Reader Question: Delta Flight Delay Causing Passenger To Arrive 7 Hours Late?


A LoyaltyLobby reader emailed me a question regarding a Delta flight delay from the United States to Europe that led the reader to arrive to their final destination 7 hours late. What compensation is due?

Reader Question Delta Flight Delays

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I read your information on your website every day and every time I enjoy the information you share with all readers. Today I have a question for you and I am looking for advice. Hope you can help.

We, that is my spouse and I, had a 177 minute (according to Delta) delay on JFK Airport due to 2 technical issues with the airplane. we had to sit for more than 4 hours at the plane on the tarmac after the issues where fixed and could take of the airport. The flight was scheduled from JFK to Amsterdam, with a connecting flight to Dusseldorf, all operated by Delta Airlines.

Due to the delayed departure on JFK we missed our connecting flight from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf. The service Delta provided was to get us on an other flight from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf the same day. We arrived more than 7 hours late on Dusseldorf Int. Airport our final destination.

I have asked Delta for compensation for the delay and inconvenience . Today I received the reaction on my claim. See enclosed e-mail I received to day from KLM who answered my claim in name of Delta.

Before I start all kind of initiatives to get compensation, even legal, I would like to ask you if you have advice in this matter. Hope to receive your reaction.

Here’s an email from KLM (handles Delta in Europe):

Thank you for your message in which you ask for compensation due to the delay of flight DL46 from New York to Amsterdam on 16 December 2016. I would like to inform you that KLM handles Customer Care correspondence for Delta Air Lines in Europe. I offer you my sincere apologies for the inconvenience that was caused. I can imagine your disappointment. Unfortunately I cannot offer you a compensation for the delay. Allow me to explain our liability in these cases.

Your cancelled flight

Flight DL46 was operated by Delta Airlines. According to EU regulation 261/2004, compensation is due if the operating carrier is a European airline or the flight departed from a European airport. Since Delta is an American airline, departing from the United States, the EU regulation 261/2004 is not applicable.

If you have any further questions, you can contact me during workdays from 08.30 till 16.30 on 020-4747747.

Kind regards,


The EC 261/2004 delay compensation doesn’t apply here because Delta is not a Community Carrier (EU + Norway, Switzerland + Iceland) and because the the flight didn’t originate from the EU + Norway, Switzerland + Iceland.

If the Delta flight delay had been from the EU, the passenger would have been eligible for 600 euro delay compensation.

Unfortunately, there is no US legislation that would mandate the airlines to pay compensation to passengers in case of delays. There is legislation that applies to denied boarding and overbooking, however.

If the reader is a SkyMiles member, Delta may give them some SkyMiles for the inconvenience or give a travel voucher that can be used towards future Delta flights.


It is always safer to book a community carrier flight to Europe due to the EC 261/2004 legislation. It doesn’t matter which airline you used to flights out from the union because the legislation does apply for them as well.

I would send Delta (or in this case KLM) another email and ask for some SkyMiles or a travel voucher due to the inconvenience. You cannot ask, however, compensation per EC 261/2004 because it doesn’t apply here.

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  • David Stevenson

    Note to Self – always fly EU Airlines where possible.

  • Attention All Passengers

    Codeshares are just that, only that – they share a code, everything else is a contradiction = NO shared airline rules, NO shared responsibility, NO compensation = tossing the hot potato (problem) back and forth until the consumer gets tired and gives up. People need to stick with ONE airline – the SAME airline that flies you from A to B to C – use the same carrier, not two carriers faking a marriage that doesn’t exist.

    • DebbieT

      That’s great advice if you *have* that option…. sadly most of the flights to my area (middle east) are codeshares to the US…….

    • Codeshares are often problematic but that wasn’t the issue here. KLM handles DL customer service in Europe.

      • Attention All Passengers

        Right, but the passengers ORIGINATED on DL metal in the USA and Delta’s delay was the reason for their misconnect onward with KLM. Why were they even dealing with KLM in the first place (asking for compensation from them)? Delta was the problem; Delta should be the one compensating. Plus you have left out important information – are they European citizens and did they buy the DL ticket on KLM’s website ? – none of this explained your article. Very confusing and needs sorting out.

        • Even if you complain to Delta in Europe the reply will come from KLM.

          Whether someone is resident of the European Union, where the ticket was issued or what form of payment used (country) are all irrelevant when it comes to EC 261/2004.

          • Attention All Passengers

            Well then I’d say that DL is shafting people big-time. They dump their problems on their codeshare partner ? The only thing they “share” is the money the passenger paid – after that all bets are off. So even though the problem originated on DL in the USA, the passenger is stuck complaining to KLM based on the EU261 rule and if the codeshare partner decides not to care or toss the blame back to the other, the passenger is holding the ball with no solution. Horrible. Someone else already commented, as do I,……if you’re flying to Europe use the same carrier the entire way (roundtrip). NEVER would I use two different carriers to get from A to B to C. Recipe for disaster.

          • Northwest and KLM had very close partnership back in the day and that is alive to some extend still today. Delta deals with KL & AF issues in the states while KL handles DL in Europe.

            There is nothing wrong having multiple airlines in the same itinerary or codeshares. Just pays to remember that you end up dealing with the operating airline if something goes wrong.