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I was recently on a flight which arrived 3 hours and 25 minutes later than scheduled. It departed from the EU, arrived in a non-EU country, was longer than 3500 km, and was operated by an EU carrier. Assume, for the sake of this discussion, that the delay was not caused by extraordinary circumstances.

The original text of EC261 does not discuss compensation for delayed flights, but as discussed in this answer, subsequent court interpretations have held a flight delayed by more than 3 hours is to be treated as a cancelled flight, and thus passengers are eligible for compensation of €600.

However, Article 7(2) says, in referenced to cancelled flights, that "[w]hen passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination on an alternative flight pursuant to Article 8, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked by [four hours, in this case]", then compensation is reduced by 50%.

I wonder how this is applied when the flight was not actually cancelled but only delayed. In this case, no re-routing was offered, but the original flight arrived within four hours of its scheduled time. So is the compensation reduced? Am I owed €600 or €300?

I would prefer answers backed by court decisions or other outside evidence, instead of your own logical interpretation of the regulation.

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It turns out this question is actually addressed in Sturgeon v. Condor, the case cited in the aforementioned answer:

  1. It is important to point out that the compensation payable to a passenger under Article 7(1) of Regulation No 261/2004 may be reduced by 50% if the conditions laid down in Article 7(2) of the regulation are met. Even though the latter provision refers only to the case of re-routing of passengers, the Court finds that the reduction in the compensation provided for is dependent solely on the delay to which passengers are subject, so that nothing precludes the application mutatis mutandis of that provision to compensation paid to passengers whose flights are delayed. It follows that the compensation payable to a passenger whose flight is delayed, who reaches his final destination three hours or more after the arrival time originally scheduled, may be reduced by 50%, in accordance with Article 7(2)(c) of Regulation No 261/2004, where the delay is – in the case of a flight not falling under points (a) or (b) of Article 7(2) – less than four hours.

This is confirmed, more concisely, in Air France v. Folkerts:

  1. In addition, the amount of compensation, fixed at EUR 250, 400 and 600 depending on the distance of the flights concerned, may still be reduced by 50% in accordance with Article 7(2)(c) of Regulation No 261/2004, where the delay is – in the case of a flight not falling under subparagraphs (a) or (b) of Article 7(2) – less than four hours

So for a delay between 3 and 4 hours, the compensation is indeed reduced by 50%. I am therefore only owed €300.

Update. I filed a claim with the airline, and they immediately agreed to pay the full €600! So evidently one of us knows something the other doesn't.

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