Was your flight delayed, cancelled or overbooked? Claim your compensation!

You may be entitled to receive up to €600.00 per person.

Missed flight? These are your rights when you’ve missed your flight


When you miss a flight, you may be able to get either compensation from the airline or you may be able to get a refund of the taxes you paid the airline for your flight. In this article, we will explain when you qualify for both of these categories. Flight-Delayed.co.uk is an organisation that helps air passengers claim compensation from the airline when they have experienced a flight delay, cancellation, or when they were denied boarding. We also help travellers with general travel information.


Claiming compensation for a missed flight under Regulation EC 261/2004:


Did you check-in on time?


There are cases in which you are entitled to receive compensation from the airline if you miss your flight. The most important condition has to do with checking in. Most airports advise travellers to arrive at the airport at least two hours before the departure of their flight, to make sure there's sufficient time to check in and go through customs. If you arrive at the airport late, there are cases in which you won't be allowed to fly. Most airlines require passengers to have checked in at least 45 minutes before the departure of the flight and are allowed to deny the passenger access to the flight if he arrives at the check-in desk later than that. If the airline would allow passengers to check in after that, the flight would have to be delayed because the passenger wouldn't be able to go through customs and have his luggage loaded onto the plane in time for scheduled departure.


What happens very often is that passengers arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check in, only to find that there are huge queues. What most people don't realise is that airlines will most likely deny you boarding if the long queues cause you to not get to the check-in desk in time, despite what airport personnel may tell you. 


In order to qualify for compensation under Regulation EC 261/2004, you will have to have checked in on time. If the flight then is delayed or cancelled, or if you are denied boarding, it is clear that you, personally, cannot be blamed for the incident. For instance: there was a technical error, the captain overslept, or the airline overbooked the flight. 


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Missed connection due to a delay or cancellation


Connecting flights are the vast majority of the flights that passengers miss. If your first flight is delayed or cancelled, this may cause you to miss your connecting flight.


If you checked in for your first flight on time, and the delay or cancellation of said flight made you miss your connecting flight you may very well be entitled to receive compensation. 


This means that you could be entitled to compensation of a higher category than you would be based on just your initial delay or cancellation. It also means you may be entitled to compensation even if your first flight was delayed less than 3 hours, which would normally mean you wouldn't be entitled to receive any compensation.

The Folkerts ruling of February 2013 established that rule. The general rule of thumb is that your first flight would have had to have been delayed in excess of 30 minutes. 


Of course, when you have to make a transfer to a connecting flight, you don't go through the regular check in process at the counter, along with the other passengers just arriving at the airport. That's why with connecting flights, checking in 45 minutes in advance for your connecting flight doesn't apply, because you fulfilled your obligation to present yourself at the designated time and place, and the airline is at fault for causing you to miss your flight.


Example: You take a flight from Amsterdam to Paris with Air France. This flight is delayed by 2 hours due to a technical error on the previous sector, which caused the aircraft to arrive late at the airport. Once you arrive in Paris, your flight to New York already left: you originally had 90 minutes for your transfer, which should have been enough, even for a large airport such as Charles de Gaulle. Air France puts you on the next flight to New York, and you arrive at JFK 6 hours later than originally scheduled.


If Paris had been your final destination, you would have been entitled to 250 euros compensation. In this case, you would be entitled to 600 euros, as the total distance between Amsterdam and New York is more than 3,500 kilometres and your delay in arrival exceeds 4 hours.


Compensation for a missed connecting flight, when am I entitled?


This are the conditions that you need to keep in mind when you’ve missed your connecting flight and you want to be compensated:


  • You checked in on time at your original airport of departure
  • Your original flight (or another flight in your schedule) was delayed for more than 30 minutes and this made you miss a connecting flight.
  • Due to your missed connecting flight, you arrived at your final destination with a delay greater than 3 hours, based on the established time of arrival stipulated in your original booking.
  • The cause for the delay can’t be considered an extraordinary circumstance


How much is my compensation when I’ve missed my flight due to another flight delay?


The distance you were supposed to cover, or you actually travelled, as stipulated by your original booking will determine the amount of compensation. It will be calculate taking into account the distance from your airport of departure and your final destination.


As stipulated in Regulation EC 261/2004, the amounts are as follows:


  • For all flights of 1,500 kilometres or less: EUR 250 (± £219)
  • For all intra-community flights of more than 1,500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres: EUR 400 (± £351)
  • For all other flights that do not fall under (A) or (B): EUR 600 (±£526)


Compensation amount if you missed your flight


Missed your flight but not entitled to compensation? What are the conditions to get the passenger bound taxes back?


When you miss your flight but you aren't entitled to compensation, you may still be able to get a refund for the taxes you paid. If you miss your flight the airline doesn’t have to pay any passenger-bound taxes to the airport. But you've already paid these taxes, which can comprise 25% of your ticket price. Most passengers don’t know that they can ask the airline for a refund of these passenger-bound taxes in most cases.

Sometimes airlines do mention this right in their terms and conditions. So please make sure to check those. There are airlines that will ask for an administration fee if you ask them to refund the taxes. This is an odd thing for them to do, especially considering the fact that if you weren't able to take the flight, they will have been able to sell your chair to someone else. In other words: they can get twice as much for one seat.


Keep these things in mind:


  • the reason the flight was missed is generally irrelevant
  • you didn’t make use of this flight
  • the airline calculated the airport taxes and the passenger-bound taxes of the local governments
  • the request for a refund was submitted no later than three months after the date of travel
  • in some cases, you would be required to have booked the flight directly with the airline to be able to get the refund


I missed my connecting flight outside of the EU, can I still claim compensation?


Yes you can! For example: your booked trip was from London to Los Angeles with a connecting flight in Houston. Your flight from London to Houston got delayed only 2 hours but that made you miss your connecting flight from Houston to Los Angles. It was the last flight of the day so you had to spend the night in Houston and wait until the next day. Finally you take the replacement flight and you arrive at Los Angeles with around 12 hours of delay. As long as the original cause for the delay could not be considered an extraordinary circumstance, you would be entitled to compensation. In this specific route, it would be €600.00!


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