How far back can I claim the compensation for disrupted flight?

Nowadays, more and more passengers are fighting for their rights and claiming their due compensation from Airlines. The awareness of air passenger rights is increasing. Often when we hear the stories of how some of our friends got paid by an Airline, we start to remember that we also suffered flight disruptions years ago but never claimed the money, because we never knew about our rights, did not believe it would really happen, or for many other reasons.

In such moments, you might ask yourself – can I claim the compensation for the past flight disruption?

Of course, there is an answer to your question, but not so simple. Different flights may be subject to different time limitations. Here is what you need to know.

The time limitation is a period during which you can realize your claim or any other right. If your time limitation period expired, you are no longer able to make use of it. So what is the time limitation period for the claims related to flight disruptions under EU #261 regulation?

Firstly, you should know that the EU regulation #261 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, is silent about the time limits. This is why the precedential case law of Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) came into the game which defined the rules for determining the time limits for the claim under EU regulation #261.

In the case of Joan Cuadrench Moré VS Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV (2012), CJEU established that the time limit for each specific flight shall be determined in accordance with the national legislation of EU member country whose jurisdiction is applicable to the flight concerned

The issue on determining the applicable EU member country’s jurisdiction over the flight was decided by CJEU in its previous judgment in the case Peter Rehder v Air Baltic Corporation. CJEU stated that the national jurisdiction of the EU member country of departure or of the arrival of the flight shall be applicable to that specific flight. In case if the country of departure and arrival are both EU member states, the passenger is entitled to choose the jurisdiction between these two.

Key takeaways:

  • If you were flying to EU member state from non-EU country, then the jurisdiction of that member state will be applicable to your flight.
  • If you were flying from EU-member state to non-EU country, then the jurisdiction of the country of departure is applicable to your flight.
  • If you were flying from EU member state to another EU member, jurisdictions of both countries are applicable to your flight and you can choose the jurisdiction in which you will claim your rights.

Therefore, the time limits for flight are determined in accordance with the national jurisdiction of the EU member state which is applicable to your flight. The time limits are different in each EU member country, you can find the exact list of time limits per country below:

Country Time
Austria 3 years
Belgium 1 year
Bulgaria  5 years
Croatia 3 years
Cyprus 6 years
Czech Republic 3 years
Denmark 3 years
Estonia 3 years
Finland 3 years
France 5 years
Germany 3 years
Greece 5 years
Hungary 5 years
Iceland 2 years
Ireland 6 years
Italy 26 months
Latvia 2 years
Lithuania 3 years
Luxembourg 10 years
Malta No  limit
Netherlands 2 years
Norway 3 years
Poland 1 year
Portugal 3 years
Romania 3 years
Slovakia 2 years
Slovenia 2 years
Spain 5 years
Sweden 3 years
Switzerland 2 years
United Kingdom 6 years


SkyLawyer team