For short delays of under two hours, you don't have a right to compensation, costs or a refund. However, once you've had to wait around that long, you could be owed serious sums. The longer the delay, the more you could get.
Find out your rights based on the delay length:
Two hours or more
If your flight departure is delayed for more than two hours, your airline may also have to look after you until your flight departs. This means you could be provided with food, drinks, communications and accommodation if you are delayed overnight. This rule kicks in on delays of between two and four hours, depending on the length of the flight.
You are entitled to this help in all circumstances, regardless of the cause of the delay. The Court of Justice of the European Union upheld consumers' right to care and assistance in January 2013 after Ryanair challenged it (see the Ryanair ordered to pay costs MSE News story).
If you had to pay for these yourself, keep receipts and make a claim for those costs to the airline. See the How to claim section for how to do this.
Three hours or more
Passengers can claim compensation of between €250 (£212) and €600 (£508) if you meet the criteria for compensation, already mentioned above. The amount depends on the length of the flight and the delay, see the How much will you get? section.
This is in addition to food, accommodation and other extra costs (as mentioned above).
Five hours or more
But when the delay hits five hours, as well as costs for food, accommodation and other extras, you qualify for a refund of the ticket cost, no matter whose fault the problem was, if you decide not to travel.
To also get compensation, the problem must be the airline's fault (see conditions above).
You can get a refund for a delayed flight if:
The flight departed from an EU airport, regardless of the airline, or you were on an EU airline that landed at an EU airport.
Your flight departure is delayed by five hours or more and you decide not to travel.
If you're on a booking with a connecting flight and you're at your intermediate stop, you are also entitled to your money back for all legs on your ticket (including a return at a later date) as well as a flight back to your starting point if the flight lands five hours or more late and your trip no longer has a purpose.
Can you get both a refund and compensation?
Yes, you could be entitled to a lot of cash in some cases.
If you decide not to fly because the departure is delayed by over five hours, if it lands over three hours later than scheduled (instead of miraculously making up the time in the air), and it's the airline's fault, you can also claim for compensation, as well as a refund.
From money saving expert.......