Delayed? Cancelled flight? Here’s how to claim compensation!

There are few things more annoying than having your holiday dreams shattered by a delay, a rebooking or, worse still, cancellation of your flight. You want to be compensated for the inconvenience, but how can you arrange this and who should you approach? The European Commission recently issued advice to passengers on this topic. This blog gives you a rundown.

Passengers have clear rights

It’s only fair that the European Union has decided that passengers who are inconvenienced by a serious delay, rebooking or cancellation have a right to compensation. This is laid down in EU regulation 261/2004, which specifies in detail under what circumstances passengers have a right to be compensated by an airline.

Flight status

This compensation does not depend on the ticket price, but is based on the distance and destination of your flight and the duration of the delay on arrival at your destination. Even if the airline cancels the flight, a rebooking may ensure that you get to your destination within a specified time, which means you may only be partly compensated or not at all.

Queues in the air

In some instances, an airline is unable to prevent a delay or cancellation. Passengers then have no right to compensation. Poor weather can cause a lot of problems, for example, resulting in delays. Heavy traffic is just as big a problem in the air as it is on roads around major cities. If your flight is delayed, you may miss a connecting flight somewhere else, and in the worst case, your flight may be cancelled.

Delayed flight

You can rest assured that every airline does whatever it can to get passengers to their destination as quickly as possible. Satisfied passengers are a very important “asset” to any airline. KLM would very much like to welcome passengers back on board for their next flight, which is why a delay, rebooking or cancellation is always handled with the utmost care.

Submitting a claim is not as difficult as you think

There a various ways to claim compensation from an airline if your flight is disrupted. The European Commission urges passengers to always contact the airline in question first. It is often quite easy to submit a claim for compensation under EU regulation 261/2004. At KLM, you can claim compensation via our website.

Why claim directly from an airline?

The European Commission has issued this advice because various claims agencies have made use of irregular and misleading practices. These claims agencies have a duty to inform passengers of their rates and conditions. These agencies should also make it clear to their customers that they are, in fact, dealing with an agency. And this is where things tend to go wrong.


There are advantages attached to claiming compensation directly from an airline. To begin with, you will receive whatever compensation you deserve in full, without deduction of agency fees, which can be substantial. Bear in mind that independent agencies claiming compensation from airlines on behalf of individuals and groups of passengers can demand up to 30% of the compensation pay-out.

Waiting pax

More vouchers than cash

KLM also offers passengers the option of a voucher instead of cash compensation. These vouchers may be worth up to EUR 200 more than compensation in cash. You can use the voucher to buy tickets, but also to pay for options such as extra baggage and seat upgrades.

We do whatever we can to prevent your holiday from starting with a cancellation, missed flight or any other disruption. Should you have any reason to claim compensation, however, always first approach the airline or pay close attention to the EU’s advice with regard to claims agencies. Don’t be misled by the unrealistic compensation pay-outs that are sometimes promised by agencies, because that too can spoil your holiday vibe!


Read about your rights and claim agencies here, published by the European Commission.

Posted by:   Koen van Zijl  | 
Join the conversation Show comments


Too many times the airlines are hiding behind “extraordinary circumstances “. They can easily “foul”passengers ,but not that easy an agency that knows her job.
Not to mention the quality of the airline employees from Customer Service departament . It is worth it to pay the fee than dealing with airline staff!
So ,actually the airlines created the agencies!!!( by their attitude & behaviour)


Considering the costs claim agencies ask, I think it is worthwhile to try the airline first.
And to be fair, the fact that the European Commission has actually taken the time to issue a warning about claim agency behavior, means that there must truly be some inadmissible behavior by claim agencies, otherwise the EC would not issue such warning.

Ernesto O Jabibi

I was on an International flight on one of your partners (Delta) in Business Class as a paid passenger, my flight was cancelled, I missed a very important appointment w/a neurologist, Delta had one representative at the Sky Priority line who was very rude, carrier refused to provide a hotel being that the cancellation was due to a mechanical reason and left me stranded at Atlanta Airport for 11 hours, sleeping on the floor and all I got was 10.000 miles. Other passengers traveling within the US in Economy class got up to 50.000 miles and USD500
In vouchers so I wish the US would do the same as the EU to compensate passengers accordingly. Delta is a disaster and has no good customer service.




You are joking,right?!
99% of the claims get ” extraordinary circumstances ” as a reply .
There are some agencies, few, that know their stuff. So unless you are going to start paying the passengers their rights in the very moment of the disruption due to lack of crew, late arrival of the aircraft from the previous flight, unexpected technical reason ,etc …the number of agencies will increase.This is how Your customer relation departament turned clients into competitor.
So,first look at yourself!
There are agencies that deserve every penny of their fee. You created them by direspecting the passengers rights .and now you are complaining.

Harry van Veenendaal

Two flights in one holiday have been canceled. Not very nice but we flew KLM and compemsation was immediate and without any fuss Also (realistical) extra costs have been paid! So claim at KLM NOT at a claim agency. Their fees are hidden in their websites but you can find them and then you’ll find out they easily charge you 30%! But KLM was very good, excellent service, if possible we’ll fly KLM again.


KLM HAS THIS TLC – Tender Loving Care to their passengers. That’s the reason why I always chose KLM . Love you KLM!


Really? Are you rally that Customer friendly? I am Platinum with KLM – the third year in a row (120 KLM flights last year!). It was just one of my flights where I didnt make the connection and had to stay in Amsterdam from Fri until Sat (i wouldnt mind it that much if I hadn’t had another flight on Sunday!). I didn’t make the connection because the first flight was 7 mins late. Yes – 7 mins! It was the flight with assumed 40 mins layover in Ams (incl. moving from nonSchengen to Schengen). You did sell such such connection even if it was a very short connection with high chance of missing the second flight. I made a complaint and of course- you refused my complaint. You said it was an air traffic fault not yours. Fair enough, as a frequent traveller i do understand this funny logic of delayed flight ,especially during holiday. But how can you sell flights with so short connections? Nobody ever will accept the fact that the delay of 7mins is a good reason to miss your connection.
So I wrote another complaint. It was sent to local KLM office automatically and – of course, again, another refusal.
A colleague of mine who is a German citizen was on the same flight, he missed his connection to Germany but he was compensated for it!
So i don’t understand it. Do you really have different procedures for different nationalities?

charles aryee-hyde

Mywifes bag was delayed in Amsterdam for over 24 hours, how do I claim compensation since she has to buy clothing for herself and the kids.
Any help.
Many thanks


Too many times when a voucher is issued it doesn’t purchase the same amount of service as cash.

Shikha Agarwal

Hi I recently travelled with KLM from Canada to India and faced numerous problems with the airline from the time of check-in at the airport to the time I landed in Delhi india. I logged 4 complaints since then with your customer service department through your website as advised. It’s been 2 and half weeks since my first complaint and I still have to receive a singe acknowledgement from KLM to advise if they have received my complaint and is working on it.
I have tried Facebook agent but each time they keep asking the reference # for my file which I have advised on numerous occasion I do not have as I have not received any emails at all.
Please advise how should I proceed now with this claim as I have not received even an acknowledgement from KLM in over 2 weeks.

Anita Walne

Anyone know about worldwide cancellations?

Soo Yan chin

Sent a compensation and refund requests
No update at all
Klm cancelled my flight to nice on the 22nd from Amsterdam .
Rebooked my flight 2 days after !
So I cannot wait cos I booked my hotel in nice and I have to stay in Amsterdam for another 2 nights while wasting my 2 nights hotel rate in nice where I booked before the cancellation ? It does not make sense ….

I flew with airitalia on the same day !
How strange because I found out airitalia, British airways and easy jet all continue their flight to nice !
Only klm cancelled ….

So klm forced me to booked my ticket with airitalia because klm didnt provide me an alternative….

My refund request – CE8-6EF7A7C98057
My compensation request – 10881563001

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *