Template letter: Flight delay compensation claim

9 November 20184 min read

Flight delayed board showing numerous flight routes either cancelled or delayed

If you flew from an EU airport with any airline, or you arrived at an EU airport on a flight operated by an EU airline, and your journey was delayed by more than three hours, you could be entitled to compensation under EU regulation 261/2004. You can read more about flight delay compensation in our article here.

Before going ahead with your claim, you should determine whether or not the reason for your flight’s delay was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ – this means a situation where a delay or cancellation has been caused by things that are beyond the responsibility of the airline.

If extraordinary circumstances apply, you will not be entitled to compensation – you can read more about these circumstances in the article linked above.

What to do

You can copy and paste the template letter below to help make your compensation claim – please ensure you replace everything within the square brackets! Note that you must work out the distance of your flight to find out how much compensation you may be due – you can do that using a tool such as the Air Miles Calculator*.

The length of a delay is the time between the scheduled arrival time and when a flight actually arrives at its destination. This arrival time is the point at which at least one door of the aircraft is opened on arrival.

It is vital that you include copies of all the relevant evidence you have to back up your complaint – this means a copy of your booking confirmation, a copy of your ticket and any previous correspondence with the airline.

You should also include receipts if you are claiming refreshment or accommodation expenses (please see the information below the template letter). Some airlines may require you to fill in their own specific form in order to claim compensation, so please check their website first.

Length of flight Delay to destination Compensation due
Up to 1,500km More than 3 hours €250
1,500km to 3500km More than 3 hours €400
More than 3,500km More than 3 hours but less than 4 hours €300
More than 3,500km More than 4 hours €600

Source: CAA

Brexit disclaimer: This directive is an EU initiative – until the UK has officially left the EU, this information is valid.

* We cannot confirm the accuracy of information supplied on third party websites.

Template begins

[Your name, address and contact number]

[Airline name and address]


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you regarding flight [Flight number]. My booking reference for this flight was [Booking reference number].

This flight was scheduled to depart from [Departure airport] on [Date] at [Scheduled departure time]. However, the flight was delayed and did not arrive at [Arrival airport] until [Insert time at which at least one door of the aircraft was opened on arrival] meaning it was [insert number of hours and minutes] late.

The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Tui & others v CAA confirmed the applicability of compensation for delay as set out in the Sturgeon case. As such, I am seeking compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 for this delayed flight.

The passengers in my party were [List passengers’ full names].

I am seeking compensation of [select from €250/€300/€400/€600, depending on the length of your flight in kilometres – see information above] per passenger, due to the fact that the scheduled length of my flight was [insert number in km]. This compensation is per delayed passenger in my party, resulting in a total of [insert total in euros for entire party].

I look forward to hearing from you and would welcome a response within 7 days.

Yours faithfully,

[Your name]

Template ends

If you were not reimbursed for refreshments or accommodation during the disruption, you should also include this line, deleting whatever does not apply from within the brackets.

You should remove the italics and add this line in before the final ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ line:

During the disruption the passengers in my party were not provided with any [refreshments/accommodation/refreshments and accommodation], so I have attached receipts for the cost of purchasing our own [refreshments/accommodation/refreshments and accommodation]. Please also refund £[xx], in addition to the compensation figure outlined above.

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