Liability for damage caused by delayed flight

You may have the right to damages paid by the airline for the losses caused by a delayed flight. Find out about the situations in which you can claim damages, for which costs and how much.

If you suffer damages as a result of a delay, you can claim damages. You only have the right to damages for costs that you can prove, including a hotel room or a rail ticket that you could not use because of the delay. Damages will not be paid for distress and inconvenience.

Be prepared to prove the damage incurred, for example with receipts. You should claim damages from the airline in writing as soon as possible.

How much can you get in damages and for what?

The amount of damages is determined individually based on the actual caused to you as a result of the delayed flight. Damages of the additional costs you had, or costs that you paid but had no benefit from. For instance, the amount of damages may consist of

  • the cost of an overnight stay at a hotel which you could not use because of the delay
  • the price of an unused rail ticket that is not reimbursed by the railway company
  • loss of earnings that you can prove etc.

Keep in mind that you will usually not be compensated for costs that you could have avoided by your own actions. This is why you should try to limit the amount of your damages. You can also not be compensated twice for the same damage. For example, you cannot receive compensation from both the airline and an insurance company.

An international convention limits the maximum amount of compensation for a delay to 4,150 Special Drawing Rights, or around EUR 4,635 per passenger.

When do you not have the right to damages?

You will not have the right to damages if it the airline proves that it took all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damage or that it was impossible for it or them to take such measures. This is usually the case under extraordinary circumstances, which include regulations of the authorities, airspace restrictions, serious security problems, exceptionally difficult weather conditions and strikes.

However, the airline must be able to prove the cause of the delay if necessary and justify its actions in the situation.

How do damages differ from standard compensation?

Damages are paid for concrete losses caused by the delay. As it is based on the actual damages that you can prove, it is an individual compensation.

The standard compensation, on the other hand, makes up for the loss of time. The same amount of standard compensation is paid to all passengers affected by the delay on the basis of the distance of the flight and the delay caused by re-routing.

Package tours

The legislation and the general terms and conditions of package tours contain special rules on compensation for damages.

Filing a complaint