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The Impact of the Regulation “Eu 261” in Numbers and the Expectations for this Summer

Let’s start with a short explanation of the above mentioned law: the EU Regulation 261/2004, not only addresses flight delays and cancellations but also emphasizes the rights of passengers who experience denied boarding. 

Denied Boarding

In situations where a passenger is denied boarding due to overbooking, airlines are obligated to offer compensation as stipulated in the Law 261. The regulation oblige airlines to seek volunteers who are willing to give up their seats before involuntarily denying boarding. Passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding are entitled to compensation, which varies based on the length of the flight and the delay experienced in reaching their final destination. The compensation amount ranges from €250 up to €600.

Flight Delays and Cancellations

Under the Law 261, passengers are entitled to a compensation if their flight is delayed or canceled. Passengers on a flight delayed by more than 3 hours may be eligible for compensation of €250, while those facing a delay exceeding five hours could receive up to €600. It is important to note that compensation may not be applicable if the airline can prove the delay or cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances, such as severe weather conditions or air traffic control restrictions (the so called “slots”).

Statistics from the year 2022

In 2022, the application of Law 261 resulted in a substantial number of claims being processed. According to the data from the European Consumer Centre (ECC), over 1.5 million passengers submitted claims for flight disruptions covered by the law. Of these claims, approximately 60% were related to flight delays, 30% to flight cancellations, and the remaining 10% to denied boarding incidents. Moreover, the statistics revealed that the majority of compensation claims were successfully resolved. Airlines paid out a total of €450 million in compensation to affected passengers.


Last year was a particular and difficult year for all the airlines: many were not adequately prepared for the big recover post-COVID19. They didn’t have enough staff nor a good strategy to properly carry out their flight operations. A large (and unexpected) number of people started to travel and fly again – against the expectations of the carriers – especially among the European Zone, as the COVID19 restrictions were slowly removed. Many airports were unprepared, short of security staff as well as ground handling personnel. Around 26 millions bags were misplaced, making the travel experience for the passengers even more stressful. This year airlines hired a large number of employees and promised less disruptions and more stability for the upcoming season. We are going to see soon if this promise will be kept, but in the meantime the above figures demonstrated that passengers are becoming increasingly aware of their rights in case of disruption, leading to a rise in the number of claims made each year.

Did you recently have a problem with a cancelled/delayed flight? Tell us in the comments, if you managed to enforce your rights.

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