Delays, cancellations- getting stranded- they all SUCK. One thing that doesn’t suck? A big fat check, potentially even more than you paid for your ticket being deposited into your bank account for said delay. Not vouchers or miles- actual cash. A new court ruling in Europe means that more airlines will need to pay out for certain types of delays- and the cases could be retroactive. Yep, your previous hassles just might net you some money…

The EU Has Clarified An Important Rule On Delay Compensation

European Union carriers are subject to delay compensation wherever they fly. It’s the cost of being an EU member airline. Other airlines however get away with murder on all flights outside of the European Union. At least, until now. The EU courts have ruled that if a passenger leaving the EU on any airline arrives more than 3 hours late, even from a connection occurring outside of the EU- they’re owed money. How much you might ask? Up to 600 euros. That’s A LOT.

Here’s What Changed, In A Practical Example

Let’s say you were flying Delta Airlines from London to New York, connecting onto Washington DC. Previously, airlines would only shell out IF the flight from London to New York landed more than 3 hours late (it doesn’t matter when it takes off). If you then missed your connection and ended up more than 3 hours late at your final destination- it didn’t count for compensation. It does now. Even if your flight from London to New York (or anywhere in EU to anywhere) lands only an hour late, but causes you to miss your connection and the final delay is more than 3 hours, they owe you cold hard cash. If you start outside the EU, it only applies on EU airlines.

This Will Likely Count Retroactively, So Scan Your Inbox

Airlines make compensation hard. They don’t want to pay you potentially more cash than you paid for your ticket just for making you late. It’s great to attempt to get compensation on your own, but if you’ve been repeatedly denied- we love AirHelp. They take a 25% cut, but do all the legal work and leg work to get you paid. If you don’t have time to deal with airlines, it’s a reasonable deal. It’s highly likely that these ruling will apply retroactively up to six years, so if you can think back to any travel nightmare stories along these lines: be sure to file a claim.