How to get compensation for a cancelled flight
If your flight is cancelled, you may be entitled to a compensation of up to €600. Whether or not you can claim compensation depends on the reason for the flight cancellation and how long in advance the cancelled flight was announced by the airline.
What flights are covered by EU Regulation 261/04?
All flights within the European Union are naturally covered by the EU Regulation, but in addition, several other countries with ties to Europe are also covered. This means that you can claim compensation for cancelled flights to or from Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe, Réunion, Saint-Martin, Madeira and the Azores as well as the Canary Islands.
Many international flights are also covered but only in cases where the flight departs from an EU airport. If your journey started at an airport outside the EU, but the final destination was an EU airport, you may be entitled to compensation if the flight is operated by an EU airline based in Europe. Confused? Don’t worry. The easiest way to find out if you are eligible for compensation is to try our free compensation calculator.
When is a cancelled flight covered by the EU-regulation?
If the flight cancellation was notified at least 14 days before departure, you are not entitled to compensation.
However, you may be eligible for compensation if the airline announces the cancelled flight less than 14 days before departure and you arrive at your final destination more than 4 hours later than expected. Or, if the airline reports the cancellation less than 7 days before departure and you arrive at your final destination later than 2 hours after the expected arrival time.
Be aware that you are not entitled to compensation for cancelled flights when you arrive at your final destination less than 2 hours later than the original time of arrival. The actual time of arrival is referred to as the moment the aircraft has landed, the doors are opened, and passengers have been allowed to leave the aircraft.
Have you been rebooked for a new departure?
If an airline cancels your original flight, the airline must offer you the choice between a full refund for the ticket or to be rebooked on a replacement flight departing as soon as possible. If you have accepted a re-booking for a new departure, you may still be entitled to compensation if you are sufficiently late. However, be aware that in some cases the airline may halve your compensation.
In case your flight gets redirected and you arrive within the following timeframes, the airline can reduce your compensation by 50%:
- Less than 2 hours after expected time of arrival on a short flight of up to 1,500 km
- Less than 3 hours after expected time of arrival on a flight of 1,500 - 3,500 km or within the EU
- Less than 4 hours after expected time of arrival on a flight of more than 3,500 km outside of the EU
In addition to the financial compensation, you may also be entitled to further assistance during the delay. This includes meals and refreshments, two phone calls or e-mails, and accommodation and transport to the hotel if this becomes necessary. We are happy to help you get compensation for your extra expenses. We do this completely free of charge.
Was your flight cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances?
Extraordinary circumstances are not covered by the EU regulation. This means that the airline can avoid liability if the delay is due to circumstances beyond the airline's control. Unusual circumstances may include:
- Natural disasters
- Unusual weather conditions
- Political instability
- Acute illness among passengers
- Strike among airport staff
It is important to note that in some cases airlines reject compensation claims on the grounds of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ (e.g. bad weather), even though the real reason for the cancelled flight is not extraordinary.
Not sure whether your flight was cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances?
Are you in doubt as to whether your flight was cancelled due to an extraordinary circumstance? When you file your claim with us, we will use your flight details to investigate the reason for your cancelled flight. Within 2-4 business days you will know whether we can assist you with your claim and how much you are entitled to in compensation.
We often find that the real reason for cancelling a flight is not extraordinary. Instead, the reason is likely to be technical faults or problems with the aircraft, missing crew or quite simply that the aircraft has not arrived in time! In such cases you will most likely have to wait for an alternative flight. Why not spend that time filing your claim for compensation?
How much can I get in compensation?
The compensation rates are fixed and ranges between €250 - €600 per passenger. The compensation amount is determined by the length of your flight and the length of your delay. You can read more about the compensation rates in our section on compensation.
If you are unsure how much you are entitled to, you can easily check your flight cancellation compensation with our free compensation calculator.
We are here to help
Keep in mind that we are here to help, no matter if you are dealing with a flight cancellation, a delayed flight or some other air traffic irregularity. Flight delays and cancellations, missed connecting flights and denied boarding all fall within our area of expertise and our legal experts stand by to assist you.
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