Claim for lost connection

Claim for missed connection

If you missed your connection during a flight with layovers from point “A” to point “C,” involving an intermediate stop at point “B,” you have the right to file a claim. For example, if you take a flight from Madrid to New York with a layover in Paris to save on costs, you can still file a claim in this case.

If you wish to claim for a flight with layovers or a connection, here are your rights: According to the European Union Regulation 261/2004, you have the right to claim compensation in case of a delayed flight of more than 3 hours, cancellation, overbooking, or baggage loss. The delay is calculated from the departure point to the final destination. If you arrive with a delay of 3 hours or more compared to the arrival time indicated on your ticket, you are entitled to compensation ranging from €250 to €600, depending on the flight distance:

Don’t forget that compensation for a flight with layovers depends on the number of kilometers traveled and is calculated according to this table:


  • 0 to 1,500 km: €250
  • 1,500 to 3,500 km: €400
  • 3,500 km and more: Within the EU: €400 | Outside the EU: €600

What to consider when claiming for a flight with layovers or a connection

  1. If you booked a flight with layovers in a SINGLE RESERVATION (with a connection) When booking a flight with layovers in a single reservation, connecting from point “A” to point “C” with a layover at point “B,” such as Madrid-Paris-New York, it is considered a single flight, and the airline is obligated to transport you to your final destination, in this case, New York. In case of flight cancellation, whether at the departure or during the layover, the airline is required to take you to your final destination without additional cost, covering food and accommodation expenses and rearranging a later flight.

After this mandatory rearrangement, you have the right to claim compensation based on the flight distance (in this case, €600, as the canceled flight would be from Madrid to New York, a distance greater than 3,500 km). Besides compensation for the missed layover, you can claim not only the expenses you incurred if the airline fails to meet its obligations but also all the costs you would have had to bear and the damages suffered, such as hotel reservation cancellations at the destination, car rental costs, guided tours, etc. If the flight is not rearranged, you have the right to claim the cost of the new flight you have to purchase.

  1. If you booked your flights by making 2 separate reservations to connect them as layovers (without an actual connection) Sometimes, instead of making a single reservation with layovers, travel agencies or travelers themselves book flights separately, i.e., in separate reservations (without a direct connection). In this case, the first airline is responsible for transporting you from “A” to “B,” while the second airline handles the journey from “B” to “C.” If the first flight is canceled, the second airline has no obligation to take you to your final destination “C” because the contract of the first airline only concerns the journey from “A” to “B.” As a result, the second reservation is lost, and the second airline is not obliged to offer a replacement flight.

You should also know that…

In case of a delay leading to the loss of the second flight, two situations may arise:

  • If your first flight has a delay of more than 3 hours or is canceled, resulting in the loss of your layover (without an actual connection). If the first airline experiences a delay of more than 3 hours or cancels the flight, thus resulting in the loss of your second reservation, you have the right to claim compensation for the cancellation or delay of the flight from “A” to “B.” Additionally, you are entitled to compensation for damages, including the cost of the lost second reservation (or even the cost of the new reservation you make to go from “B” to “C”).

In other words, if you have two separate reservations, the first from Madrid to Paris and the second from Paris to New York, and you experience a delay of more than 3 hours or a cancellation on the first flight, you can claim €250 (in the case of the cancellation of a flight less than 1,500 km, such as from Madrid to Paris), along with the cost of the lost second reservation, in addition to the expenses and damages incurred.

  • If the delay of your first flight is less than 3 hours and you miss your layover (without an actual connection)… In this situation, we face a problem because the first airline does not have enough delay to demand compensation or claim damages. Thus, we cannot claim compensation or damages from the first airline for missing the second reservation, and consequently, the second reservation is lost without any recourse.

In other words, for example, if your flight from Madrid to Paris has a delay of 2 hours but less than 3 hours, and you cannot take the second flight, you cannot claim compensation from the airline that took you to Paris because it did not violate the law providing for compensation of €250 to €600 for a delay of more than 3 hours. Since there was only a 2-hour delay. Additionally, the second airline, which was supposed to take you from Madrid to New York, is not responsible for the fact that you decided not to buy a combined ticket. For them, it is as if you did not show up.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to systematically opt for a ticket including layovers.

How to determine the flight distance in the presence of layovers or an actual connection?

To calculate the flight distance, it is necessary to consider the starting point and the final destination, following the decision of September 7, 2017, by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). According to this decision, only the as-the-crow-flies distance, i.e., the shortest route between two points on the Earth’s surface (called orthodromic distance), between the departure airport and the arrival airport during a direct flight, should be taken into account.

This means that we should not consider the intermediate layover.

In the case of a flight from Bilbao to Madrid followed by a flight from Madrid to London, only the distance between Bilbao and London, i.e., 941 km, should be considered for the claim. This distance is less than 1,500 km, which corresponds to compensation of €250 according to the current regulations.

If the layover from Bilbao to Madrid is added, this adds an additional 646 km, exceeding the total journey of 1,500 km. This leads to an incorrect calculation of compensation, which should then be €400 according to the tariff grid.

In this scenario, only compensation of €250 would be applicable.