In some cases passengers can in addition to the aforementioned assistance claim compensation, when a flight is cancelled or even when a flight is delayed over a period exceeding three hours. The regulation does not explicitly provide for financial compensation in the event of flight delay. However, the European Court of Justice has ruled that passengers who suffer a delay exceeding three hours have right to compensation, unless the air carrier can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided.
The amount of compensation passengers are entitled to is:
• €250 per passenger for flights of 1,500km or less
• €400 per passenger for flights within the EEA of more than 1,500km or for other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km
• €600 per passenger for all other flights
The entitlement to compensation and the amount varies depending on when you are informed of the cancellation, the arrangements for an alternative flight, and the reason of the cancellation.
The air carrier does not have to pay compensation if a flight is cancelled due to “extraordinary circumstances” (weather conditions, natural disasters, strikes, war, terrorism, air traffic control restrictions etcetera) which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures were taken.
Furthermore the air carrier is not required to pay compensation if passengers are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled departure. The same applies if passengers are informed of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival; or if passengers are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival. If the air carrier can offer rerouting to the final destination within two, three or four hours (depending on the distance of the flight) of the previously scheduled arrival, the compensation may be reduced by 50%.
Irrespective of the right to compensation passengers have the right to assistance and the right to re-route or reimbursement in case of cancellation.