EU Regulation on Flights: Everything You Need to Know

When traveling by air within the European Union (EU), passengers are protected by comprehensive regulations that ensure their rights are protected, regardless of the airline or destination. This covers a range of issues from flight delays to cancelations and overbooking. There are now services like Flightright to help passengers enforce these rights. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the EU flight regulations, including how to claim compensation as an air passenger.

Understanding EU Flight Compensation Regulations

The Flight Compensation Regulation, also known as the EC 261/2004 applies to all flights operated from any airport within the EU and to flights to the EU from outside the EU, provided an EU carrier operates them. The main points covered include rights to compensation for canceled flights, delays, and denied boarding due to overbooking.


Passengers are entitled to various forms of assistance if their flight is delayed for two hours or more. This assistance includes meals and refreshments, free phone calls, and, where necessary, accommodation.


If a flight is canceled, passengers can either choose to receive a full refund or a re-routing to their final destination. They are also entitled to compensation between €250 to €600, based on the flight distance.

Denied Boarding

In the case of overbooking, passengers denied boarding involuntarily are eligible for compensation similar to that of cancelations, along with the choice between a full refund and re-routing.

Additional Protection Under EU Law

Beyond the regulations for compensation, EU law also provides for the “right to care” which obliges airlines to provide passengers with meals, refreshments, and accommodation as needed during delays, regardless of the cause of the disruption. It also includes provisions for upgrading or downgrading passengers if the class for which the ticket was purchased is not available.

How to Enforce Your Passenger Rights

Understanding your rights is one thing, but enforcing them can often be challenging. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to ensure you receive the compensation and care you deserve if your flight experience falls under the scope of EU Regulation (EC) No 261/2004:

Step 1: Gather all necessary documentation related to your flight. This includes your flight number, date of the flight, the scheduled and actual departure and arrival times, and details of the disruption (e.g., length of the delay, reason provided by the airline, etc.)

Step 2: Contact the airline’s customer service to request an explanation for the disruption and assert your rights under the EU regulation, including immediate needs (like meals and accommodation) and potential monetary compensation.

Step 3: If the airline does not provide satisfactory assistance or compensation, submit a formal complaint. Include all relevant information and reference the EU 261/2004 law.

Step 4: Keep records of all forms of communication with your airline and also your booking information and receipts as necessary. 

Step 5: Consider using an agency like Flightright to take over the claim process on your behalf, handling all necessary legal procedures to enforce your rights.


EU flight regulations provide strong protections for passengers, and services like Flightright help make these rights a practical reality. By understanding these rights and knowing how to claim them, passengers can ensure they are treated fairly, minimizing the inconvenience of travel disruptions.