New ruling by European Court
Passengers whose flights are delayed by more than three hours should get compensation, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.
The court in Luxembourg said delays are no different from cancellations for which passengers can already money back.
If a flight is cancelled and the airline fails to get its customers to the same destination within thee hours of their original arrival time, they are entitled to between €250 and €600 compensation.
Now the ECJ has said passengers on delayed flights were in a "comparable situation" to those on cancelled flights. Each suffered a loss of time.
It added: "There is no justification for treating passengers whose flight is delayed any differently when they reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time."
The ruling comes after courts in Germany and Austria asked the ECJ for clarification on the "delay rule".
The courts asked for the ruling after passengers on flights operated by condor Air and Air France demanded compensation after their journeys were delayed for 25 hours and 22 hours respectively.
But the ECJ also stated that an airline can escape paying compensation if it "can prove that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances which are beyond its actual control and which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken".
The Court also said a technical problem was not generally such an "extraordinary circumstance".