May 19, 2024
Understanding the UK261 Regulation on Delayed Flights

Understanding the UK261 Regulation on Delayed Flights

Flight delays are a common but frustrating aspect of air travel. Knowing your rights as a passenger, especially under the UK261 Legislation, can greatly reduce the stress associated with such delays. The UK government has specific regulations that protect passengers when their flights are delayed, ensuring they receive proper compensation and care. Here’s an in-depth look at these regulations and how they can benefit you during travel disruptions.

UK261 Regulation on Delayed Flights

The UK261 Regulation establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations, and significant flight delays. It applies to all passengers departing from a UK airport or flying to the UK from a non-UK airport on an EU/EEA or UK air carrier, as well as passengers flying to the EU/EEA from a non-EU/EEA airport on a UK air carrier.

Rights Under the Regulation

Rights Under the Regulation

1. Right to Information

Airlines must inform passengers of the delay and its reasons as soon as possible. They should also provide details about the rights passengers have under the UK law, including the right to compensation and service.

2. Right to Care

For delays of two hours or more, depending on the flight distance, airlines are required to provide passengers with:

  • Meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time
  • Two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails
  • Accommodation and transport between the airport and place of accommodation if a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary

3. Right to Compensation

Passengers are entitled to compensation if the delay is three hours or more at their final destination. The compensation amounts are as follows:

  • £220 for flights of 1,500 kilometres or less
  • £350 for intra-EU flights of more than 1500 kilometres and for all other flights
  • between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres
  • £520 for flights not falling under the above categories (generally flights between an EU and a non-EU country over 3,500 kilometres)

Compensation is not due if the airline can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. These circumstances might include severe weather conditions, security risks, or unexpected flight safety shortcomings.

4. Right to Rerouting or Refunding

If the delay is five hours or more, passengers are entitled to a refund of the cost of the ticket for the parts of the journey not made. They might also get refunded for parts already made if the flight no longer serves any purpose to their original travel plan. In addition, you can get a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity.

Steps to Claim Compensation

Steps to Claim Compensation

Step 1: Contact the airline directly to file a claim. Be sure to include all necessary documentation such as your ticket and the confirmation of the delay from the airline.

Step 2: Include details about the flight, the length of the delay, and any expenses incurred.

Step 3: Follow up with the airline and escalate as necessary. The UK and each EU country has a national body responsible for enforcing air passenger rights.


The UK261 Legislation is a powerful tool for air passengers, providing them with rights to compensation and assistance during significant delays. Understanding these regulations ensures that passengers can claim what they are rightfully due, turning a potentially frustrating experience into a more manageable one.

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