When you book a flight, airlines will often advertise the distance of the journey and the typical time it should take. In most cases, you can expect to get from A to B in a set period. If circumstances change and your flight is delayed or canceled, you may have some rights as an airline passenger.

In this article, we examine whether airlines have to offer flight delay compensation for delayed flights. If your flight is delayed by more than two hours – or even canceled ultimately – there are specific rules that apply when it comes to getting compensation from the airline.

While the specifics will change depending on your departure country, there are some universal rules that all international airlines should adhere to. However, as with any legal matter, take everything with a grain of salt and research your rights before booking to know what to expect if something goes wrong.

What’s a Delay and What’s Cancellation?

A delay is when your flight is significantly behind schedule – even if it doesn’t miss the departure time. The main rule of thumb here is two hours. If your flight is delayed by two hours or more, you may be eligible for compensation, the amount determined by the total distance traveled. A cancellation is when your flight is called off entirely. You are automatically entitled to compensation if this happens, except in some rare circumstances. These usually pertain to extreme weather conditions.

Canceled Flights

These are your three rights in the event of a flight cancellation:

• Assistance

• Compensation

• Alternate transportation, refund, or rebooking options

The airline must compensate you for the missed trip if your flight was canceled less than 14 days before takeoff. However, the airline is not obligated to pay any compensation if it can show that weather or other acts of God were the direct cause of the cancellation.

A new twist has appeared! You will not be eligible for a refund if your flight is canceled because:

• More than 14 days have passed since the airline first notified you.

• Two to seven days before your scheduled departure, you will receive an email with instructions to reschedule your trip so that you arrive at your destination within two hours of the original departure time.

• Get there in less than four hours after the time you were supposed to get there.

• There will be no more than a one-hour difference between your new departure time and your original one if your flight is delayed and a reroute is offered with less than seven days until departure.

• Get there in under two hours after the planned arrival time.

Delayed Flight

In the event of a flight delay, you are entitled to assistance and may request a refund, alternate transportation, or rebook your original flight.

If you are more than three hours late to your destination, you are entitled to the same compensation, rerouting, and rebooking policies as those denied boarding.

Check what the airline should give you if your flight’s delayed.

In the event of a lengthy delay, the airline is required to provide you with the following:

• Access to ingestible and electronic communication while on the go

• Shuttle service to and from your hotel and the airport is included in the event of an overnight delay.

The delay time must be proportional to the flight’s distance and the number of countries it stops in. The WebFlyer site allows you to view the flight distance in detail.

The airline may provide coupons redeemable for these items at the terminal. If you aren’t assisted, don’t be afraid to ask a member of the airline’s staff.

Keep your receipts if you don’t get assistance at the airport so you can submit a claim to the airline. You should not expect reimbursement for splurging on an airline’s drinks, gourmet meals, or five-star lodging.

When are You Entitled to Compensation?

You may be entitled to financial compensation if your flight is canceled or delayed for more than two hours. However, the exact amount varies from country to country. There is a set formula used by most airlines to determine the compensation amount owed to you. For how much you get compensated, think about how long your flight was.

For example, if the flight is 1,500 and 2,000 miles long, you are entitled to 200% of your one-way ticket price. If the flight is longer than 2,000 miles, you are entitled to 400% of your one-way ticket price. If your flight is between 1,500 and 2,000 miles and you were bumped from your flight, then you are entitled to 400% of the one-way ticket price.

How to Claim Compensation for a Delayed Flight?

The first thing to do – if your flight is significantly delayed – is to find out the reason for the delay and the estimated arrival time. If you have a connecting flight affected by the delay, you also need to find out about that. Most airlines have processes to follow to claim compensation for a delayed flight.

You have to be delayed for more than 2 hours for your flight to be considered “delayed .”  You have to be “denied boarding” on your flight to be entitled to compensation. You must claim to the airline within a particular time. This amount of time varies depending on the compensation you are claiming.

Bottom line

Air travel is a necessary part of modern life, and you will likely be delayed at some point. While some rules are in place to ensure that passengers are compensated for their troubles, you must remember that it is the airline’s discretion whether or not you will receive any money. Therefore, ensure you know your rights before booking, so you can be confident that you will get what you’re entitled to in case of a delayed or canceled flight.