Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is a flight delay?

A flight is delayed if it arrives late at its final destination. If a flight arrives 15 minutes or more after the time indicated on the ticket, there is a delay. A claim for financial compensation is only valid if there was at least a 3-hour delay at the final destination.

2. What is cancellation?

A flight is cancelled when the scheduled flight does not take place.

In some cases you may be entitled to assistance (overnight hotel stay, return flight, etc.) and a compensation of up to EUR 600 based on Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

3. What is denied boarding?

Denying access to the flight for reasons that are not related to the passenger (e.g. overbooking).

4. What is downgrading?

A downgrade implies that you have travelled in a lower class than the one mentioned on your ticket, e.g. economy class instead of business class. The airline may have decided this due to an overbooking in business class. You are entitled to compensation. This may be up to 75% of the price you paid for your ticket. Downgrading is not only related to the typical first/business/economy class division, but also to other denominations implying a different in-flight service. (e.g. “economy plus”)

5. When am I entitled to compensation?

The legal text of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 should answer this question. This is, however, not easy to interpret. A few guidelines:

  • for delays, a minimum delay of 3 hours at arrival applies (this refers to the final destination on the ticket)
  • delays, cancellations, overbookings or downgrades must not be the result of extraordinary circumstances (meaning circumstances the airline could not have foreseen)
  • as a passenger, you must have a valid booking as a paying passenger and have checked in at least 45 min. before the flight
  • for overbookings you are not entitled to compensation if you voluntarily accepted denied boarding.

The Happy Flights algorithm screens your booking to the smallest detail and will consult recent jurisdiction should your case not be ‘clear-cut’.

6. What do I pay for Happy Flights' services?

Happy Flights works on a no cure, no pay basis: you don't pay if we don't obtain any money for you. You only pay if your case is successful and when you receive compensation. After we deduct 25% commission and charge a 25 euro administrative fee per person, including VAT. If we need to transfer the claim to our lawyers, we will charge an extra 25%. This tariff applies in all countries, regardless of the VAT legislation in each country. If you have travel insurance through one of our partners, you will not have to pay any charges.

7. Who is Happy Flights?

Happy Flights is experienced in claim handling for professional travel agencies and their customers. Happy Flights is located in Belgium and consists of specialised lawyers, travel specialists and IT professionals. Thanks to our combined relevant experience of more than 60 years, we have a very high success rate (>90%) and provide efficient claims handling. We have partnerships with law firms enabling us to defend your case in court at any moment, should that be necessary. Happy Flights is a friendly company and we act accordingly in the negations with the carriers: Happy Flights' only mission is to turn your disappointment following a flight problem into a smile, because travelling is... fun!

8. Can I do this without Happy Flights' assistance?
  1. Happy Flights is much quicker due to its dedicated staff
  2. Happy Flights knows who to address each case to
  3. Happy Flights can judge each case much better
  4. Happy Flights is known within the airlines
  5. Happy Flights has vast expertise (our lawyers are specialized in EU261)
9. How will my compensation be paid?

Once the payment is due, Happy Flights will ask you for your bank details via email. We will then transfer the compensation to your bank account as soon as possible.

10. How long does it take before I receive compensation?

This varies strongly depending on airline. Sometimes you receive compensation quickly (2 months), sometimes this may take a while. Should it come to a lawsuit, it may take even longer. Once we receive the compensation, we will pay you within a month.

11. How much time after the flight do I have to submit a claim?

With Happy Flights you can claim back up to 1 years.

12. I am not a European citizen, am I still entitled to compensation?

Yes, everyone on board a flight that meets the conditions of the EU Regulation (travelling within or from Europe with any airline or to Europe with a European airline), is eligible. Nationality is never part of the criteria.

13. Will Happy Flights take every claim to court?

Happy Flights tries to win as many claims as possible. The proof is in our success ratio. Happy Flights, however, has the right to end a claim at any time.

14. What should I do when my claim is rejected?

In some circumstances you may not meet the conditions of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004. Should this be the case, your application will be stopped. This may happen while you are filling out the claim. We will subsequently send you an email explaining why we cannot handle your claim. If you are, however, convinced your case is valid, the wizard provides an open text field in which you can explain this. We will then contact you via email.

15. What happens if Happy Flights ends my case?

You will be notified straight away with the explanation of why the claim is being ended. At that point, Happy Flights transfers the claim back to you.

16. Do all delays qualify for compensation?

Not all flight delays of 3 hours or more will result in compensation. The delay may be due to extra-ordinary circumstances for the airline, in which case the claim is not admissible.

17. The plane arrived on time but the doors opened too late. What to do?

The conclusive criterion is your arrival time at your final destination, when the doors of the airplane open and you are allowed to disembark.

18. What is my final destination?

Your final destination is the last destination that is mentioned on your booking (one for outbound travel, one for inbound travel). If you have two separate bookings to reach your final destination, each booking has a final destination.

19. What does the airline mean by extraordinary circumstances?

No financial compensation is to be paid by the airline if it can prove that the delay or flight cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances, which could not be avoided despite all reasonable measures that had been taken.

Extraordinary circumstances can be the reason for:

  • Adverse weather conditions;
  • A decision made by the air traffic control that leads to delays or cancellations;
  • Unexpected flight safety problems and strikes (by ground staff and/or air traffic control) that have consequences for the flight operations of the operating airline;
  • A collision between the aircraft and birds (bird strike) results in damage to the aircraft;
  • Political circumstances (warfare and civil unrest);
  • Medical emergency landings.

In some cases, it is not clear whether or not there were extraordinary circumstances. Therefore we recommend you to submit your claim to us. In that way, we can examine the case and you avoid the chance of losing a favorable compensation.

20. Am I not entitled to anything in case of extraordinary circumstances?

Yes, you are: in such cases the airline has to provide assistance such as food and drinks and possibly overnight accommodation in a hotel. Specific rules apply here as well.

21. The airline contactes me after submitting my claim with Happy Flights. What should I do?

Our General Terms and Conditions stipulate that by filing your claim, you are transferring your rights to Happy Flights. If the airline contacts you directly, you must forward the correspondence to Should you receive a payment from the airline, you should also promptly let us know via email.