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What Are Your Rights if You’re Flying With a Non-European Airline?

Flying with a non-European airline like Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Delta, or others? You might be curious about the laws that safeguard you in case of flight delays, cancellations, or overbookings. Some flights fall under European regulations (UK261 and EU261), even when operated by non-European airlines. If your flight leaves from an EU or UK airport and is operated by a non-European airline, your passenger rights are secure.

The article covers different scenarios.

Check flight compensation online.

1. Understanding EU Regulation 261/2004 & UK261: A Quick Overview

In Europe, two regulations protect air passenger rights: EU Regulation 261/2004 and Regulation UK261. These regulations are almost identical, with the main difference being the currency for compensation. Under UK261, compensation is likely paid in pounds instead of euros.

You are protected if:

Condition: It must be the airline’s fault.

1.1 What Is the Compensation Amount?

The compensation amount is based on the distance of your flight:

  • €250 (£220) – if the distance of your flight is up to 1,500 kilometres.
  • €400 (£350) – distance is between 1,500 – 3,500 kilometres.
  • €600 (£520) – distance is more than 3,500 kilometres.

Essentially, the greater the duration of the flight, the larger the compensation awarded.

Learn more: How Much Is Flight Compensation in Europe?

1.2 How to Claim Flight Compensation?

There are two ways to claim compensation from the airline: filing a complaint with the airline directly or seeking help from a third-party service (flight compensation company).

Start by gathering all necessary information and documents related to your flight and issue, such as flight details, boarding pass, receipts for extra expenses, and any other evidence. Then, file a complaint online through the airline’s website or contact their customer service via phone or email. If you are not satisfied with their response or they deny your claim, escalate the issue to a regulatory body.

If you can’t resolve your claim with the airline, consider seeking help from a third-party organisation, like a flight compensation company. You can also choose this option from the start.

When choosing this option, here is all you will have to do:

Go to
this page

Fill in a claim form

Upload documents*

Sign online

And that’s it — the rest is handled by professionals.

* Your boarding pass and passport or ID copy.

2. Flying with a Non-European Airline: Understanding the Regulations Safeguarding Your Flight

Which regulation protects you if you are flying with a non-European airline? If you’re flying with airlines like Qatar Airways, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Pegasus, Delta, Emirates, etc., there are a few different scenarios to consider. We’ve listed them below.

Remember, your final destination on a connecting flight is what matters, no need to analyse each leg separately.

Scenarios when flying with non-European airlines. Here are the situations where you are protected:

  1. EU to EU (only EU Regulation 261/2004 applies),
  2. EU to UK (only EU Regulation 261/2004 applies),
  3. EU to Third country (only EU Regulation 261/2004 applies),
  4. UK to EU (only UK261 applies),
  5. UK to UK (only UK261 applies),
  6. UK to Third country (only UK261 applies).

How does this work in real life?

Below are a few examples from real life.

Scoot plane lands in Phuket

2. 1 Qatar Airways Flight From London to Doha

You have a Qatar Airways flight from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH). Since it’s departing from a UK airport, it’s covered by Regulation UK261.

Even if you’re flying with a non-UK airline like Qatar Airways, you’re still protected under European laws. Flights operated by non-UK airlines from UK airports fall under this regulation. This means that if your flight faces a long delay, last-minute cancellation, or involuntary denied boarding, you’re protected by UK law and might be entitled to compensation.

Note that EU Regulation 261/2004 doesn’t apply here.

When claiming compensation, refer to the UK Regulation – UK261.

2.2 Turkish Airlines Flight From Frankfurt to Istanbul

You have a Turkish Airlines flight from Frankfurt (FRA) to Istanbul (IST).

As this flight departs from a European airport, it is subject to EU Regulation 261/2004.

If your flight is delayed by 3 or more hours, cancelled at the last minute, or if you are denied boarding due to overbooking, you may be entitled to compensation from Turkish Airlines—provided the disruption is the airline’s fault. This regulation applies even if the airline is not registered in the EU, as long as the flight departs from a European airport.

Note that Regulation UK261 does not apply in this scenario. When filing a compensation claim, be sure to reference EU Regulation 261/2004.

2.3 Singapore Airlines Flight From Singapore to London or Frankfurt – Neither Regulation Applies!

You have a Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore (SIN) to Frankfurt (FRA).

Keep in mind that this flight is operated by an airline registered outside the EU/UK, and you are flying from a non-EU, non-UK country. Therefore, the EU 261 and UK 261 regulations do not apply. This means you are not eligible for compensation if your flight is delayed, cancelled, or overbooked.

This also applies to a Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to London. Since the airline is registered outside the UK and the flight departs from a non-EU, non-UK country, you are not entitled to compensation.

In this case, you can’t get UK/EU compensation from Singapore Airlines.

2.4 Turkish Airlines connecting flight from Athens to Berlin

If you’re flying from Athens to Berlin with a Turkish Airlines connecting flight and experience a delay of over 3 hours, a last-minute cancellation, or an overbooking, here’s what you need to know:

Your destination is Berlin, which means you’re traveling between two EU airports. This flight falls under Regulation EU261, even though Turkish Airlines is a non-EU airline. When making a claim, refer to EU Regulation 261/2004.

Remember, a connecting flight is treated as a single journey. If a delay of 1-2 hours on one leg causes you to miss your next flight and arrive at your destination several hours late, you may be entitled to compensation. Focus on how much later you arrived at your final destination.

Entering hotel room

3. Right to Care When Flying With Non-European Airlines

When it comes to air travel, passengers have certain rights that protect their well-being and ensure a safe and comfortable journey. However, these rights may vary depending on the airline’s country of origin. For example, when flying with non-European airlines, passengers may not be entitled to the same level of care as they would be if they were flying with a European airline.

As a result, it is important for passengers to familiarise themselves with the specific policies and regulations of the airline they are flying with to understand their rights and what to expect during their flight. Additionally, travellers should also consider purchasing travel insurance to provide additional coverage and protection in case of any unforeseen circumstances like medical emergencies.

However, when departing from a European airport, you are entitled to care, regardless of whether the flight is operated by a European or non-European airline.

  • If you have to wait 3 or more hours (due to flight delay, cancellation, or overbooking), you have the right to care from the airline. This is regulated both by the EU and the UK air passenger rights regulations. In this case, the airline has to offer free food and two free phone calls or emails. Mostly it’s provided in the form of coupons, that you can exchange at the airport cafes, shops or restaurants.
  • If you have to wait the night, you have the right also to a free hotel stay and free airport transfer. The airline has to take care of you.

Learn more: Who Has a Right to Care and Assistance From an Airline?

Do you need clarification on your rights while flying with a non-European airline? Curious about flight cancellation or flight delay compensation rules? Feel free to inquire in the comments section below.

By Europe, European Union and EU here on this website we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. This is where these European regulations work.

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