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British passengers give airlines working hours and money

Lowest potential compensation payout of 250 Euros equivalent to 17 UK working hours at average salary; Only ten per cent of entitled passengers know their rights; Only  two per cent of passengers enforce their rights to compensation for delayed and cancelled flight.

POTSDAM – British passengers effectively give up 17 of their working hours to airlines when they elect not to claim compensation for delayed and cancelled flights. This is the result of a global comparison study conducted by compensation service provider

Under EU regulation 261/2004 airlines are obligated to compensate customers in the event of delays, cancellations or re-bookings. Compensation ranges from 250 to 600 Euros depending on the nature and duration of travel disruption.

Only ten percent of passengers are aware of their rights to compensation and a mere two percent apply for it. Airlines often put up a fight against passengers entitled to compensation pay-outs and consequently only a minority of passengers attempt the refund process, perceiving the process to be too complicated or difficult.

With this in mind, calculated the amount of working hours airline passengers from various countries give away to airlines when they forgo enforcing a claim for the lowest potential compensation payout of 250 Euros.

With an average income of 14.69 euros an hour, British passengers who choose not to claim compensation give airlines 17 of their working hours. This is the amount of time a worker in the UK requires to earn 250 euros. This amount is earned in less time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: With an average income of 15.63 euros an hour, resigned German passengers give the airlines two full eight-hour workdays. In neighbouring Switzerland and Austria the amount of time donated is somewhat less, at 13.3 and 14.5 hours, since the average income in these Alpine nations is at 18.06 and 17.22 euros, respectively. But Switzerland, despite its high wages, does not come in first. Leading the pack is Monaco, where the hourly wage of 80 Euros would require a mere 3 hours of work.

Passengers from other European countries waste significantly more of their precious time than the Britons: With an average wage of 13.50 euros an hour the French must work 18.5 hours to earn their compensation entitlement. In Italy and Spain one must put in almost 22 hours (the average income being at 11.48 and 11.41 euros).

Making up the rear among EU countries are Lithuania, Bulgaria and, lastly, Romania, where the average hourly wage is 5.21 euros. Romanians are therefore required to put in 48 hours of work to reach 250 euros.

A glance across the pond shows that Americans come off a little better than the Europeans. The average hourly wage is 20.56 Euros, reducing the amount of hours to be worked to twelve. Conditions are considerably worse on other continents. The Chinese are required to put in 64.5 hours to earn 250 euros. The average hourly wage is very low at 3.88 euros and lags Brazil (53.5 hours / 5 euros) and Thailand (64 hours / four euros). Last place goes to the Democratic Republic of the Congo: With an hourly wage of just 15 cents the Congolese have to work for a whopping 1667 hours to earn the equivalent of the lowest compensation payout. That comes to 208 eight hour work days.

Meanwhile Monegasques can enjoy a much more relaxed approach to flight compensation: roughly three hours of work are required to make 250 Euros with an average wage of 80 Euros and hour.  

“With a policy of limited information on behalf of the airlines only very few passengers are aware of their entitlement to compensation,” explains Eve Buchner, founder and CEO of “Those who know of their rights and seek to enforce these with the airlines, are quite often kept at bay and drowned in endless paperwork. However, those who don’t give it a try give the airlines cash and precious amounts of their time.”

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (, and Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.