Your Passenger Rights: Flight Cancellation Compensation
The discomfort caused by a cancellation may be unavoidable. However, according to EU Regulation 261/2004 (EC261), you may be entitled to cancelled flight compensation of up to €600 for your troubles as well as to reimbursement for the price of your journey or re-routing to your final destination.
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. A flight is considered delayed when it departs under the same flight number but at a later time.
For example, if a British Airways service with flight number BA890 departs three or more hours late but under the same number, you may be eligible to file a claim for flight delay compensation.
Cancelled flights, on the other hand, do not depart and its passengers are usually given replacements whose flight numbers differ from the original one.
Thus, in this case, the same BA890 flight would not leave the airport runway. Instead, its passengers would be rerouted to alternate flights such as Ryanair’s FR9967 or easyJet’s EZY8973.
Importantly, eligibility for cancelled flight compensation is also determined differently.
Can I claim compensation for my cancelled flight?
To be eligible for compensation under EC261, your flight needs to be operated by an EU-based airline or to have been scheduled to depart from inside the European Union.
The sections of Regulation 261/04 that pertain to flight cancellations are also applied in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland.
The second most important factor which determines compensation eligibility is whether the airline notified you of the flight cancellation within a reasonable timeframe.
If the airline informs you of the cancellation more than 14 days in advance, it would avoid having to pay compensation.
In addition, if you are provided with a replacement flight which departs and lands within a reasonable timeframe compared to the cancelled flight, the airline would not be required to compensate you.
The following table summarizes the conditions under which airlines are released from having to pay cancellation compensation:
|Alternate Flight Requirements|
Departs no more than two hours before schedule or arrives no more than four hours after schedule
Less than 7 Days
Departs no more than one hour before schedule or arrives no more than two hours after schedule
Keep in Mind
If the airline informs its passengers of the cancellation more than two weeks before the flight departure, you would not be entitled to compensation for your cancelled flight.
However, you still have the right to a full refund of your ticket or rerouting.
SkyRefund can help you claim your compensation cancellation
The process of enforcing your air passenger rights can often be very complex and time-consuming. In fact, few passengers are aware that they have the right to claim compensation for their disrupted flight. Even fewer ever submit a compensation claim to the airline.
At SkyRefund, our mission is to assist passengers in the challenge of protecting their right in case of a flight delay, cancellation or are denied boarding. We believe the stress of the cancellation is enough. This is why we work with leading aviation law experts which help us to effectively assist passengers in receiving their flight delay or cancellation compensation.
With the help of our compensation calculator, you can instantly find out if you are eligible for compensation. We will handle the entire communication with the airline and take all of the necessary legal steps to help you receive your compensation. We are even ready to take the airline to court in order to ensure that you receive what is yours.
Flight Cancellation: You Are Entitled to Rerouting or a Ticket Refund
In the case of a flight cancellation, in addition to compensation, airlines are invariably required to provide their passengers with either:
- An alternate flight to their final destination at the earliest opportunity as well as reimbursement for the passengers’ hotel and food expenses
- A refund of the full cost of the booking as well as a return ticket to their original point of departure in case the flight cancellation occurred after the first leg of the passenger’s journey
It doesn’t matter if your cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances or not. According to EU Regulation 261/2004, if a 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.
In addition, if you are downgraded to a lower class, you could be entitled to a partial refund of the price of your original ticket.
What Determines the Amount of Flight Cancellation Compensation?
The amount of compensation you are entitled to is determined by the length of your journey.
If your flight does not exceed 1,500 km, you are entitled to €250 in cancellation compensation. This amount increases to €400 for all intra-EU flights over 1,500 km and all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km. Finally, your cancelled flight compensation would further rise to €600 if the length of your trip exceeds 3,500 km, and if you either flew on an EU-registered airline or departed from an EU airport.
Our website provides a quick and easy way for you to check your compensation for your cancellation.
Flight Destination & Distance
|All flights up to 1500 km||
|All EU flights over 1500 km||
All non-EU* flights between 1500 and 3500 km
All non-EU* flights over 3500 km
* Please note: EU Regulation 261/04, which establishes the requirements for flight cancellation compensation applies to all EU countries as well as to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland and Serbia.
Extraordinary Circumstances and Flight Compensation
Extraordinary circumstances can often be decisive when claiming compensation. This legal term refers to any event that may cause a delay or cancellation which the airline cannot ameliorate or prevent.
Naturally, carriers are required to pay out flight cancellation compensation only when the avoidance of the cancellation is within their powers i.e. when no extraordinary circumstances were in effect.
The most common instances of extraordinary circumstances include:
- Bad weather
- Bird strikes
- Air traffic control restrictions
- Strikes of the airport personnel
- Civil or political unrest
- Medical emergencies
- Security risks
In these circumstances the responsibility for the cancellation would not lie with the air carrier. Therefore, airlines need not compensate their passengers even if their arrival time is considerably postponed.
Perhaps, the most common extraordinary causes of cancellations and delays turn out to be instances of extreme weather conditions. These may include extremely low visibility, snowstorms, sandstorms and strong crosswinds, among others.
Technical faults, however, are usually not considered “extraordinary circumstances”. It is within the airline’s responsibilities and capacities to avoid, prevent and solve and mechanical issues that may arise as part of an aircraft’s operations. Therefore, if your flight was cancelled due to a technical fault, you could claim flight cancellation compensation.
In addition, after a recent ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, any strikes of the airline personnel, following company restructuring (wildcat strikes), are also not treated as extraordinary circumstances. This means that if your flight was affected by such circumstances, you would be entitled to compensation.
It is important to keep in mind that even in the event of extraordinary circumstances, passengers still have the right to rerouting or reimbursement as well as accommodation, food and drinks.
Flight Cancellations and Missed Connections
Sometimes a cancellation may force you to miss your next connecting flight. As with other cases of cancelled flights, you could be entitled to compensation.
Therefore, the criteria for claiming compensation for your missed connection are almost the same as with other cases of cancellations:
- You were informed of the cancellation less than 14 days before your departure
- You arrived at your final destination more than 2 hours (in case you were notified of the cancellation less than 7 days prior to departure) or 4 hours (if you were informed of the disruption between 7-14 before the flight) late.
- The flight cancellation was not caused by any extraordinary circumstances
There are two important considerations when connecting flights come into play. Firstly, the delay upon arrival at your final destination is what to determines your right to compensation. Regardless of the number of connections, you may have had (or missed), the time frame of arrival beyond which you can claim compensation remains the same-- either two or four hours.
Secondly, in order to be eligible for compensation for the cancellation, your tickets need to be on the same booking. This makes the airline responsible for your timely arrival at your final destination.
In contrast, if your tickets are on different reservations, the airline would only have the obligation to help you reach your next intermediate stop. From their perspective, the cancellation would have nothing to do with your next flight.
The easiest way to find out if your tickets are on the same booking is to check the booking confirmation number printed on your boarding passes. If they match, you could claim compensation for your flight cancellation.
What Should You Do When Your Flight Gets Cancelled? - SkyRefund’s Advice
- 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 replacement flight. This can greatly improve your chances of finding an alternate flight within the smallest time frame.
In addition, remember to ask the airline representative about the necessary steps to reclaim your baggage. You will probably need it if your replacement flight departs on the next day.
- The timeframe in which the airline informs you of the is critical to your right to cancelled flight compensation. We therefore recommend keeping proof of when you were informed. Luckily, in most cases this simply means keeping the email notifying you of the cancellation.
- Keep your boarding pass and booking confirmation. Your boarding pass contains most of the information required to file a claim for compensation for a cancelled flight.
- In most cases of a flight cancellation, the alternate flight arrives at the final destination later than the original one. In a few cases, however, your departure may be brought forward and passengers would arrive earlier than expected.
This makes no difference with regards to claiming cancelled flight compensation. Regardless of the time of arrival, the first flight remains as cancelled as ever. Therefore, passengers can get compensation for the disruption to their plans.
- We would recommend that you keep a copy of the receipts for all of your expenses. This will 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.
- It is best to submit your claim for compensation as soon as possible. This would allow our team to build the strongest claim on your behalf.
We will help you receive your flight cancellation compensation!
Flight cancellations occur for a variety of reasons, but it is in the airline’s best interest to claim that a cancelled flight occurred due to extraordinary circumstances, which prevent compensation payment even when this is not the case.
This is why it can be very difficult for passengers to seek their right to compensation without expert help. Air carriers are in the position to refuse payment which would, unfortunately, dissuade most passengers from pursuing the case further.
SkyRefund’s mission is to help passengers receive their rightful compensation for their cancelled and delayed flights. To ensure that your passenger rights are upheld, we will take all the available steps to negotiate your compensation. This includes:
- Expert analysis of all circumstances surrounding a cancelled flight
This usually includes gathering meteorological and flight data from external databases to and contacting the airport management to confirm departure and landing times.
- Persistent communication with the airline
We have worked with more than 120 individual airlines so we know the nitty-gritty of working with every major carrier. Our extensive experience allows us to communicate with individual airlines in the most effective way.
- Taking your case to the local Civil Aviation Authority
In most cases, the Civil Aviation Authority is the institution which is tasked with enforcing Regulation 261/04, which protects passenger rights in the case of flight cancellation or delay. Unfortunately, the rulings of the Civil Aviation Authority are not binding, and their decisions can be disputed by airlines.
If for whatever reason, these steps are not enough to force the airline into paying the required compensation for their cancelled flight, SkyRefund is ready to take them to court on your behalf.
And since we work according to a “No Win, No Fee” principle, you don’t owe us anything in advance. In fact, we would only receive our fee after we have successfully claimed your delayed flight compensation. That’s right, if we are not successful in claiming your compensation for you, our assistance would be free of charge.
All you have to do is submit your flight details and we will take it from there.