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Bei Flugverspätungen ab drei Stunden besteht Anspruch auf eine Entschädigung, Bild: Rob Wilson / shutterstock

What rights do I have if my flight is delayed?

In some cases, the anticipation of a holiday on the beach is already dampened at the airport. For example, the flight may be delayed. Or passengers have to wait a long time on the plane. As a result, you may miss your connecting flight. In the event of a flight delay of three hours or more, passengers have the right to compensation. This article explains when you can get which flight compensation.

Requirements for Flight Compensation

The right to receive compensation for a delayed flight depends on certain conditions. In principle, the delay must have been caused by the airline itself. In the event of a flight delay due to a tornado, the claim for compensation does not apply. Possible reasons for a flight delay can be, for example , strikes and staff shortages at the airlines . In addition, the flight is legally only considered delayed if there is a delay of three hours. So if you had to wait two hours at the terminal, you are unfortunately not entitled to compensation.

How are the three-hour delay measured?

The prerequisite for the compensation payment is therefore a delay of at least three hours. But how do you measure these three hours? Is the flight considered to be over as soon as the plane has landed? Or as soon as the passengers leave the airport? In fact, the aircraft is considered to have arrived when a door is open and passengers can leave the aircraft. Finally, it may happen that the plane lands on time, but the disembarkation is delayed due to difficulties at the destination airport. If you can leave the plane late, this special case of delay also falls within the EU’s air passenger law. This means that compensation claims can be asserted.

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Monetary compensation depends on the number of kilometers

How much money do you actually get back if your flight is delayed? That depends on the kilometers traveled in the air. EU law provides for a gradation into three categories. Up to 1,500 flight kilometers you get 250 euros for a delay. That would be roughly equivalent to a trip from Hamburg to London . For a flight between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers, the compensation is 400 euros. This may be the case for flights from Germany to Spain. If more than 3,500 kilometers are flown, for example to the USA, you get 600 euros back.

Will I get compensation for my missed connecting flight?

Yes, you can also receive compensation for the subsequent onward journey on another plane or train. But even in this case, the delay must meet certain criteria. The final destination must be reached at least three hours later. In addition, the missed connecting flight must have been booked together with the delayed flight. Only if a passenger can prove these conditions will he receive compensation for the missed connecting means of transport.

The right to additional services in the event of a flight delay

What many passengers don’t know: If there is a delay of three hours or more, you don’t have to spend the night at the terminal. In this case, there is an entitlement to additional benefits. These include an overnight stay in a hotel as well as transport to the hotel. In addition, meals and drinks will be covered by the airline. In addition, passengers have the right to telecommunications while waiting for the next flight. For example, you can make two free phone calls.

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For which flight problems do I get compensation?

It is not only in the event of a flight delay that passengers receive monetary compensation and support. The same EU law applies in the event of a flight cancellation and a denied boarding due to overbooking. Similar regulations apply in the event of loss of the baggage. This also gives you the right to cash and support if the suitcase does not arrive at the destination airport. Even if you miss the flight through your own fault, you can get part of the cost back.


The plane is the best means of transport to quickly get to the most beautiful holiday destinations. But what do you do if you have to wait at the airport instead because of a flight delay? If the delay lasts three hours or more, you can apply to the airline for compensation. This includes monetary compensation as well as support services, such as hotel accommodation and food. However, the prerequisite is that the delay was caused by the airline. Depending on the kilometers flown, passengers receive 250 to 600 euros for the delay according to EU law. You can also be compensated for the connecting flight. However, this only applies if it was booked with the delayed flight. Costs can even be refunded for a missed connecting train – as long as the destination is reached at least three hours late.