How To Get Compensation For Delayed Flight?

how to get compensation for delayed flight

Stop kicking your heels at the airport while waiting for your delayed flight and get compensation from the airline for the time and money you lost! 

However minor the inconvenience caused by the flight delay, it is your right to learn about the cause and get some compensation for it. Time is money, and when you have a fixed schedule, it is pretty apparent that you frown upon the flight status. Nevertheless, here are some tips to get compensation when your flight gets delayed. 

Reasons for Flight Delays

Flights may be delayed for avoidable or unavoidable reasons. What you must know is that if the situation is controlled by the airline, they do offer compensation. However, if the reason for the misconnecting flight is not under the airlines’ control, Alas! They are not responsible for offering you any kind of compensatory or complimentary services and accommodation. Here are a few reasons why your flight may be rescheduled. 

  • Stormy Weather Conditions

The most common reason for flight delays is weather. It is obvious that flying in stormy conditions is neither safe nor possible. Other than thunderstorms, unpleasant weather includes cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes, Hailstorms, dense fog, heavy snow, heavy rainfall with low clouds, blizzards, and strong winds. 

  • Bird Strike

Birds or bats may collide with the aircraft, potentially damaging its operating parts and causing a flight delay. Every year in the US Airspace, aircraft suffer from over 13,000 bird strikes, which often cause disruptions in flight schedules. This is quite an unexpected and unavoidable situation for airlines.

  • Directions of the Air Traffic Control 

ATC monitors worldwide aircraft traffic to avoid collisions. When there is air traffic, the ATC may direct the airlines to postpone their departures, causing flight delays. This is often one reason why the airline can not resolve the delay issues until they get a green light from the Air Traffic Controllers. 

  • Mechanical Problem

When a part of the aircraft or runway is affected, and a safe flight can not be guaranteed, that is a flight delay caused by a mechanical problem. An aircraft is ultimately just a machine that needs frequent repair and maintenance, which sometimes may or may not take more than expected time. 

  • Security Checks

Due to a security breach by some or the other passenger, one may experience a flight delay. These incidents are when a passenger enters a restricted access area, insider threats, data leaks, etc., and for the safety of the passengers and crew at the airport and the aircraft. These delays are worth the wait. 

Top 5 US Airlines Compensation for Delayed Flights

Different Airlines have their own method of redressing the customers for their hassles. Here is how these top US Airlines deal with perplexed customers during flight delays: 

  • Delta Air Lines

Customers who undergo a significant delay lasting longer than  2 hours and wish to change their travel plans can cancel their tickets from the official website or application. Delta provides a Travel Disruption Refund Request form to initiate a refund for the unused portion of their tickets. Apart from that, if your flight is delayed only for a duration shorter than 120 minutes, you can not change or rebook a fresh flight for free. 

The passengers receive the following accommodations for over 3-hour delays:

  • Meal vouchers
  • Complimentary hotel facilities (based on availability)
  • Courtesy of a ground transport to and from the hotel. 
  • Southwest Airlines

If you are traveling with Southwest Airlines and you experience a misconnecting fight, here is what you should know. If you request lodging accommodation as complimentary compensation, considering it was a controllable delay, Southwest will provide a shuttle service to and from the airport to the hotel. If ground transport is unavailable, you may also request a voucher for reimbursement. 

Here is what you can expect from the airline during a controllable delay of more than 3 hours:

  • Meal vouchers at request (from the airport vendors)
  • A reasonable Reimbursement for meals (if the vendor or the voucher is unavailable) 
  • Complimentary snacks and beverages
  • United Airlines

Under the condition that your United flight gets delayed for over 2 hours beyond its

scheduled departure time, you are entitled to several compensatory services. You will receive the requitals depending on the time span you are waiting. Apart from that, you must know that the monetary reimbursement shall be made via cash, EFT, bank order, or cheque. 

Here are the compensations you can expect from United Airlines for your delays over 2 hours. 

  • Hotel accommodations 
  • Transport between the airport and the hotel. 
  • Meals and beverages are proportional to the standard waiting time and two telephone calls.
  • For delays of five (5) hours or more, you can request a Full ticket refund within 21 days for the part(s) of the journey that was not made or did not serve its purpose. 
  • Frontier Airlines

Frontier has a smooth backup plan to solace their customers in case of controllable situation delays over 3 hours after the scheduled departure time. First and foremost, once the three-hour duration is crossed, you can choose to re-book a different flight free of cost or cancel the ticket altogether. 

Check out the Frontier Airlines flight delay compensation policies below:

  • Accommodations for the next available flight to the passengers are free of charge. 
  • Meal vouchers (after three hours or more)  
  • Chance to request full refunds for the unused part of the itinerary. 
  • JetBlue 

The customer who experiences a two-hour delay with JetBlue can request the airline to rebook the next flight free of charge. If there is no such flight, you will get a complete refund for the itinerary or part of the itinerary you did not travel on. 

After three hours pass since your scheduled departure, the customer will receive the following accommodations from the Airlines:

  • Meal voucher of $12.00. (Reimbursement of the food and beverage if the voucher is not available)
  • Overnight hotel accommodations (If the facility is unavailable, you will receive full reimbursement for the lounge)
  • Ground transport facility to and from a nearby hotel and airport. 

Compensation Rules for Flight Delays As per the US Department of Transportation

The Aviation Consumer Protection of the US has some ground rules that consumers can use to make the most of their journey. The amount of Denied Boarding Compensation in the Domestic Itineraries is displayed below. 

Duration of Arrival Delay Compensation
Less than an hourNot Applicable 
1 to 2 hours200% of one-way airfare
(but not over $675).
Over 2 hours400% of one-way airfare
(but not over $1,350).

The amount of denied boarding compensation for the international itinerary is per the US Department of Transportation.  

Duration of Arrival DelayCompensation
Less than an hour Not Applicable
Between 1 to 4 hours 200% of one-way airfare
(but not over $675).
Over 4 hours 400% of one-way airfare
(but not over $1,350).

What about the Tarmac Delays?

When you are aboard, either waiting for a takeoff or about to disembark the plane after landing, but due to some unavoidable circumstances, you may have to wait; that is called a Tarmac Delay. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection allows passengers a few rights under the Tarmac Delay conditions. 

  • The Airline must provide updates and notifications to all passengers on board. 
  • Once the delay exceeds 2 hours on the tarmac delays, the airline should offer granola bars and drinking water to all passengers. 
  • Passengers should get access to working toilets, and the staff should maintain comfortable cabin temperatures.
  • If a passenger needs medical attention, the airline must provide it. 
  • The airline must take the plane to a place where passengers are allowed to get off before 3 hours for domestic and 4 hours for international flights.

To Wrap It Up!

Now that you have come this far, you probably know that it is in your hands to get the reimbursement or compensation for the inconvenience you suffer due to the delayed flight. However, you must understand that sometimes the reason for the flight delay is quite uncontrollable, and the airline is neither responsible for the cause nor can solve it. In this circumstance, you must acknowledge this and withdraw your attempts to ask for compensation. 

People Often Ask:

Can I get compensation if the flight is delayed?

Yes. If the cause and duration of your flight delay are reasonable, you may get compensation per the airline’s policies. 

What should be the duration of the flight delay so that I receive compensation?

If the flight is delayed for a duration of 3 hours from the scheduled departure time, then you receive the option for compensation. 

What is the 2-hour rule for flight delay compensation?

After two hours of delay, airlines often allow passengers a chance to cancel the tickets and rebook the next one free of additional cost. 

Can I get compensation if my flight is delayed by 2 hours?

You may or may not get the monetary reimbursement based on the duration of your delay. However, most US airlines do not compensate for misconnections under 2 hours. 

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