Flight delayed? Claim compensation!

In the event of a flight delay, flight cancellation or overbooking of your flight, you are often entitled to a financial compensation of up to €600. The same applies if there are problems with your luggage. But what other rights do you have as an air passenger in the European Union (EU) and how do you claim what you are entitled to?

Your rights as an air passenger

In the EU, there are many rules protecting air passengers in the event of flight delay, flight cancellation, overbooking or if there are problems with luggage. These rules have been laid down in the European Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention.

How we can help you
It is very annoying if there are problems during your flight. The European Consumer Centre provides free legal advice if you have a problem with a non-Dutch airline (based in the EU, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom) and helps you to claim your compensation free of charge. Our website offers information, tips and sample letters that will help you take the right steps.

Question/complaint about a Dutch airline
If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch airline, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

Flight delayed

If your flight arrives at its final destination more than three hours late, you have the right to free hospitality such as food and drink. You may also be entitled to financial compensation. This compensation can run up to € 600. In order to qualify for such compensation, the delayed flight must meet a number of conditions:

  • your flight starts or ends in an EU country;
  • your flight arrives at its final destination with a delay of more than three hours;
  • there is no force majeure.

In the event of a delay of five hours or more, you have the right to cancel the flight. The airline will then be obliged to reimburse the unused ticket in full.

When is a situation classed as force majeure?

According to European regulations, an airline cannot always be held responsible for a flight delay. In situations of force majeure, such as severe weather conditions, an unannounced air traffic control strike or terrorism, you are not entitled to financial compensation.

Flight delayed: how can I claim compensation?

Can the airline be held responsible for the delay of the flight and are you of the opinion that you are entitled to compensation? Submit a claim to the airline independently. This is how you do it:

  • Use our flight calculator to check the amount you are entitled to.
  • Optional: make a list of unforeseen costs, such as the cost of food and drink, taxi or hotel accommodation.
  • Make your claim known to the airline, in writing, via the website or by email. Use the ECC sample letter: Claim compensation in the event of a delayed flight. If applicable, add the list of expenses and copies of receipts.
  • Wait for the airline's response and proposal. Does it not respond or are you unable to resolve the dispute and does it concern a non-Dutch airline? Then contact the European Consumer Centre. Our legal specialists check whether your claim falls under the European rules for compensation and whether you are eligible for (financial) compensation. If your claim is justified, we will help you resolve the complaint. The services of the European Consumer Centre are free of charge. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch airline

If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch airline, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

#flight-delayed

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Flight cancelled

In the event of cancellation of your flight, the airline is obliged to offer you free hospitality, such as food and drink, transport or a hotel stay. You must also be offered re-routing to the same destination or the option of cancelling your trip.

If the airline has informed you of the flight cancellation less than 14 days before the scheduled time of departure, you are entitled to financial compensation. This compensation can run up to € 600. This does not apply to situations of force majeure.

When is a situation classed as force majeure?

According to European regulations, an airline cannot always be held responsible for a flight cancellation. In situations of force majeure, such as severe weather conditions, an unannounced air traffic control strike or terrorism, you are not entitled to financial compensation.

Flight cancelled: how can I claim compensation?

Can the airline be held responsible for the cancellation of the flight and are you of the opinion that you are entitled to compensation? Submit a claim to the airline independently. This is how you do it:

  • Use our flight calculator to check the amount you are entitled to.
  • Optional: make a list of unforeseen costs, such as the cost of food and drink, taxi or hotel accommodation.
  • Make your claim known to the airline, in writing, via the website or by email. Use the ECC sample letter: Claim compensation in the event of a cancelled flight. If applicable, add the list of expenses and copies of receipts.
  • Wait for the airline's response and proposal. Does it not respond or are you unable to resolve the dispute and does it concern a non-Dutch airline? Then contact the European Consumer Centre. Our legal specialists check whether your claim falls under the European rules for compensation and whether you are eligible for (financial) compensation. If your claim is justified, we will help you resolve the complaint. The services of the European Consumer Centre are free of charge. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch airline

If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch airline, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

#flight-cancelled

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Overbooking of flight

Sometimes a flight is overbooked. Empty chairs cost money. Airlines try to reduce this waste by selling more tickets than there are seats in the aircraft. In most cases, this does not cause any problems because there are almost always passengers who decide (last-minute) to fly on a different date or not to fly at all.

What are my rights in the event of an overbooked flight? 

If your flight is overbooked, the airline will make an inventory of whether any passengers wish to surrender their seat voluntarily. To make giving up a seat more attractive to passengers, airlines often offer extras. Before you agree, ask explicitly about these “benefits" so that you can make an informed decision.

Are you voluntarily giving up your seat on the plane? Then you are in any case entitled to a new flight ticket or a refund.

If there are not enough volunteers, the airline will refuse passengers on the flight. In this case, you are entitled to a new airline ticket or a refund of your money and to a financial compensation of up to € 600.

Flight overbooked: how can I claim compensation?

Has the airline denied you boarding on a flight without offering a new ticket or refund and compensation? Then you can submit a claim for these items. This is how you do it:

  • Use our flight calculator to check the amount you are entitled to.
  • Optional: make a list of unforeseen costs, such as the cost of food and drink, taxi or hotel accommodation.
  • Make your claim known to the airline, in writing, via the website or by email. Use the ECC sample letter: Claim compensation in the event of an overbooked flight. If applicable, add the list of expenses and copies of receipts.
  • Wait for the airline's response and proposal. Does it not respond or are you unable to resolve the dispute and does it concern a non-Dutch airline? Then contact the European Consumer Centre. Our legal specialists check whether your claim falls under the European rules for compensation and whether you are eligible for (financial) compensation. If your claim is justified, we will help you resolve the complaint. The services of the European Consumer Centre are free of charge. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch airline

If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch airline, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

#overbooking-flight

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Luggage delayed

If your luggage does not arrive at its destination, it is of course very inconvenient. It is customary for the airline to provide you with an emergency kit or reimburse you for essential required materials. Please check the airline's terms and conditions for the maximum amount of compensation before making any purchases. Keep all receipts to claim the costs.

Delayed luggage: how can I claim compensation?

  • Did your luggage not roll off the conveyor belt on arrival? Report the loss to the luggage service desk at the airport immediately. Ask for a PIR (Property Irregularity Report) form and have it completed on the spot. Check the completed form, take a copy with you, and keep it in a safe place.
  • Make your claim known to the airline within seven days. Use the ECC sample letter: Claim with regard to delayed luggage of the European Consumer Centre. Attach a copy of the PIR form, boarding pass, luggage receipt, and receipts of your purchases. If necessary, also report it to the tour operator/travel agent and/or insurance company where you have taken out travel insurance.
  • Wait for the airline's response and proposal. Does it not respond or are you unable to resolve the dispute and does it concern a non-Dutch airline? Then contact the European Consumer Centre. Our legal specialists check whether your claim falls under the European rules for compensation and whether you are eligible for (financial) compensation. If your claim is justified, we will help you resolve the complaint. The services of the European Consumer Centre are free of charge. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch airline

If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch airline, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

#luggage-delayed

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Missing luggage

Has your luggage disappeared without a trace for more than 21 days? Or does the airline admit that your luggage has been lost before this time? Then you may be entitled to a compensation for losses up to € 1,600, depending on the value of the contents of your suitcase. 

Missing luggage: how can I claim compensation?

  • Make your claim known to the airline within seven days. Use the ECC sample letter: Claim with regard to missing luggage of the European Consumer Centre. Attach a copy of the PIR form, boarding pass, luggage receipt and receipts of your purchases, and the purchase receipts of the items that were in your luggage. If necessary, also report it to the tour operator/travel agent and/or insurance company where you have taken out travel insurance.
  • Wait for the airline's response and proposal. Does it not respond or are you unable to resolve the dispute and does it concern a non-Dutch airline? Then contact the European Consumer Centre. Our legal specialists check whether your claim falls under the European rules for compensation and whether you are eligible for (financial) compensation. If your claim is justified, we will help you resolve the complaint. The services of the European Consumer Centre are free of charge. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch airline

If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch airline, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

#missing-luggage

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Damaged luggage

If your luggage is damaged, you may be entitled to compensation of up to € 1,600, depending on the value of the contents of your suitcase.

Damaged luggage: how can I claim compensation?

  • Take pictures of your damaged suitcase or other luggage.
  • Report the damage to the luggage service desk at the airport immediately upon arrival. Ask for a PIR (Property Irregularity Report) form and have it completed on the spot. Check the completed form, take a copy with you, and keep it in a safe place.
  • Make your claim known to the airline within seven days. Use the ECC sample letter: Claim with regard to damaged luggage of the European Consumer Centre. Attach a copy of the PIR form, boarding pass, luggage receipt and receipts of your purchases, pictures of the damage, and purchase receipt (or receipts) of your luggage. If necessary, also report it to the tour operator/travel agent and/or insurance company where you have taken out travel insurance.
  • Wait for the airline's response and proposal. Does the airline not respond or are you unable to resolve the dispute, and does it concern a non-Dutch airline? Then contact the European Consumer Centre. Our legal specialists check whether your claim falls under the European rules for compensation and whether you are eligible for (financial) compensation. If your claim is justified, we will help you resolve the complaint. The services of the European Consumer Centre are free of charge. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch airline

If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch airline, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

#damaged-luggage

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Flight calculator

Use the flight calculator to check within a few steps whether you are entitled to compensation in case of flight delay, flight cancellation or overbooking, and what the amount of the compensation is.

More about passenger rights

More information about your passenger rights can be found on the air travel page.