How To Get Compensation When Your Flight Is Delayed or Canceled [2021]

Canceled Delayed Flight Board

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Flight delays and cancellations are regular occurrences in air travel. When one or the other happens, it’s important to understand your rights and what compensation you are entitled to as a result of a delay or cancellation.

The U.S. and European Union (EU) have different regulations and policies regarding delays and cancellations for passengers on flights to/from/within their respective countries. When you read through the U.S. and EU guidelines, you’ll notice that air travel involving the EU offers more passenger protection than what’s available in the U.S.

This article will outline when you’re entitled to compensation as a passenger, what rights you have, and credit cards that provide travel coverage when flight issues occur.

U.S. Domestic and International Flights

Aviation Consumer Protection
Having a grasp of the DOT’s Fly Rights will help make your flight problems less painful. Image Credit: U.S. Department of Transportation

Unlike the EU, the U.S. does not have an umbrella regulation protecting passengers with flight issues. While you don’t have as much protection in the U.S. as with the EU, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) does provide compensation in some instances including:

  • Delayed and canceled flights
  • Overbooking
  • Baggage damage, delays, and loss

Delayed and Canceled Flights

Delays or Cancellations that Don’t Require Compensation

Bad weather, air traffic delays, and mechanical issues can be difficult to predict and sometimes outside of the control of the airline. With that said, passengers are not required to be compensated by the airline if your flight is delayed or canceled for these bad weather, air traffic delays, or mechanical issues.

If you find yourself with a delayed flight due to one of these reasons, ask the original airline if it will pay for a ticket on another airline. The DOT does not require the airline to offer compensation, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

With no federal compensation requirement for delayed passengers, refer to the policies of the operating airline to determine what compensation the airline will offer. If a significant delay occurs, ask the airline if it will compensate you for meals during the delay.

If the airline doesn’t immediately offer you compensation for your meals or expenses incurred during the delay, you may be able to get reimbursed for expenses incurred under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention by filing a claim with the airline. If that claim is denied, you could also pursue reimbursement in court.

For travelers with a canceled flight, the airline should rebook you on its first flight with available space to your destination at no additional charge. If the rebooked flight requires a significant delay, ask the original airline if it will pay for a ticket on another airline.

Don’t want to do all of the paperwork?If you’d rather let experts do all the legwork and handle the stress for you, we recommend AirHelp, who can get you up to $700 in compensation.

Tarmac Delays

Another situation that may arise that does not require compensation is a tarmac delay on a domestic flight. These can occur before taking off or after landing.

The DOT prohibits most U.S. airlines from remaining on the tarmac for more than 3 hours unless one of the following occurs:

  • A safety or security risk occurs and the pilot determines the aircraft cannot taxi to the gate and deplane its passengers
  • Air traffic control determines that there would be significant interruptions in airport operations if it allowed the pilot to taxi to the gate or another location to deplane passengers

If you experience a tarmac delay on an international flight operated by a U.S. airline, the DOT time limits do not apply. Any time limits and/or corresponding protocols are set by the airlines.

U.S. airlines must provide passengers on domestic and international flights with food and water no later than 2 hours after a tarmac delay begins. The airline is required to keep the lavatories operable and medical attention must be available.


Woman Stressed with Luggage
Image Credit: David Prado Perucha via Shutterstock

Overbooking is a strategy airlines use to ensure a full flight and accounts for passenger “no-shows.” When a flight is overbooked, the DOT requires airlines to compensate for voluntary and involuntary bumped passengers.

To better understanding these definitions:

  • Voluntary bumping is when an airline asks passengers to voluntarily give up their seats in exchange for compensation
  • Involuntary bumping is when an airline bumps passengers against their will but still compensates the passengers

Voluntary Bumping

The DOT requires airlines to ask passengers if they are willing to give up their seats in exchange for compensation before involuntarily bumping passengers. If you agree to be voluntarily be bumped, the airline will book you on a later flight and will likely provide compensation in the form of vouchers.

Before agreeing to be bumped, ask the airline the following questions to ensure you know what you’re agreeing to:

  • When is the next flight that the airline is confirming your seat on?
  • Will the airline provide free meals, a hotel room, and/or transportation between the hotel and the airport to cover your costs incurred by agreeing to take a later flight?

It’s important to ask these questions because there is not a standard form or amount of compensation that the DOT mandates. Airlines have the flexibility to negotiate with prospective volunteers so you should know what you’re agreeing to before giving up your seat. If the airline offers a free flight or free transportation as compensation, ask if there are any restrictions when redeeming these forms of compensation.

Hot Tip: Check out these credit cards that come with trip delay insurance as one of their benefits and perks!

Involuntary Bumping

If you are involuntarily bumped, the DOT requires each airline to compensate involuntarily bumped passengers via check or cash. The amount you receive from the airline depends on the price of the ticket you purchased and the length of the delay.

Update: As of April 13, 2021, a new DOT ruling will take effect that indicates that passengers may not be involuntarily bumped once their “boarding pass has been collected or scanned and the passenger has boarded.”

The amount you will be compensation is determined by the following factors:

  • If you arrive at your destination within 1 hour of your original scheduled arrival time, you will not be compensated
  • If you arrive at your destination between 1 to 2 hours after your original arrival time, you will be compensated for 200% of your one-way ticket price or a $775 maximum
  • If you arrive at your domestic destination 2+ hours later than your original arrival time, international destination 4+ hours later than your original arrival time, or if the airline does not make substitute travel arrangements for you, you will be compensated for 400% of your one-way ticket price or a $1,550 maximum
  • If you’re on an award flight or bought a ticket through a consolidator, you will be compensated for the price of your same fare class for your flight
  • If you deny the airline’s rebooking flight and choose to book your own flight, you will be compensated for the price of the ticket you purchased
  • If you paid additional charges for seats, checked baggage, Wi-Fi, etc., and did not receive those services on your rebooked flight or were required to pay for those services again, you will be compensated for the price of those optional services

Unfortunately, there are conditions and exceptions to the compensation rules above. You will not be compensated if:

  • You do not have a confirmed reservation
  • You miss your check-in deadline
  • The airline must substitute a smaller plane than the one you booked
  • The flight has 30 to 60 seats and bumps you due to safety-related aircraft weight or balance constraints
  • You booked a chartered flight and are bumped
  • You booked a flight with fewer than 30 seats
  • You booked an international flight inbound to the U.S.

Lastly, if being bumped costs you more money than the airline will pay you at the airport, you can try to negotiate a higher reimbursement with the airline’s complaint department. If you decline the compensation and are unable to receive higher compensation from the airline’s complaint department, you can take the airline to court.

Baggage Damage, Delays, and Loss

Lost baggage
If your bags get lost while traveling, you might be eligible for reimbursement. Image Credit: pixelrain via Shutterstock

It’s happened to us all — your bag is damaged, delayed, or even lost. While this is frustrating, it’s helpful to know how you can be compensated when one of the following occurs to your luggage:

Damaged Bags

The following situations are likely to result in compensation for your damaged luggage:

  • If your luggage is smashed or torn, the airline will typically pay to repair the luggage
  • If the smashed or torn luggage can’t be repaired, the airline will negotiate a settlement to pay you the depreciated value of your luggage
  • If items inside your luggage are damaged as a result of the airline’s negligence, the airline might be liable for those damages

Delayed Bags

The following situations may result in compensation if your bags are delayed:

  • If your luggage is delayed and you incur expenses for items that are missing, you will have to negotiate with the airline to pay for what you and the airline agree are “reasonable expenses”
  • If the airline does not provide you a cash advance, it may still reimburse you later for the purchase of necessities
  • If sporting equipment is delayed, the airline will sometimes pay for the rental of replacement equipment
  • If clothing or other articles are delayed, the airline might offer to compensate you for only a portion of the purchase cost
  • If an emergency situation occurs, most airlines have guidelines that allow their airport employees to compensate you for emergency purchases
  • If food or perishable goods are ruined as a result of your luggage being delayed, the airline will not reimburse you

It’s important to keep in mind that if the airline is found liable for consequential damages, the airline’s liability limit is currently $3,500 per passenger on domestic flights and approximately $1,545 for international round-trip flights that originate in the U.S.

Lost Bags

If your luggage is lost, you should submit a claim to initiate the compensation negotiation process. In the situation where you flew 2 airlines involving a connection, the final airline is traditionally responsible for processing your claim.

When you start the claims process, keep in mind that the airline is not required to pay you the full amount on your claim.

The claims process follows this generally timeline:

  1. First, the airline will use the information on your claims form to estimate the value of your lost belongings (up to a maximum of $3,500). It will determine the depreciated value of your belongings, not their original price or the replacement costs.
  2. Next, the airline will take between 4 weeks to 3 months to compensate you for your lost luggage.
  3. Lastly, the airline will pay you a settlement in the form of a cash payment or a free airline ticket in an amount that may be greater than the cash payment.

Bottom Line:
Every passenger’s situation is unique. If you find that your flight is canceled or delayed, your bag has been damaged, delayed, or lost, or the flight is overbooked, we recommend that you read the DOT’s Consumer Guide to Air Travel to familiarize yourself with the rules. 

Credit Cards That Offer Compensation or Insurance

Paying for flights or just the taxes and fees on award flights with the right credit card can alleviate many of the problems noted above.

Rewards cards are a powerful resource to ensure you’re compensated fairly for problems that occur both within and outside of the airline’s control.

Hot Tip: We recommend digging into this in-depth article on credit cards with trip cancellation and interruption coverage to see which card would suit you best.

We recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because if your trip is canceled for a covered reason, you or a covered immediate family member could be reimbursed for the non-refundable amount of your trip. The limit for each coverage is $10,000 per occurrence.

See our other top picks for trip delay insurance:

EU Departing or Domestic Flights

European Country Post
Knowing your rights as a passenger in Europe can ensure you are compensated fairly. Image Credit: Jason Winter via Shutterstock

EU Legislation 261/2004 is the regulation you’ll turn to with issues traveling to/from/within the EU. The regulation establishes rules and a compensation structure for passengers who experience travel issues like denied boarding or flight delays.

As a passenger on flights to/from/within the EU, the passenger rights apply if:

  • Your flight is within the EU and operated by an EU or non-EU airline
  • Your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline
  • Your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline

The EU covers 27 countries, including special territories like the Azores and the Canary Islands and several non-EU European countries like Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

If you experience flight issues to/from/within the EU, the EU passenger rights do not apply if:

  • Your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by a non-EU airline
  • You have received benefits for flight-related problems under the laws of a non-EU country

Speaking of Europe, check out the best ways to fly to Europe with points and miles.

Need to make a claim?: You could get up to $700 in compensation for a flight delay or cancellation.

Denied Boarding

If you arrive at your flight on time with the correct boarding documents, but you’re denied boarding due to overbooking or operational reasons and you don’t voluntarily give up your seat, you are entitled to all of the following:

  • Compensation
  • A choice between rerouting, reimbursement, or rebooking
  • Assistance

Compensation for denied boarding is as follows:

  • For flights less than 1,500 kilometers: €250 (~$300)
  • For flights more than 1,500 kilometers within the EU: €400 (~$475)
  • For flights between 1,500 and 3,000 kilometers: €400 (~$475)
  • For flights over 3,000 kilometers: €600 (~$715)

It’s important to know that your compensation may be reduced by 50% if you are rerouted by the airline and arrive at your destination within 2 to 4 hours of your originally scheduled arrival. However, if you meet the qualifications above, you should always receive compensation.

Hot Tip: The airline must also offer compensation in the case of a missed connection — for example, if the airline denied you boarding on your first flight, causing you to miss your second flight.

If you are connecting on a different airline, airlines are not required to provide compensation if a delay on the first flight causes you to miss your connection. However, if your first flight is delayed for more than 3 hours, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline that caused the delay.

In addition to compensation, the airline must offer you a choice between:

  • Reimbursement of your ticket and a return flight to your departure airport if you have a connecting flight
  • Rerouting to your final destination
  • Rerouting at a later date under comparable transportation conditions

Once you have chosen the option that is best for you, you no longer have rights to the other 2 options. However, the airline may still be required to compensate you:

  • If the airline does not provide rerouting or comparable return transportation to your departure airport, the airline is required to reimburse your flight cost
  • If the airline unilaterally reimburses your flight cost and does not offer a choice between reimbursement or rerouting, you are entitled to the price difference of the new flight cost
  • If you booked separate outbound and inbound flights with different airlines and the outbound flight is canceled, you will only be reimbursed for the cost of the canceled flight

If the outbound and return flights are operated by different airlines but part of the same reservation and the outbound flight was canceled, you have the right to compensation and choice between:

  • Reimbursement of your entire ticket
  • Rerouting on another flight for the outbound flight.

Assistance is another item you are entitled if you’re denied boarding. “Assistance” provided by the airline includes:

  • Refreshments
  • Food
  • Accommodation if your flight requires an overnight stay
  • Transportation to/from your accommodation
  • 2 phone calls, text messages, or emails

If the airline does not provide assistance and you pay for these expenses out-of-pocket, the airline is required to reimburse you as long as the expenses were necessary, reasonable, and appropriate.

Hot Tip:
If the airline doesn’t pay your out-of-pocket expenses for assistance items directly, consider using the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. This credit card earns 5x points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3x points on other travel and dining purchases. Since the airline is required to reimburse you, not only will you be reimbursed, but you’ll also earn 3x points on those purchases.

Canceled Flights

When a flight cancellation occurs, you are entitled to the same 3 rights as if you were denied boarding:

  • Compensation
  • A choice between rerouting, reimbursement, or rebooking
  • Assistance

The airline is required to compensate you for a canceled flight if you were notified less than 14 days before your original scheduled departure date. However, compensation is not required if the airline proves that extraordinary circumstances (e.g., weather) caused the cancellation.

Here’s yet another wrinkle! If your flight is canceled, you are not entitled to compensation if:

  • You are informed more than 14 days in advance
  • You are informed between 2 weeks and 7 days before the scheduled departure and you are offered re-routing that would allow you to:
    • Depart no more than 2 hours before the originally scheduled departure time, and
    • Reach your final destination less than 4 hours after the originally scheduled arrival time
  • You are informed less than 7 days before the scheduled departure and you are offered re-routing that would allow you to:
    • Depart no more than 1 hour before the originally scheduled departure time, and
    • Reach your final destination less than 2 hours after the originally scheduled arrival time

Delayed Flight

When a flight delay occurs, you are entitled to assistance and a choice between rerouting, reimbursement, or rebooking.

If you arrive at your destination more than 3 hours after your scheduled arrival time, you are entitled to the same reimbursement, rerouting, and rebooking structure as a denied boarding.

Hot Tip:
Before you get stranded in the airport with a delayed/canceled flight, consider applying for a credit card that provides lounge access like the Amex Business Platinum card or the Amex Platinum card.

Lost, Damaged, or Delayed Luggage

If the luggage you checked is lost, damaged, or delayed, you are entitled up to €1,300 (~$1,550) in compensation from the airline. However, if the damage was caused by a product defect, you are not entitled to compensation.

The airline is also responsible for any damage it caused to your carry-on item.

If you decide to file a claim for your luggage, do so in writing to the airline within 7 days or within 21 days if your luggage was delayed in getting back to you. You need to file the claim directly with the airline, as there is no standard EU form to use.

Middle East, Africa, or Asia Flights

Airlines that operate out of the Middle East (like Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways), Africa (like Ethiopian or South African Airways), or Asia (like ANA, Cathay Pacific, or Singapore Airlines) are not required to compensate passengers like the airlines regulated by the DOT and EU.

With that said, consider using a company like AirHelp or Service to receive compensation. Each company has pros and cons, so research each company to determine which 1 aligns best with your needs.

How To File a Complaint

Signing a contract
Understanding the process of filing a complaint will ensure your situation is evaluated properly. Image Credit: PhuShutter via Shutterstock

Filing a claim depends on your specific situation, which is why it’s important to read through the U.S. rights and EU rights.

U.S. Domestic and International Flights

If you find yourself in a situation needing to request compensation, follow these steps:

  1. First, start with the airline agents at the airport. The airline agents should help provide you with your rights and the process to file for compensation.
  2. Next, reach out to the airline’s social media team to explain your situation. Airlines have social media teams ready to respond and react when the airline is mentioned. Some airlines are more responsive than others, so don’t lose hope if the airline isn’t quick to respond. Passengers have noted that Twitter seems to be the social media platform most utilized by airlines.
  3. Last, contact the claims department of the airline from which you purchased your ticket. Explain your situation and ask the department what the process is to submit a claim for reimbursement.

EU Departing or Domestic Flights

The EU provides more protections for its passengers. If you need to file a claim for reimbursement, follow these steps:

  1. First, file a complaint with the airline using the EU-wide air passenger rights complaint form.
  2. Second, file a complaint with the relevant national airline authority in the country where the incident occurred if either of the following applies. The national airline authority should provide you with a non-binding legal opinion on how to proceed with your claim.
    1. You don’t receive a reply from the airline within 2 months
    2. You are not satisfied with the reply from the airline and feel that your EU air passenger rights were not respected
  3. Third, file a dispute via an out-of-court procedure or an alternative dispute resolution. If you bought your ticket online, you can submit your complaint via Online Dispute Resolution. Alternative dispute resolution and Online Dispute Resolution are only open to EU residents.
  4. Lastly, file a claim for compensation in the European Small Claims court in the country where the incident occurred.

For help and advice related to your rights, contact your local European Consumer Center.

Final Thoughts

Understanding your rights as a passenger is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you’re compensated fairly. Reading through the applicable policies can be very beneficial since passengers’ rights on EU vs. U.S. flights are significantly different.

Credit cards can also be an important component of your compensation strategy. Taking advantage of 3-hour delay reimbursements will save you money, time, and a headache.

Though delays are always frustrating, knowing that out-of-pocket expenses will be covered can make the problem seem much more manageable.

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How to Get Compensated if Your Flight is Delayed or Cancelled

Frequently asked questions

How long does a flight have to be delayed for compensation?

For flights to/from/within the EU, if you arrive at your destination more than 3 hours after your scheduled arrival time, you are entitled to the same reimbursement, rerouting, and rebooking structure as a denied boarding.

For flights within the U.S., if you are delayed on the tarmac for more than 3 hours, you are entitled to compensation per the DOT guidelines.

Can I claim for delayed luggage?

For flights to/from/within the EU, if the luggage you checked is lost, damaged, or delayed, you are entitled up to €1,300 (~$1,550) in compensation from the airline.

For flights within the US, the airline has a liability limit of $3,500 (adjusted every 2 years for inflation) for baggage that is delayed, damaged, or lost on domestic flights.

What happens if you miss a connecting flight because of a delay?

For flights to/from/within the EU, if you arrive at your destination due to a missed connection more than 3 hours after your scheduled arrival time, you are entitled to the same reimbursement, rerouting, and rebooking structure as a denied boarding.

For flights within the U.S., if your delay on the tarmac causes you to miss a connection that results in you arriving at your destination more than 3 hours after your original arrival time, you are entitled to compensation per the DOT guidelines. For non-tarmac caused delays, the compensation rules are set by each airline.

What do I do if my flight is canceled?

For flights to/from/within the EU, when a flight cancellation occurs, you are entitled to the same 3 rights as if you were denied boarding:

  • Compensation
  • A choice between rerouting, reimbursement, or rebooking
  • Assistance

For flights within the U.S., when a flight cancellation occurs, each airline sets its own compensation rules.

Michael McHugh

About Michael McHugh

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn't travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since. Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend's phone about a mistake fare.  That's where the love affair with points and miles began.

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  1. I’ve had a case flying from Paris to Budapest where Transavia canceled my flight and tried to get around the EU regulations by saying they had an adjustment to their flight schedule so they don’t have to compensate me.


    • Hi Bo

      I would recommend using the “Check Your Rights” option here to determine the compensation option available for your specific situation.


      • Jenny Dang July 14, 2019

        We were on delayed 4 hrs and 40 mins by JetBlue from long beach to San Jose. They experienced fog in the morning and delayed flights for an hour but then they couldn’t get the pilot from Salt Lake City to Long Beach so they had to get an on-call pilot. How much compensation will Chase or JetBlue provide?


        • Hi Jenny,

          Which Chase card did you book with? The Chase Sapphire Reserves trip delay insurance requires a 6-hour delay, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred requires a 12-hour delay. AS for JetBlue, passengers are not required to be compensated by the airline if your flight is delayed or canceled for bad weather, air traffic delays, or mechanical issues. Being that fog would classify as bad weather, Jetblue is not required to compensate you for the delay.

          With that said, you could still try and reach out to their customer service line to see if they would be willing to make a gesture of goodwill given that your delay was quite long.

          Thanks for reading!


    • Ralph Pluer April 24, 2019

      My wife and I were flying through Iceland on Icelandair and had one of the free stopovers for 2 days. We were to leave on April 13th and our flight was cancelled due to high winds. We did not leave until April 18. Icelandair flights were leaving from the 14th on. Icelandair has their claim form and a European form both on their site, which do I use? The European says 600E the Icelandair has a daily reimbursement amount. If I submit a European claim is it 600E per day or per claim? Do I submit for the 4 days with good weather or the whole 5 day delay? Any information would be helpful.


      • Hi Ralph. Sorry for your trip experience. I would file a claim with the airline and include all of the 5 day delay. The EU compensation is 600 Euro per claim, not per day. If the airline does not respond to your satisfaction, follow the steps in the article to pursue your claim further.


        • We were in Saint Lucia for 11 days, used Delta Airlines. Arrived at terminal 3+ hours. All was good, the plane did load, pulled from the gate, and realized a mechanical problem with the plane. Sat on the plane while they attempted to fix. Notified us part not available in Saint Lucia, will have repaired in MORNING. Provide us with transportation and hotel hour and a half away from the airport. We were then notified the part would not arrive until 3:45 p.m. the next day and would TRY to take off at 7 p.m., a 28-hour delay. Delta would have no connection flight for us in the U.S. until the following morning arriving home Monday afternoon. Husband attorney, owner in firm had to be back working Monday morning. I am self-employed and needed back to work too, had issues with the house and dog sitter not being able to stay additional days. Bought a ticket with American Airlines to get back Sunday night, still 24 hours behind schedule. What compensation can I get? Reimbursement of original unused tickets? Double baggage fee of $60? Saint Lucia staff would not even discuss with us but have Delta email and all paperwork to support the chain of events.


          • Hi Shawn, sorry for your experience. As mentioned in the article, passengers are not required to be compensated by the airline if their flight is delayed or canceled for bad weather, air traffic delays, or mechanical issues. However, you should certainly write to Delta and ask for the ticket reimbursement and baggage fees. Additionally, you might try filing a claim with your credit card company (the one with which you paid for the trip) if Delta does not provide any compensation.

  2. Booked a flight for my friend from Europe, used miles for her flight tomorrow. Do these rules apply to miles usage too from Europe to US and vice versa?


    • Hi Maria

      The EU passenger rights will apply if the flight is departing from Europe. If the flight is departing from the U.S. to Europe and operated by an EU airline, the EU passenger rights apply. If the flight is departing from the U.S. to Europe and not operate by an EU airline, the U.S. DOT rules apply.


      • Hi there,
        My flight was delayed by American airlines for mechanical issues from san francisco, California to key west, Florida. I could not make the connection in miami, so we arrived in key west the next day. They did pay for hotel that night but I lost one day from my vacation. Would they compensate? Thank you


        • Hi Viki,

          Passengers are not required to be compensated by the airline if your flight is delayed or canceled for bad weather, air traffic delays, or mechanical issues. If you prefer, you can still submit a claim for compensation with American Airlines, but keep in mind they are not required to do so.

          Thanks for reading!


  3. Hey Michael, does the trip delay from credit card consider inbound and outbound flight as two different trips?
    Also, do they consider infant as passenger as well? Does that mean infant is also eligible for credit card compensation?


    • Hi Henry

      Per the language on the Chase website, trip delay insurance covers:
      – Cardholder
      – Cardholder’s spouse or domestic partner
      – Dependent children under age 22

      As far as coverage amount, the language states coverage:
      – Up to $500 for each purchased ticket
      – Coverage is limited to one covered hazard per trip

      The way that I understand the coverage is that if you booked two one-way tickets, the $500 covers each segment (inbound and abound). Regarding infants, the terms state dependent children under the age of 22 are covered.


  4. Hi,
    I had a flight with Norwegian airline from Helsinki to Oakland (California) via London Gatwick. My connecting flight (London-Oakland) was delayed more than 3h due to aircraft problems. The Norwegian airline is an EU airline but the delay happened in London airport. Given that UK is not part of EU, is the “EU complaint form” that you kindly uploaded under the “How to File a Complaint” title works?


  5. Hey Michael,
    Thanks for the great information.
    I have a question regarding my flight from Seattle to Munich via Detroit. I bought my ticket through KLM but the operating airline was Delta. I had a delay of more than 5 hours in Seattle. After 5 hours and 30 min we were able to take a Delta flight to Munich via Paris. Is it still possible to claim a compensation under European rights through KLM or what compensation would Delta offer me in that case? How would you recommend I pursue this matter?
    Thanks so much in advance.


    • Hey Stefan,

      We would recommend going through KLM AND Delta. If you explore both ways, you’ll have a higher chance of getting it right the first time.


  6. Hi,
    Can you please tell me if I would be eligible for compensation in this case:
    I purchased 2 separate flights. My flight out of Kishenev, Moldova to Istanbul, Turkey was delayed by an hour and a half. The airline was Turkish Airlines. The delay caused me to be late for check in by 10-15 min for our next flight out of Istanbul to Dan Francisco. We were denied check in and boarding, missing our flight, and having to rebook different tickets for the following morning (at over $1000 out of pocket). We also spent the night at a nearby hotel and incurred expenses there also. I booked both flights through Expedia. Any luck for me being able to get back the money we spent for having to change our flight? Who do I contact? Expedia? Or Turkish Airlines because of their delay? Are they part of the EU? Any insight would be helpful. Thank you.


    • Hi Albina

      Did you put this expense on a credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that provides trip delay reimbursement? If not, it will be up to the airline, not any third party like Expedia, to refund your out-of-pocket spend.


  7. Mingbih Hsu November 5, 2018

    Our trip was delayed by 12hrs due to weather, then routes changed completely but our luggage was stuck with the original route.

    Everything would have been ok if it were just one or two days delayed but we later realized no one was addressing our delayed luggage (in Chicago by United) for 3 days after the 2 days of delay. Through social media, finally we got United’s attention and our luggage is coming our way to Asia after 5 total days of delay.

    My questions are: Do we only file a claim with United? Will the airline pay all the reasonable expenses?! I used my CSR to pay the airfare, so do I also qualify for $100/day for up to 5 days of luggage insurance? Do I only file a claim with CSR after unpaid charges from the airline?!


    • Hi Mingbih

      I’d file the claim with Chase being that you used your CSR for the flight. Chase has been good to me about reimbursements on items like this. For example, I booked a flight with my CSP that caused an overnight stay. 6-8 weeks after filing the claim I received $500 in compensation.


      • You have to file with both the airline that provided the last leg of the itinerary on which the baggage was delayed AND Chase. Chase will only pay a difference between $100/day (their maximum) up to 5 days and whatever your airline gives you. Unfortunately, compared to Amex, all Chase insurance programs suck big time. Prepare to fight.


        • Hello Gene. The Chase delayed baggage coverage is minimal but it does provide reimbursement for emergency essential purchases if your baggage is delayed more than 6 hours. You must use your Chase credit card when paying for the flight and the $100 in coverage per day is in excess of what the airline/other insurance pays. Thanks for your comment.


    • How much time is needed to claim compensation?


      • Hey @compenso – we’re a bit confused on the question here. Are you asking how quickly you should file the claim or are you asking how long it will take to receive the compensation if your claim is approved?


  8. Hi, My connection flight was delayed in Atlanta due to weather in New york, due that fact I missed my flight in New york and had to stay from friday noon till satarday night in the air port, do I deserve some compenstaion?


    • Hi Jonn. Unfortunately, any time weather is involved the airlines don’t do much in terms of compensation. That is sort of their “out” from having to provide anything to passengers. You can always try and ask for something since you were delayed overnight, but the airline will likely deny the request because it was “out of their control”.


  9. When the airline gives a (useless…) coupon code to use on their flights after a cancellation, are we still eligible to claim compensation ?


    • Hi Michel. It depends. Receiving a coupon code that allows you to select an online amenity option such as miles, for example, or a $50 voucher towards a future flight does not automatically exclude you from asking for additional compensation. You may, however, be informed when you select that coupon option that you give up any claim for additional compensation. There are applicable compensation rules that differ, of course, depending on your flight. For example EU compensation will apply in some cases even if you select a coupon option and you may receive no compensation at all for a weather cancellation in the U.S. With that said, you are not precluded from asking for additional compensation.


  10. HI Michael, I stocked Dulles Airport close to 48 hours without any compensation. My United Airlines flight has delayed (maintenance issue than has changed to weather according to UA App) and I missed my connection to Istanbul.They gave me a ticket for the same flight the next day and when I was checking in and found out that the ticket doesn’t exist. Then they gave same ticket the day later. I spent hundreds of dollars to go there 2 days early but I could make it 2 days later. So what are my rights for that? I also found out this happens quite often. How can I know my ticket from United Airlines is real?


    • Hi Maggie, that unfortunately sounds like a very complex situation with a lot of different factors. I’d recommend getting in contact with United Airlines directly, or going through a service like AirHelp who can do all the legwork for you, for a fee (if you get a claim).


  11. Last Sunday my flight was delayed for weather condition, about 2 hours of delay. The airline offered me a voucher of $50 for each passengers that bought a ticket, but not for my daughter because she is an infant and she didn’t pay. Is this correct?
    Before the trip, I subscribed to AIG insurance with a benefit of $500 per insured in case of trip delay. Can I request the benefit even if my fight on Sunday was the inbound and not the outbound flight? Thanks, Francesca


    • Hi Francesca! Sorry you were delayed, especially when traveling with your young daughter. The airlines (here in the U.S.) are not required to provide compensation for most weather delays so the voucher was a gesture of goodwill. And yes, normally only ticketed passengers receive this. Regarding the AIG insurance, you should definitely file a claim. I am not sure if both of your flights were on the same ticket for which you purchased the insurance but the worst that can happen is that they say no.


  12. Paul Braude December 8, 2018

    Please advise. Flight schedules for 11:25 now delayed until 3:30pm probably they are getting a new plane. The engine was hit by a truck driving and now unsafe to fly. Everyone is off the plane. Current compensation is a $21 meal voucher. Stuck in boston any help or advice would be great.


    • Hi Paul

      As I understand the US rules, you are not entitled to compensation by the airline for this delay. I would advise going the credit card route, assuming you booked this flight with a credit card that provides delay insurance.


  13. I had the first leg of a domestic American Airlines flight that was canceled due to crew availability. I was rescheduled on a flight that got me in the next morning, about 5 hours after I was originally schuedled to get in. In addition to this delay I ended up traveling for a total of about 9 hours instead of 6 hours. Does anyone know if I am entitied to any compensation? Also, I asked for an upgrade, but ended up just paying for 5x 500mi upgrades ($200) as customer service did not reply to me in time.


  14. Hello. Today I received and email that my flight from LAX to Amsterdam with connection in Iceland, operated my WOW Airline, was canceled “due to unforeseen circumstances”. My flight is still 3 weeks out. Am I owed any compensation? Or because of the time frame are they in the clear? Thank you.


    • Hey Oscar,

      Because the notice was given longer than 2 weeks in advance of the flight, you are not owed any compensation. We are sorry you have to experience this inconvenience, but it’s simply the nature of the beast when it comes to aviation. Hope this helps!


  15. i had the connecting flight from atlanta to chicago with united airlines which was delayed due to the weather in chicago and because of that i didn’t make it on the plane to poland. i called them and was told over the phone that they rebooked my flight and that they will cover for my hotel since it was 1am and the flight was at 2pm, all i had to do was talk to customers service at the airport. so i did and i was told that they can’t do anything and i that they will not cover my stay at the hotel nor i will provided any food or water. i arrived at my destination with 20h delay. do i deserve some compensation?


  16. Alexander Azrour January 14, 2019

    Hi Michael,
    I had a return flight from Orlando to Copenhagen via Toronto with Air Canada. The flight was first delayed and then cancelled due to technical problems. We had spent almost 10 hours at Orlando Airport before the airline put us in hotel for the night and rebooked us on a flight back with more stopovers than the original flight. It literally took us 3 days to get back home.
    We had filed a complaint through the website as it is the only option and still have not heard from the airline. They have sent us an E-coupon to redeem for a future flight with Air Canada;) (That is not an option considering the lousy service) What are our options to get the compensation and which Bill of Right would apply in this case EU or US?
    In the past we had a similar situation with Etihad and it was handled in the most professional way. Hotel booking for the night, Meals vouchers, rebooking on a similar flight and similar itinerary and vouchers for 600 Euros for each flight ticket that was deposited into my bank account within two weeks. Top notch airline.


    • Hi Alexander,

      What a nightmare 🙁 Sorry to hear about that, delays and cancelations are zero fun…but I’m glad the airline issued those vouchers. Your best bet, IMO, regarding compensation is to use a service like Airhelp who will give you a pretty quick answer to your question. Hope that helps.


  17. Xavier Brown January 18, 2019

    I bought 3 award tickets with my miles for my family EZE /CDG flight has arrived with 4h:58min delay. My final destination is AGP and now have to wait 8h for connecting flight am I entitled to compensation? If so, what compensation should I get?


    • Hi Xavier,

      I’m sorry to hear about your delay. The fastest way to find out if you’re entitled to compensation is to use a service like AirHelp. You only pay if you’re eligible for compensation, so there’s no harm in trying. Those guys will know! Good luck!


  18. I had some issues with Turkish Airlines a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if EU 261 will give me rights to compensation during my delay from Budapest (EU-country) -> Istanbul (connection flight) -> Bangkok.

    Istanbul to Bangkok was 6h delayed.

    From what I understand, I should be given a 600 euro compensation. From “Frequently Asked Questions on Air Passenger Rights” ( “Compensation may also be payable for long delays of connecting flights to third countries with stopovers outside the EU. This was confirmed by the Court of Justice of the EU in the case of Claudia Wegener v Royal Air Maroc SA, C-537/17. In this case, the Court decided that, in the circumstances, flights from Berlin to Casablanca and then from Casablanca to Agadir should be treated as a single connecting flight and therefore within the scope of the Regulation.”

    Am I correct to say I should have EU rights even though a have a delay at a non-EU airport?


    • Hi Christian,

      Thanks for reading. Your conditions should meet the criteria as listed on EU 261. Please contact the appropriate authorities to begin your compensation claim. Good luck!


  19. trying to figure this complicated situation out….

    Booked Route: CPH-BEG-JFK on Air Serbia

    Route Taken: CPH-CDG-JFK on Air France

    I was supposed to fly the booked route but the Air Serbia plane from CPH-BEG was delayed by 2 hours and I only had a 1 hour connection in BEG thus I would be missing the connecting flight.

    The Air Serbia flight from BEG-JFK only flies every other day.

    Given that I would miss the connection, Air Serbia puts me on Air France connecting through CDG with a 40 minute connection. It takes me 45 minutes to get through customs, let alone run to another concourse.

    I miss the flight and AF puts me up at the Holiday Inn-CDG overnight and I catch an AF flight to JFK the next morning.

    Is EU261 possible here? If so, who is responsible…Air Serbia? Air France? This is the first time this has ever happened so I did not get a reason for the CPH-BEG delay. Does this matter?


    • Hi AJR

      You’re right. This is unique and complicated for sure!

      If you’re unable to find an answer via a combination of research and the article, please let me know and I’ll dig into it to help out.


  20. Jagadeesh Patil March 10, 2019

    Trying to find if I am eligible for single compensation or double compensation.

    I booked a flight from Bangalore to Paris to Chicago to MN. My flight in Bangalore was delayed and then canceled due to a technical issue. Airline re-booked me for next day through Bangalore to Delhi to Amsterdam to MN.
    Next day’s flight in Delhi was delayed by 1 hour and took different air route to reach Amsterdam. It was delayed by more than 3 hours. Due to this, I missed my connecting flight from Amsterdam to MN. I was re-booked after 5 hours delay in Amsterdam.

    My first inbound flight to Paris was cancelled. So I am eligible for compensation as per EU law. But my question is, again my flight from Amsterdam to MN was delayed by more than 5 hours. So Am I eligible for double compensation?
    Note: I don’t think it as greedy as I went through many challenges during this travel. I was travelling with 2 small kids and the 2 year old small kid was not feeling well. My flight was around 22 to 24 hours but we spent more than 2 and half days due to cancellation and delays.


  21. American canceled our flight from Jacksonville on 3/16/19 and stranded us in FL for 2 more days, telling us nothing was available until Monday (Not concerned about what we do in the interim.) They let us know this at 6am for 1:15pm flight and now we’ll miss a family function on Sunday. What should we do to get compensation?


    • Hey JJ,

      Unfortunately, US regulations do not mandate compensation in this instance. The best thing you can do is reach out to American Airlines and ask for a “goodwill gesture” of a certificate or miles.


  22. Veronika K April 10, 2019


    we got a flight delay (> 3 hours) in 2018 on our flight with Turkish airlines when frying from Istanbul to New Delhi. We submitted the claim for compensation via an online ‘claim processing’ company and no surprise, our claim was not accepted (non-EU flight..but we still tried). Just few days ago, we received an update from this company, stating that the EC regulations got updated and we can retry to claim the compensation, whose amount has increased to 1200 eur (from original 600 eur). However, I am unable to find any kind of information concerning this update on the web. Is this true, or is it some fraud/false info..? Thanks for any help…



  23. Belcore Deborah May 19, 2019

    So we are all just SOL when dealing with an Asian carrier? Japan AirLine has repeatedly denied my request to refund half the FF miles (or any cash compensation) used to book their NRT-ORD flight (mechanical delay of 6 hours). Even though Alaska Air says it would be “industry standard” to receive compensation for such a long delay. They filed a report on my behalf – but it really doesnt go anywhere. Article 19 says airlines are not liable if they “took measures to prevent the delay…”???? I would never assume that arriving 6 hours late to my destination is what I’m agreeing to in a contract of carriage, but there seems no recourse that I can find:-(.


  24. Hi,
    I had a flight booked with Caribbean Airlines and they denied me entrance claiming I needed a yellow fever vaccination. After speaking to the manager I was then told that the flight had been closed (35min early) and that they could not reopen the door.
    Two days later, after much calling and pursuing the airline agents at the airport I arrived at my final destination.

    The agents told me to contact the main office since they could not further help. On Social media, the airline however keeps on sending the same message that they are looking into the matter.



    • Catherine Luther June 19, 2019

      Hi Nancy,

      If you haven’t done so already, you should send your complaint by email to the airline and keep a record of your communication. According to the Department of Transport, an airline should be acknowledging your complaint within 30 days and addressing the issue within 60 days. If they fail to do this, then you can file a consumer complaint to the DOT.


  25. Ketan Gada July 1, 2019

    Hi there,

    My 4-month-old son and my mother-in-law were due to fly from UK to India via Air India. The flight was delayed while they were waiting to board at the gate and were notified only 1-2 hours before scheduled take-off. They were later put in a hotel near the airport and provided lunch and dinner and only managed to fly the next morning. Overall, a delay of 20+ hours on scheduled arrival time.

    The reason they provided was “technical problem” – that is all. However, there were rumors that another Air India flight going to US had a security issue and had to be grounded in the UK, and since the crew on that flight was overworked, they couldn’t continue the journey to the US.

    Apart from the delay, there was an overbooking of the meal my mother in law ordered, so she couldn’t get a proper meal and the flight staff had no resolution for this except giving her couple of apples.

    All the more frustrating is this was my 4 month old’s first flight ever and we were nervous as the last thing we wanted was a 20-hour delay.

    How can I go about claiming compensation?


    • Hi Ketan,

      I am very sorry to hear that your son and mother in law had a negative experience. Have you spoken with Air India about this situation? If not, I would advise you to reach out to the airline’s social media team to explain your situation. Airlines have social media teams ready to respond and react when the airline is mentioned. Some airlines are more responsive than others so don’t lose hope if the airline isn’t quick to respond.

      You can also contact the claims department of the airline from which you purchased your ticket. Explain your situation and ask the department what the process is to submit a claim for reimbursement.

      I hope this helps!


      • Hi Jarrod – Thanks for the response. I’ve contacted Air India for compensation however it has been rejected on the grounds of “Force Majeure” – the staff of the above mentioned airline was moved to a different flight which was delayed due to a bomb scare and that flight’s crew had to be given mandatory rest.

        Any advise or pointers?


        • Hi Ketan,

          If Air India has denied your request for compensation on grounds that are stated in their terms and conditions, then, unfortunately, there is no other recourse for you to take. I am sorry again that you had to deal with what I can only imagine was a very frustrating situation.


  26. Thank you for this information.

    I am sure the airlines have powerful lobbyists in order to get legislation that favored them.


  27. The AA flight was delayed due to crew rest and caused us to miss our connecting flight.
    An AA staff at the airport customer service that day, suggested to fly to Tampa and rent a car to drive to Orlando, she informed us that AA will reimburse our car rental fee.
    We later learned that’s not in the AA policy.
    I am very disappointed in the AA customer service and AA policy your staff received that led to my loss of time and money.
    It is unacceptable for your staff to state a policy that AA does not have leading me to rent a car, an out of pocket expense ($115), that I was told would be reimbursed by AA.


    • Hi Cindy,
      I’m sorry that you had that experience. However, we are not American Airlines. We are Upgraded Points — a points and miles travel blog. I would suggest contacting American Airlines directly to see if you can get any compensation. Good Luck!


  28. Miguel Ramos October 3, 2019


    My flight was cancelled due to pilot being sick and no additional pilot available until following day. This was a returning flight from Madrid back to Los Angeles and no forehand notice until 2 hours from take off. Accommodations were given and was given a flight the next morning more than 9 hours from original departure time. I would like to know what are the chances of receiving compensation as I know EU has more compensation opportunities.


  29. Duane Reade October 29, 2019

    Has anyone filed a claim with AirHelp and had the airline pay you instead of AirHelp? As a US based passenger and since they’re based in the UK, can I ignore their “legal warnings?” Their letters to the airline state that payments made directly to the passenger are “invalid.”


    • Hello!

      We don’t recommend that you ignore the legal warnings on AirHelp regardless of your country of residence. In authorizing AirHelp to get airline compensation for you, you contractually owe them the 35-50% fee that is taken from the compensation you’re paid. We recommend filing the EU261 claim on your own if you’d like to avoid this fee.




  30. Ariel Mielnik March 13, 2020

    With all these flights canceled because of the virus, what should we do?
    My flight from Buenos Aires to Paris and from Paris to Tel Aviv (it’s where I live, so it’s my way back) were canceled. The company is Air France. I followed your links and the smalls claims and online claims (points n 3 and 4) are only for Europeans. I’m not there yet for point n 2. What can I do if I live in Israel?
    The point n 1 I could fill it but where do I submit it?
    Thanks in advance.


  31. My return flight on AirNewZealand to San Francisco, CA from Auckland, NZ in April was canceled due to NZ closing its borders because of Covid19. I am grateful that I’ve been in a safe place, but I need to return to the USA. My original round trip ticket was purchased in CA, USA, and was a discount rate and has the following notation on the receipt: NONEND/NONREF/NZONLY. The AirNZ website tool says I need to make a phone call, and the wait times are terrible. Can you tell me if this code means that AirNZ will provide a credit only, even though it was purchased in the USA? I am confused since it was purchased in the USA and I thought I am entitled to a refund.


  32. I purchased with Amex Plat through Amex Travel. My flight got delayed for 12 hours within US and no compensation.


  33. Kylene Roth June 17, 2021

    I received an email notification 24 hours before my international return flight home that my flight was cancelled, I needed to rebook. The first available flight was two days away, necessitating 2 nights lodging, meals, and 3 additional covid tests for my travel party to be within the acceptable 72-hour window. We were offered nothing. I had also used miles and had upgraded emergency exit row seats on the flight that was cancelled. In order to rebook and choose any seat, I had to again use my miles; however, they were not the exit row seats. We also had to miss work and could not contact clients and advise them of the situation. I have attempted to contact American Airlines but have not received any response.


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