EU261 – How Does Europe’s Flight Compensation Scheme Work?

The Air Passengers Rights Regulation 2004 safeguards consumer rights after delays and cancelations.

Most people traveling in Europe know that there is a good compensation scheme for canceled and delayed flights, as well as for passengers who are denied boarding. It is a great scheme, but the rules are complex, with several factors affecting how much (if anything) airlines have to pay out. Knowing how this works before you have any travel problems is useful.

Compensation in Europe

Europe has some of the most generous regulations for compensation in the event of flight delays and cancelations. These were introduced in 2004, as Regulation EC 261/2014 (commonly referred to as just EU261), and have applied to all flights since February 17th, 2005. The regulations mandate compensation of between €250 ($266) and €600 ($639) and duty of care responsibilities for airlines.

Application of EU261

EU261 applies to the following:

  • All flights departing from an EU airport (regardless of airline or destination)
  • All flights to an EU airport, operated by a European based airline

This, of course, creates a strange situation where passengers are only covered for half of a long-haul trip if flying with a non-EU airline. An American Airlines return from Paris to New York, for example, would be covered for the outbound flight from Paris, but not the return. An Air France flight would be covered for both.

Interestingly, while Norway and Switzerland aren’t members of the EU, they are still part of EU261 rules, while the UK has its own similar scheme. EU 261 applies to all passengers, regardless of nationality. And it applies to any publically available purchased ticket. This includes low promotion fares (such as those offered by low-cost airlines), tickets purchased using airline mileage, and even mistake or error fares. It would not include staff discounted or free tickets.

How much is the compensation for a delay?

Compensation for delayed flights (and for denied boarding) applies under the following circumstances:

  • The flight is delayed over three hours. This is based on scheduled and actual arrival time at the final destination. It is not based on departure time, nor does it apply for just part of a connecting journey if the final arrival time is not impacted.
  • The delay must not be due to ‘extraordinary circumstances.’ The main consideration here is whether the airline could have foreseen or done anything to avoid the delay. Over the years, this has been further clarified, but still often causes confusion and claims difficulties. Weather, air traffic control delays, strikes, and political unrest are not covered. Avoidable technical aircraft problems, staffing, and scheduling issues should be.

The amount of compensation depends on the total delay time and the length of the flight, as follows:

For a flight up to 1,500 kilometers:

  • €250 ($266) for a delay over three hours

For a flight between 1,501 and 3,500 kilometers within the EU:

  • €400 ($426) for a delay over three hours

For a flight over 3,500 kilometers within the EU:

  • €400 ($426) for a delay over three hours

For a flight over 3,500 kilometers:

  • €300 ($319) for a delay of three to four hours
  • €600 ($639) for a delay over four hours

What about flight cancellations?

EU261 also provides cover when flights are canceled. In all circumstances, passengers are entitled to duty of care and flight rebooking, rerouting, or a ticket refund.

If the flight is canceled less than 14 days before departure, compensation may also apply. This is at the same rate as the compensation for a delay but subject to a few changes, including:

  • For notification over 14 days before, no compensation applies.
  • If the passenger was notified between 14 and seven days before the flight, compensation does not apply if a re-route is offered that departs no more than two hours earlier than originally scheduled and arrives no more than four hours later.
  • If the passenger was notified less than seven days before the flight, compensation does not apply if a re-route is offered that departs no more than one hour earlier and arrives no more than two hours later.
  • When the flight is canceled due to extraordinary circumstances, compensation does not apply.

Duty of care responsibilities

As well as compensation, EU261 mandates duty of care from the airlines. This is a welcome relief for passengers; in many countries, such care is either substandard or very much depends on the policies of separate airlines. Such duty of care responsibility applies in all cases, including ‘extreme circumstances’ that do not require financial compensation.

This includes

  • Providing an allowance for meals and refreshments, depending on the flight delay.
  • Hotel accommodation and transport for overnight delays.
  • Re-reimbursement for communication, such as phone calls or email facilities.

How to claim compensation

Airlines will not automatically offer such compensation; it is up to passengers to raise a claim. Passengers can claim either directly with the airline or through a third-party company.

Claiming with the airline is not that complicated. Most airlines have a procedure (and usually a form) on their website, and you simply submit flight and ticket details. Make sure you keep boarding passes or other evidence, though, as it may be needed.

Depending on the airline and the circumstances of the delay, airlines may pay easily or refuse initially. In these cases, passengers can escalate the claim through a local regulatory body. Using a third-party company (there are many around) for the whole claim, or just a later escalation, can be easier and quicker. But they will take a percentage of any compensation awarded.

Also, note that the claim can be made much later – up to five or six years later in most cases – so it does not have to be filed at the same time as the delay. So focus on ensuring proper care and suitable flight re-booking if necessary, then follow up later with the EU261 claim.

Compensation in other countries

The EU regulations are a great bonus for passengers who can make use of them; they are much more comprehensive and well-defined than in most other countries. And the amounts offered, especially for low-cost short flights, are very generous. After a rule change last year, non-EU carriers are now required to follow EU261 regulations when operating flights for EU carriers – a loophole was closed after three passengers sued United In the US, for example, airlines have a duty to provide some care, but not compensation. However, the US Department of Transport (DOT) has been mulling over an EU261-style compensation scheme recently, so things could change stateside sooner than you think. As Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted, the rule would “require airlines to compensate passengers and cover expenses such as meals, hotels, and rebooking in cases where the airline has caused a cancellation or significant delay.”

Similar proposals are on the table in Australia, but carriers are against it, claiming it would only push up airfares to pay for all the compensation claims. Speaking to The Guardian, John Sharp, Deputy Chairman of Rex, claimed,

Airlines for a delay during a flight operated for German carrier Lufthansa.


Where United Airlines Is Flying Its Boeing 757-300s

United still has more 757-300s than any other carrier, and this is where they are flying in September.

Having entered service with Germany’s leisure airline Condor nearly a quarter of a century ago, the Boeing 757-300 is still going strong. This includes with United, which has 21 of the 55 aircraft built – more than any other airline. Its example average 21.1 years old.

United’s 21 757-300s

When writing on September 8th, all but one of United’s 757-300s are active. The sole exception is N74856. According to Flightradar24, this 19.7-year-old aircraft last flew on August 18th, when it operated UA3883 from the carrier’s hub at Chicago O’Hare – the world’s second-busiest airport by July flights – to Pensacola, presumably for maintenance reasons.

Inherited from Continental, the large 757 variant is a so-called middle-of-the-market aircraft. It is well known for its high capacity and low unit cost rather than range and is a pretty economical sub-fleet, even though it is old technology now.

In 2018, United increased the number of seats to 234. Of course, this reduced seat-mile costs further while increasing revenue generation opportunities. It became an even more competitive variant, further dictating where they were used.

21 routes in September, all domestic

It is not surprising that United’s 757-300s are mainly used on pretty high-density routes in September. Most are hub-to-hub routes, but some are leisure-focused to Orlando. Based on Cirium data, the following map illustrates where they are flying this month. There are no flights from Newark, its busiest hub. Cirium informs that has not had regular 757-300 flights there since 2016.

Top five routes

United has around 328 weekly 757-300 roundtrip flights in September, with the top routes (all hub-to-hub) shown below. Across the 21 routes, the variant has more flights from Chicago O’Hare than any other airport. This is not surprising given the table below:

Route and directionNumber of 757-300 flights*: SeptemberIs the 757-300 the most-used equipment in September?Find flights
Los Angeles to Chicago O’Hare28 weeklyYesClick here
San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare24 weeklyYesClick here
Chicago O’Hare to Denver21 weeklyNo (737-900 is)Click here
Denver to San Francisco17 weeklyNo (737-900 is)Click here
Washington Dulles to San Francisco15 weeklyYesClick here
* In this specified direction; may vary in the reverse

While it is the leading equipment between Los Angeles and Chicago O’Hare, the 737 MAX 9, 787-10, 737-900, 737 MAX 8, 737-800, and 777-200 are also used this month. Notice the two widebodies; US domestic widebody flights remain well above the pre-pandemic level, and United is the biggest operator..


Want An Airbus A380? Thai Airways Is Selling 6!

Thai Airways’ entire Airbus A380 fleet is currently up for bidding in “as-is, where-is” condition.


  •  Thai Airways has put its entire Airbus A380 fleet up for sale in an “as-is, where-is” condition following three years of grounding in Bangkok and Utapao.
  •  Although its A380s have not completed C-checks since before the pandemic, the jets are still considered airworthy with no permanent grounding directives.
  •  Thai Airways is focusing on a more streamlined fleet of newer jets, such as the Airbus A350, with plans to expand to 114 aircraft by 2027.

Despite a brief flicker of hope that Thai Airways‘ quadjet fleet would return to service amid a surge in demand late last year, its days of Airbus A380 ownership appear to be at an end. As reported by Aerotime Hub, the Thai flag carrier has opened bidding on its superjumbos until September 12.

Sale away

Listed in an “as-is, where-is” condition, Thai Airways’ A380s are up for grabs – for just the low deposit price of $50,000. With the oldest jet, HS-TUA, coming in at just under 11 years old, Thai Airways’ A380 fleet is relatively young – and under-utilized, averaging around 31,000 flight hours according to ch-aviation.

All six jets have remained grounded at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) or U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport (UTP) since the early days of the pandemic, leaving any interested air operator a significant amount of work and investment to return the giants to the skies. Any purchaser would be required to ferry the aircraft elsewhere or dismantle it on-site, limiting options.

Despite none of the aircraft completing C-checks since before the pandemic, Thai Airways’ A380 is noted to remain airworthy, with no Airworthiness Directives or Service Bulletins permanently grounding the aircraft.

According to the carrier’s invitation, it retains the right to reject bids from parties sanctioned by the United States and Thailand or any general “unfit suitor.”

The carrier previously attempted to shirk off its two youngest A380s, HS-TUE and HS-TUF, as part of its restructuring and bankruptcy plans in 2020 and 2021. The initial survey of interest failed to attract a buyer within the two-week purchase period, leaving questions as to whether Thai Airways can sell all six aircraft. The latest sale appears to fall under the same banner as the previous, with Thai Airways’ invitation letter outlining,

“The Bidder is well aware that this sale is conducted under the Bankruptcy Court’s order. The sale of the Aircraft contemplated by shall be subject to final approval of THAI’s Plan Administrator, and only upon receipt of such approval shall the sale be considered final and contemplated.”

Future fleets

Thai Airways A380 aren’t the only widebodies facing the chop. Although initially anticipating a 2024 retirement date, the carrier’s iconic Boeing 747-400s met a similar fate to its European counterpart, being listed for sale in 2021. Thai Airways shifted ten jumbo jets alongside one older Classic Boeing 737-400, leaving just seven remaining in storage at Bangkok and Utapao.

Bouncing back from bankruptcy, the airline is expected to quit protection next year, reemerging as a more streamlined and efficient carrier with a focus on Boeing and Airbus’ newer jets, shaving its fleet down to less than half of its pre-pandemic peak as of August 2023.

However, the airline is already gearing up to surpass that before 2027, utilizing a potential 30-strong widebody order and further leases to expand to around 114 aircraft over the next four years. An order is yet to materialize following reports in June, but as it gradually completes its fleet merger with Thai Smile, an update may be on the horizon.


Jakarta To Kuala Lumpur: Indonesia’s TransNusa Completes Its 1st COMAC ARJ21 International Service

TransNusa has put both of its ARJ21 aircraft into international route operations, achieving a daily utilization rate of over 7 hours on the first day.

On July 24th, Indonesian carrier TransNusa Airlines commenced international operations of the Chinese-made ARJ21, deploying one of its two existing aircraft on the Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur route.

At 07:41 local time, the ARJ21, registration PK-TJA, took off from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), operating flight 8B671 to Kuala Lumpur. After a 1 hour and 48-minute flight, it landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) at 10:49 local time and departed back to Jakarta at 11:38.

Just one minute after PK-TJA departed from Kuala Lumpur, TransNusa’s second ARJ21 aircraft (registration PK-TJB), which was received from COMAC a month ago, took off from CGK at 11:39 and was headed to Kuala Lumpur. After a 1 hour and 49-minute flight, it landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 14:28.

Both PK-TJA and PK-TJB completed their round-trip flights between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur on the same day as they began their international operations. Consequently, on the 24th, both PK-TJA and PK-TJB completed four commercial flights, with flight times of 7 hours and 38 minutes for PK-TJA and 7 hours and 23 minutes for PK-TJB.

TransNusa replaced its Airbus A320 with ARJ21 to operate international flights

TransNusa Airlines opened its first international route on April 14th, operating flights between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Over the past three months, TransNusa Airlines has been using its Airbus A320 aircraft to fly this route.

Last week, TransNusa’s CEO, Datuk Bernard Francis, announced that the airline would replace the A320 aircraft with two ARJ21 planes for the route. Additionally, the flight frequency will be increased from two flights per day to four flights per day. Francis said in a media briefing,

“We’re going to dedicate the (COMAC) ARJ21 aircraft specifically on the Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur route. We’ll still have about a 12 percent increase in capacity from two A320 to (COMAC) ARJ21. We find that frequency works better than capacity. That’s why I would like to try using lesser capacity aircraft more frequently to make this route more vibrant and exciting,”

Earlier, both of TransNusa’s ARJ21 aircraft were operating on the route between Jakarta and Denpasar, Bali.

Ticket available and Competitive price

On TransNusa’s official website, you can now buy flight tickets for the ARJ21 flights between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur starting today (July 25th). The one-way ticket price is 999,000 Indonesian Rupiahs ($67). This price is about 70% of the ticket price for the same time and route on AirAsia, which is approximately $101.

The challenges of ARJ21

Since its commercial operation began in 2016, the daily utilization rate of ARJ21 has been a topic of criticism. According to publicly available data in March 2023, the average daily utilization of ARJ21 regional aircraft in China was 2.5 hours per day. This data is based on the delivery of 100 ARJ21 aircraft within China (100 domestic delivery and 1 overseas delivery by the end of March).

COMAC has also been hoping that airlines can increase the daily utilization of ARJ21 aircraft, which, on the one hand, helps with product optimization and, more importantly, could prove its operational cost-effectiveness.

Over the long term, various Chinese domestic airlines have lacked the motivation to deploy ARJ21 aircraft, intended for regional operations, into their valuable routes due to factors such as a lack of crew resources, sufficient aircraft numbers, and tight route and schedule resources.

Based on the data, in March 2023, the most frequently operated ARJ21 route was between Shanghai Pudong Airport and Jieyang Chaoshan Airport, with a total of 232 flights, including 208 operated by China Eastern Airlines and 24 operated by China Southern Airlines.

Currently, the coveted 8-hour fleet daily utilization rate, which COMAC has been dreaming of, has been achieved by an overseas customer ahead of others. If the operational performance is excellent, it will be the best advertisement for COMAC’s ARJ21 aircraft to expand its international market. However, on the other hand, it can be a double-edged sword. Operating such a high-profile route between two capitals means that any accident could have a significant impact on the aircraft model and the company.


All Nippon Airways Will Launch An NFT Business

All Nippon Airways has entered into the sale of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

All Nippon Airways has launched a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) business following airBalticQantas, and Etihad Airways. The company was launched on May 30th by ANA NEO, which is also owned by the ANA Group.

Into the metaverse

A Non-Fungible Token is a technology that expresses ownership of digital assets and is recorded on a blockchain. The technology has mainly been used in the fields of arts and music, but ANA will follow in the steps of other airlines and sell aviation-themed NFT products.

In July 2022, Etihad Airways launched its NFT collection called “EY-ZERO1.” This collection featured 3D models of ten Etihad Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner liveries, such as the “Greenliner” livery and the Manchester City Football Club livery

ANA NEO will be the first airline to launch an NFT marketplace called ANA GranWhale NFT MarketPlace, where it will sell products under the ANA NFT collection. ANA GranWhale is a virtual travel platform that uses virtual reality to recreate destinations across the gold in the metaverse.

787-themed NFTs for sale

The ANA Group will use the NFT collection to create new connections with customers. Established in 2013, the ANA Group is the largest airline group holding company in Japan which includes Peach Aviation and ANA.

ANA’s marketplace launched with 267 NFTs for sale on May 30th. These included works by aviation photographer Luke Ozawa and each NFT by Ozawa costs ¥100,000 ($717 USD). The second set of products will go on sale from June 7th and will include over 1,500 additional NFTs, such as two digital 3D renderings of ANA’s Boeing 787s. One of them is designed with the same special livery ANA put on its first 787 aircraft when it became the aircraft’s launch customer in 2011. ANA Group plans to increase the number of aviation-inspired NFT products from multiple regions in Japan available in the future.

Crowded field

It will join other carriers, including Etihad and airBaltic, moving to invest in the blockchain. airBaltic is credited for its early use of cryptocurrency payments when it became the first airline to accept payments through Bitcoin in 2014. The Latvian carrier also became the first airline to launch multiple NFTs in 2021, which included digital art featuring Latvia’s cultural and heritage sites, part of a tourism campaign to increase the number of visitors to the Baltic nation. Each NFT was sold for 1ETH ($1,904 USD).

Both airBaltic and Etihad’s NFT collections have featured “planies,” which are aircraft-themed digital cartoons. On the other hand, Northern Pacific‘s loyalty program called “Fly Coin” is wholly based on cryptocurrency. Instead of travelers receiving miles for flying Northern Pacific, they will receive a Fly Coin, which they can trade on the exchanges.

ANA is not the first carrier to shift to the digital world. Recently Qatar Airways launched the QVerse, in which it took its first steps into metaverse technology. The QVerse allows users to explore Qatar’s aircraft from their homes and be guided by a virtual flight attendant. Although the metaverse opens up new possibilities, how airlines will best use the technology to their advantage is unknown.