AIRLINES in the EU will have to fork out compensation to passengers who experience significant delays of more than three hours.
Passengers are in line for a payment of between €250 and €600 if their flights are significantly delayed.
The ruling was made by the European Courts of Justice (ECJ) that travellers should be compensated for delays of more than three hours.
The court did not explain what circumstances that cause a delay may be beyond an airline's control, although it said that carriers will not be penalised if delays were caused by "extraordinary circumstances".
Airlines will be excused from paying compensation in the case of bad weather, but earlier this month the ECJ ruled that most cases of industrial action were not valid excuses.
In 2009, the ECJ ruled that compensation should be paid to passengers by airlines at the same rates as for cancelled flights, unless the delay was caused by 'extraordinary circumstances'.
The decision was enforced by the European court after a number of airlines, including British Airways and easyJet, had challenged a 2009 ruling.