You Won’t Believe How Much I Got Compensated When My Flight Got Cancelled in the EU

Flight cancelations and strikes in Europe are more common than you might think. If you’ve ever experienced a delay or cancelation in the EU, you may be curious about what kind of compensation you could receive. Fortunately, the EU has a generous flight compensation policy. When my flight from Paris to New York was delayed and then eventually canceled due to a mechanical issue, I received compensation, an overnight hotel stay, and a food voucher for dinner.

Below, I’ll walk you through what happened, my process for rebooking my flight, my experience staying at a hotel in the Paris airport, the steps I took to file a compensation claim with Delta Airlines, and the amount of compensation I ultimately received from the airline for the cancelation.

What Happens When Your Flight is Cancelled in the EU? 

Rebook Your Flight

When we learned about our flight cancellation in Paris, we immediately went straight to the airline desk to rebook. We’d heard that other passengers were being rebooked to Newark, which wasn’t ideal for us as getting an Uber from there would double in price for us.

Fortunately, the Delta Gate customer service representative was able to rebook us on a flight to JFK at 8:30 am the following day. It wasn’t easy for him to find a suitable flight for our family of four, but he managed to seat us all together on our new flight. This meant we had to spend the night in Paris before flying out the next day.

Overnight in a Paris Airport Hotel

We had to find a hotel to stay for the evening since our flight was scheduled for the next day. We had two options – either book the hotel on our own and get reimbursed later or wait for the airline to give us hotel vouchers.

Since it was getting late and we were traveling with kids, we decided to book a hotel on our own to avoid any waiting. Thankfully we made the right decision as the airline ended up shuttling the other passengers to a Paris Disneyland hotel that was 45 minutes away, not an airport hotel. They reached the hotel at midnight!

Flight Cancelled Compensation

A Nightmare Getting to Our Airport Hotel

We booked 2 rooms at the Moxy airport hotel. We mistakenly assumed that the Moxy Airport Hotel had an airport shuttle bus to take us to the nearby hotel. Unfortunately, we were wrong. 

After clearing immigration and retrieving our luggage, we walked to the airport hotel shuttle bus stop, it was a very long walk, only to discover that our hotel was not on the list of stops! We were then directed to take the airport shuttle train (not the bus). 

The Paris airport is really big, so it was an absolute nightmare to walk with our luggage and children to the airport shuttle train for our airport hotel. It took us a full hour to get to our hotel! 

The next day, we learned our lesson, and instead of taking the airport train back to the airport, we booked a taxi ride through the hotel. Despite being only a 5-minute ride, the ride was 40 Euros. Apparently, taxis charge an exorbitant rate for airport hotels, even if it’s just 5 minutes away!

File a Complaint for Compensation

If your flight is canceled, the airline won’t automatically compensate you. You must file a claim to receive compensation from the airline. I submitted my complaint on the Delta website.

According to EU Regulation 261/2004, you are entitled to compensation for flight cancellations. The EU requires airlines to pay for food and hotels and compensate you depending on the cancellation and flight timing.

During your wait time, the airline should provide you with meals and refreshments, hotel accommodations, a mode of transport included, and a prepaid phone card. You also receive compensation for the canceled flight depending on the distance of the flight as follows:

  • Flights up to 1,500 km: €250
  • Flights within the EU over 1,500 km and other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km: €400
  • All other flights: €600

In my case, my flight from Paris to New York was canceled and rebooked for the following day, making me eligible for compensation.

Food Voucher

The Delta staff provided us with food vouchers of 15 Euros per person which was a joke. It was not enough for dinner at Charles De Gaulle airport. Even with to-go poke bowls, we still had to pay extra to cover the entire bill!

Flight Cancelled Compensation

How Much Did I Get Compensated?

I received an email from Delta Airlines saying they would honor my compensation request since my travel cancellation met the requirements of the European Union Regulation (EC) 261/2004. I ended up receiving 2400 Euros total for my family of four! They honored my request of 600 Euros per person. 

As an apology, Delta Airlines credited 20,000 Delta points to each of our accounts. It was a nice gesture and much appreciated!

Regarding the hotel reimbursement, I did not receive the full amount I requested. My family of four booked two rooms at the airport hotel and the total bill was 380 Euros and we spent 35 Euros on a taxi to take us back to the airport the following day. I requested a reimbursement of 415 Euros, but I only received $288.08 USD.

At the gate, Delta customer representatives mentioned that the hotel accommodation reimbursement is 120 Euros per person, but it turned out to be less than that. So, if you end up booking your own hotel, keep in mind that the per person reimbursement for hotel accommodations is low. You will probably have to pay some extra out of pocket!

How Did Delta Airlines Pay Me?

Delta Airlines gave me two options to receive the compensation: an ACH transfer or a check. If I didn’t reply to the email with my bank information for the ACH transfer, Delta Airlines would mail a check to my address within 15 days.

I opted to wait for the check, and Delta Airlines mailed us five checks—one per person. The fifth check was the compensation payment for our overnight hotel stay.

Overall, I was impressed with the way Delta Airlines handled the compensation. They were quick to respond—it took Delta Airlines 9 days to respond to my complaint and inform me of the compensation amount. Then it took another 2 weeks for us to receive the compensation from Delta Airlines. 

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