political instability or security threats. Similarly, if the passenger accepts the alternative flights offered by the airline, the refund of the original ticket can’t be requested.


If your flight suffered a long delay you’ll be entitled to:

  • Right to assistance, from 2 hours of delay for short-haul flights (1,500km) and after 4 hours for longer flights (3,500 km).
  • Right to refund, when the flight is delayed to take off for 5 hours or more.
  • When reaching the final destination with 3 hours or more of delay after the initial arrival time originally scheduled by the airline, the passenger may be entitled to identical compensation to which would correspond in case of a flight cancellation, unless the airline can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances.


In case the airline doesn’t have enough seats on the plane to transport all passengers with a confirmed reservation (overbooking), the company may agree to reimburse volunteer passengers. If there aren’t any volunteers and the boarding is denied against the willing of the passenger, the rights are the following:

  • Right to information, which consists in the delivery of a printed document by the airline with all the conditions of assistance and compensation.
  • Right to assistance. The airline must provide the necessary assistance: enough food and drinks, two phone calls or email access and, if necessary, one or more nights of accommodation as well as transportation between the airport and place of accommodation.
  • Right to refund or alternative transportation.
  • Right to compensation between 250€ and 600€, depending on the flight distance, although these amounts can be reduced  by 50% if the airline offers an alternative transport and meets the delay in arrival at destination.


There are two different scenarios depending on the type of strike:

  • In case of a pilots’ strike or airline’s own staff: you can claim to the airline the ticket refund and you also have the right to be compensated
  • If a strike wasn’t advised (air controllers or airport personnel): the passengers retain the right to have their ticket returned but the airline is not required to pay compensation because the causes are beyond their control.


The loss, damage or delay of checked luggage can give you the right to claim compensation to the company up to € 1,220.

To file a claim you have 7 days (21 days in case of delayed luggage). There is no special declaration mode as it depends on each airline.


How do I submit a complaint?

In case of flight cancellation, you must file your complaint directly to the airline operating your flight.

If you have any other questions or want to ask advice about a specific case, do not hesitate and send it to us – we will try our best to clarify your questions.



One response to “Get to know the Air Passenger Rights

  1. Because of my business purpose every year I need go abroad. But recently two or three times I am facing flight delay problem. Now I decide I will claim for flight delay compensation. Anyone help me. Where I am claim for flight delay compensation?

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