How will Brexit affect flying to Europe?

The departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union has been a fact since 31 December 2021. This means that a lot of changes will take place including flying between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. What are the changes to your rights as an air passenger due to Brexit and where exactly can you find this out? EUclaim is happy to explain it to you.

A European flag blows away in London

Flying to and from the United Kingdom before 1 January 2021

Flights between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe before 1 January 2021 are governed by Regulation 261/2004. These European regulations protect the rights of air passengers and set out the obligations of airlines. In the event of time lost due to a flight problem (including a flight delay or cancellation), compensation amounts can reach up to €600 per person.

Flying to the United Kingdom after 1 January 2021

From 2021, the route of your flight and the airline you fly with will determine which regulations protect your rights. In addition, for UK flights, all possible compensation will be paid in pounds. For example, if you fly from Amsterdam Schiphol to London Heathrow with KLM and the arrival delay is more than three hours, you fall under European legislation and may be eligible for €250. If you fly to New York with British Airways and the flight is cancelled, you may be eligible for £520.

Passenger rights when flying to and from the United Kingdom after 1 January 2021

Rights for air passengers flying to and from the United Kingdom have changed as of 1 January 2021, as the UK is now a ‘third country’ and therefore no longer falls under EU Regulation 261/2004. From 2021, the UK will be governed by The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. This legislation differs from Regulation 261/2004 in the following respects:

The route and airline you flew with determine whether your rights as a passenger fall under European legislation Regulation 261/2004 or UK legislation The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.


Example: You fly from London Heathrow to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport with British Airways. Your flight arrives in the Netherlands with a delay of more than three hours. Then your flight falls under the new British legislation and you may be entitled to a compensation of £220 per person.

Are you travelling to Europe? Then take this into account

Europe is a popular overseas destination for UK travellers and many will travel here in 2021. There are a lot of changes coming up from 1 January 2021, so it’s handy to have all your documents in order before you travel. If you have a British passport for example, you will need to have at least six months left on your passport and your passport must have been issued within the last 10 years. Or check your travel insurance in advance. If you have a European Health Insurance Card it will be valid up to its expiry date. If you apply for a card now, you’ll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC. This way you will be well insured on your trip!

Do you have questions about your rights as an air passenger? Then feel free to contact us or ask your question in a comment below the blog article.

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