The discomfort caused by a flight cancellation may be unavoidable and can cause a lot of stress and financial losses. In many cases, you may be entitled to flight cancellation compensation worth up to €600 according to the EU regulation 261 as well as to reimbursement for the price of your journey or re-routing to your final destination. The EU Regulation 261/2004 protects passengers by offering them a series of rights and compensation for flight cancellations. It allows passengers to enforce a set of rights. The idea behind this regulation is to make sure that passengers get the compensation they deserve from the airline.
In order to even start thinking about getting financial compensation for a cancelled flight, basic conditions must be met to make it worth claiming compensation from the airline for the given flight.
There are three basic conditions for eligibility:
- Flight cancellation compensation claims are only applicable to flights leaving an EU airport and/or any flight arriving at an EU airport by an EU registered carrier. (This means that every flight from EU airports is covered by the EU regulations, regardless of where the airline is based. )
- You were informed of the flight cancellation less than 14 days prior to departure
- The airline is responsible for the cancellation (e.g. technical difficulties, operational circumstances, crew strike etc.)
Cancelled flight compensation amounts are set by the regulation so are always awarded in Euros and range from 250 Euros to a maximum 600 Euros per passenger.
The combination of factors described above subsequently defines whether a potential claim for obtaining financial compensation has been incurred, and the amount thereof.
The amount of compensation you can claim for a flight cancellation ranges from 125 Euros to 600 Euros depending on the following factors:
- Distance of the flight
- Number of days’ notice of cancellation
- Arrival time
125 Euros may be due if you were notified within 7 days and the replacement flight departed more than an hour early. Or if you were notified between 7 and 14 days and the replacement flight departed more than 2 hours earlier than scheduled.
If you were informed of the flight cancellation less than 14 days prior to departure and no replacement flight was offered , then the amount of the compensation that you are entitled to is only determined by the distance of the flight:
– 250€ for flights less than 1500km
– 400€ for flights between 1500 and 3500km
– 600€ for flights more than 3500km
Note: The cost of the ticket has no relevance to the total amount of compensation, and as such you will be able to claim on flights with low-cost airlines.
the Compensation amount can be reduced by 50% if the airlines offers you replacement flight and it arrives to the final destination less than 3 hours late
Rerouting or a Ticket Refund
In addition to compensation, airlines are invariably required to provide their passengers with either:
- A refund for the full cost of the booking as well as a return ticket to their original destination in case the flight cancellation occurred after the first leg of the passenger’s journey
– or –
- An alternate flight to their final destination at the earliest opportunity as well as reimbursement for the passengers’ hotel and food expenses
It doesn’t matter if your cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances or airline negligence: if your flight is cancelled, passengers are always entitled to either an alternate flight or a reimbursement for their journey.
The good news about these alternate flights is that if the airline provides you with a ticket to a higher class than the one you had booked on your original flight, you would not be required to pay the difference.
The Difference between Flight Cancellations and Flight Delays
It is important to remember that a flight cancellation is not the same as a flight delay. Compensation amounts are different if the flight is delayed than if it has been cancelled and a replacement flight is offered.
A cancelled flight is one that isn’t operated at all and you would usually be given a new flight number for the alternate flight. If you have just been delayed, you would travel on the same flight number as the airline would still operate that particular flight.
It’s important to know if your flight is cancelled or simply delayed, in order that you can recover the correct amount of compensation.
What Should I Do When My Flight Gets Cancelled?
- If your flight is cancelled, try to contact the airline, either by phone or at their desk, as soon as possible and ask for a re-route. This can greatly improve your chances of finding an alternate flight within the smallest timeframe. In addition, remember to ask the airline representative about the necessary steps to reclaim your baggage.
- Keep your boarding pass and booking confirmation. Your boarding pass contains most of the information required to file a claim for compensation for your cancelled flight.
- Since the timeframe in which the airline informs its passengers of the cancellation is critical to your right to compensation, we would advise you to keep a record of when you were notified.
- We would recommend that you keep a copy of the receipts for all of your expenses. This would ensure that you are fully reimbursed for the food, drinks, transport and accommodation that you purchased as a result of your cancelled flight. Unfortunately, receipts are the only documents which airlines consider as proof of outlays. Bank statements are not accepted.
Cancelled Flight Compensation for Business Travelers and Public Officials
Many people think that their employer will be entitled to any compensation for a delay during a business trip, but thats not the case.
In fact, it is the passenger who has suffered the inconvenience that is entitled to cancelled flight compensation, not the person who paid for the ticket.
If you suffered a flight cancellation as a business traveller it will be you who receives the compensation, not your employer. Likewise, if you’re travelling as a state official, the regulation deems it that you’ll be the one entitled to recompense from the airline. It is the person who suffered the inconvenience of being delayed that receives the compensation – not whoever paid for the ticket. This stands regardless of the price of the ticket.
This is the general principle set out in the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation for major flight cancellations, delays and cases of overbooking. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an employee of a private-sector company or a public official.
Extraordinary Circumstances – Sometimes the Airlines Do Not Have to Pay Cancelled Flight Compensation
In order for the airline to be obligated to pay you financial compensation for your cancelled flight, this cannot consist of extraordinary circumstances that could not have been prevented by the airline. If this is the case, the airline is released in these circumstances of any obligation to pay compensation. In all other cases you are entitled to obtain your financial compensation for the cancelled flight.
The term ‘extraordinary circumstances’ may apply to a number of sequences of events where the cancellation was caused by something out of the normal; things such as:
– Airport and airspace closures
– Political instability
– Unavoidable security risks
– Birds flying into the engine
– Bad weather conditions
There are exceptions to the rule – for example if it is shown that the airline could have avoided the problem by taking reasonable measures, it will be liable for the delay of the aircraft. An instance of this would be if the airline cited bad weather conditions, and what actually happened was they failed to ensure that there were sufficient supplies of de-icer before the onset of winter. In this case they may be deemed responsible for the cancellation – especially if flights operated by other airlines were able to depart on time. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell the difference between difficult and truly extraordinary circumstances.
Right to Care: Food, Accommodation and Refreshments
It is the airlines’ obligation to make the wait for your flight comfortable. This is known as a passenger’s “Right to Care”. In its most basic form, the airline is required to offer you food and drinks for the duration of your wait.
When you’re stuck waiting for the airline to get you back on track toward your destination, European law EC 261 says you’re entitled to a number essentials, depending on your flight details.
Regardless the reason of the cancellation, Your airline must provide you with:
- A reasonable amount of food and drink
- Two communications (phone calls, emails, fax)
- Hotel accommodation if needed
- Transfer to and from that accommodation
How far back can i claim flight cancellation compensation?
The rules of the directive do not provide a universal timeframe for the filing of claims, and leaves it to each country’s own claim terms. For example, in Germany the claim period is 3 years, in Luxembourg – 10. Limitation periods can be between 2 and 10 years. This means that you can claim compensation even a few years later from your disrupted flight.
1 Year – Belgium, Poland
2 Years – Iceland, Netherlands, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy
3 Years – Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Sweden
5 Years – Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Spain
6 Years – Cyprus, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom
10 Years – Luxembourg
Lifetime – Malta
Airlines are clever when it comes to NOT paying compensation
You can get up to 600 Euros for your cancelled flight.
BUT, you know what?!
Airlines are clever when it comes to paying compensation. They have a full closet of tricks and excuses for not paying compensation and this greatly affects an airline’s reliability.
Do you know what they do? all that the airline offers are vouchers as flight compensation…
Not quite what you were expecting, is it?
Do not hurry to make conclusions, we can not consider all vouchers as the airline trick.
If that’s what you were hoping for, hold on a second before accepting that offer: you might be entitled to something much better.
Do you know, what is a point of offering vouchers? Travel voucher’s value is generally lower than the amount of the compensation you are entitled to. It’s a more cost-effective for airline carriers than paying compensation for a Cancelled flight.
Read more about Vouchers: Travel and Meal Vouchers as Flight Cancellation Compensation? NEVER ACCEPT