Changed flight? You have rights!

You booked a trip, but a week before departure the airline informs you of a change in your flight schedule. You will now depart a day late, whilst your return flight is still departing at the original time. Due to this change in the flight schedule, you are one day short on vacation time. When the flight schedule changes you have numerous rights. You could be entitled to compensation for the by you made extra costs and possible loss of time under Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal treaty.

Changed flight times, what now?

You have received word of the airline or tour operator that your flight times have changed. Your flight times, or flight schedule, can be altered until two weeks before departure without the airline facing consequences. If they choose to change the flight schedule less than two weeks before departure, you could be entitled to compensation for loss of time and extra costs made. This is established in Regulation 261/2004. It is important that you keep the evidence stating the moment you were informed about the changed flight schedule.

Is the airline allowed to change my flight schedule?

The airline can change your flight schedule or cancel the flight altogether if they inform you at least two weeks before departure. A change of flight times often concerns package holidays in summer time. The airline has a duty of care towards its passengers and has to inform the passengers in due time through the travel agency or directly. When you received the information concerning the schedule change of your flight less than two weeks before departure, you could be entitled to compensation. Regulation 261/2004 does not distinct scheduled and charter flights.

Compensation for extra costs

If your flight schedule changed urging you to stay an extra day, you are faced with additional expenses such as costs for accommodation or a rental car. These costs are the consequence of the schedule change for which the airline is responsible. They have to reimburse these costs. We advise you to always keep the receipts as evidence.

Entitled to compensation for schedule changes

Whether you are entitled to compensation or not depends on the changes made in your flight schedule and the moment you were informed about them.

  • If you were informed less than 2 weeks before departure, you are not entitled to compensation.
  • If you were informed between 14 and 7 days before departure and arrived with a delay of 4 hours or more, you are entitled to compensation.
  • If you were informed less than 7 days before departure and you arrived more than two hours late, you are entitled to compensation.

Furthermore you must fly with a European airline or depart from an airport situated in the EU.

Situations in which you are not entitled to compensation

In some situations, you are not entitled to compensation. If the airline changed your flight schedule do to extraordinary circumstances, you are not entitled to compensation. However, you are still entitled to care and a reimbursement for extra costs made. Extraordinary circumstances apply when the airline cannot be held responsible for the changes made in your flight schedule. Examples of extraordinary circumstances are extreme weather conditions or terrorism.

Compensation amount

If you are entitled to compensation, the amount is fixed, based on the distance of your flight.

amount of compensation

For flight destinations in the EU

  • €250 compensation for a delayed flight up to 1500 km
  • €400 compensation for a delayed flight exceeding 1500 km

For flight destinations outside the EU

  • €250 compensation for a delayed flight up to 1500 km
  • €400 compensation for a delayed flight between 1500 and 3500 km
  • €600 compensation for a delayed flight exceeding 3500 km

The height of the compensation amount will be deducted by 50% if the difference in the arrival time of the original flight and replacement flight is as followed:

  • For a cancelled flight up to 1500 km in which the replacement flight departs one up to two hours earlier.
  • For a cancelled flight between 1500 and 3500 km in which the replacement departs one up to three hours earlier or arrives two up to four hours later.
  • For a cancelled flight with a destination outside the EU of more than 3500 km, in which the replacement flight departs one up to four hours earlier or arrives two up to four hours later.

Claim your compensation for a schedule change

Your compensation for the loss of time can be claimed directly with the airline. The website of the airline often makes it easy for you to file a claim for compensation. However, in relation to a schedule change, this may be more difficult. In some cases you may have a flight stated on your booking confirmation that never really existed. You can therefor check your right to compensation for a schedule change on the website of EUclaim. If you are in fact entitled to compensation, you can submit a claim with the airline, EUclaim or you can contact your travel agency or travel insurance.