Reader Question: China Southern Flight Delay Ex-Europe & EC 261/2004 Compensation


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question by email about China Southern flight delay on a flight ex-Europe that resulted in arriving to Australia more than 12 hours later than scheduled.

China Southern

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I wonder if you can help me.

My wife flew China Southern Hannover – Amsterdam – Guangzhou – Sydney. The flight to Amsterdam was on time. The Amsterdam – Guangzhou flight was 2 hrs 8 mins late and she missed her connecting flight to Sydney and she had to travel on the next flight which meant she was 12+ hours late in Sydney. Both these latter flights were on China Southern but the Hannover – Amsterdam hop was on KLM with CZ codeshare..

Does she have a claim under EC 261/2004? Or does the reach of EC 261/2004 only extend to the first flight outside the EU which was only 2 hrs 8 mins late? I have done some google searches but couldn’t find the answer and hope you might know since LoyalyLobby cover this topic quite frequently.

The EC 261/2004 applies in this case because the trip started in Europe and merely transit happened in Guangzhou. The reader’s wife arrived in Australia 12 hours late.

Reader should contact China Southern in Europe and request 600 Euro compensation due to arriving at their final destination more than 4 hours late.

China Southern may offer vouchers or miles as a compensation but they are in this case required to pay cash. If they decline the claim, the reader should contact the enforcement body in The Netherlands.

Here’s the PDF containing the national enforcement body contact details:

Download (PDF, 220KB)


The EC 261/2004 does also apply for connecting flights when flights are late and connections missed. There should be a previous court decision about this available.

I would also remind readers to always choose the cash unless the travel voucher or miles offered greatly exceeds it. Cash is better than airline vouchers or miles.

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  • Rikh911

    Any tips or tricks how to get EC 261/2004 compensation without paying some rip off service? I have a case pending with Thomson airways but no answer to my emails about the claim.

    • You can contact the National Enforcement Body. I have the PDF above. Let us know how it goes.

  • Fred

    Sometimes there is no need for lawyers, enforcements bodies etc. I agree quite a few airlines seem to have a policy to deny such claims in the first stage, but there are exceptions. Personally I never had issues receiving a payment after just contacting customer service of Lufthansa, SAS and Malev (now defunct). I had issues with Air Berlin and Air France.
    The enforcement body in Germany (and from experience in France) is of no use. They can only fine an airline for violating the regulation, but they can’t force the airline to pay. For the airlines that are giving you a hard time, just consult a specialized lawyer, there are quite a few good ones in Germany. Usually these cases are crystal clear and if you win the case – and usually you do – the airline needs to cover your lawyer costs as well. No need to use all these online rip off services that take a big cut for winning crystal clear law cases.

    First step for me however would always be to contact the airline myself and claim the compensation. Only if this fails I would consult a lawyer. As I said: I had good surprises.

    Let us know about the outcome and how China Southern handles your claim.

    • I agree that one should contact the airline first. If they deny the claim, I can see no harm consulting with the national enforcement body first before dealing either with a lawyer or one of these services that take their cut from the compensation.