All You Need to Know About Flight Cancellation Compensation

Doubting whether you can get cancelled flight compensation? Not only you can, but we will tell you when you have all the rights to do so — check out must-know info!

TravelD
TravelD
Sep 20, 2019 · 10 min read

Check your compensation | AirHelp

plane during cancellation
plane during cancellation

Table of contents

  1. What Happens if Your Flight is Cancelled?
  2. Flight Cancellation Definition: What Counts as One?
  3. Cancelled Flight Compensation: Must-Know Info
  4. Refund or Rerouting — That is the Question
  5. How to Deal with Connecting Flights and Cancellation?
  6. What to Do if Your Flight Was Cancelled?

What Happens if Your Flight is Cancelled?

As unpleasant as it may be, sometimes your trip goes not the way you planned. No matter how hard you try to do everything right, there’s always place for unprecedented events. We’re here to help you deal with one of such incidents like cancelled flight.

Statistically, approximately 600 departures are cancelled everyday around the world. Only in Europe the number can rise to 167 cancellations a day. Quite a number, don’t you agree?

So, as you see it’s a common practice, and air services know how to deal with such issues. The question is ‘Do you?’ Do you know what rights you have and what you’re entitled to claim? If not, we’re here to clarify the matter for you.

To put it briefly, if your departure was cancelled violating your rights as a passenger, you’re entitled to compensation.

There are several conditions influencing the amount of money to be reimbursed:

  • the length of the flight
  • time of cancellation
  • reasons of cancellation

The longer the flight, the bigger the amount of money. According to standards, there are three types of flights:

  • Short distance — less than 1500 km
  • Medium distance — 1500–3500 km
  • Long distance — more than 3500 km

If your departure was called off violating your rights, an airline company is to provide you with several options: rerouting to your destination or providing you with a refund for a ticket. Plus, you’re entitled to compensation.

Check your compensation | AirHelp

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There are many pitfalls of compensation procedure, and airline services are aware of them. Certainly, they use it to their advantage.

Luckily, we’re here to tell you all about these pitfalls and use it to your advantage, so that you can protect your rights as a passenger. Get comfortable and ready to hear all you need to know about being compensated €250–600.

Flight Cancellation Definition: What Counts as One?

To begin with your flight can be cancelled in advance or on short notice. It goes without saying that the later you found out about the cancellation, the bigger compensation you’re entitled to. If your departure was called off altogether, it is regarded as flight cancellation.

EC261 regulates the rights of passengers travelling using EU airports. These regulations apply only if:

  • you have a valid ticket
  • you have experienced the problems with airlines within the last 6 years
  • you didn’t miss your check in and did it on time
  • the airline was responsible for the cancellation

In other words, if you missed the flight because of your personal reasons, it’s not regarded as cancellation. Plus, if your departure was delayed, it’s also a different thing that requires different regulations.

After your flight was cancelled, an airline will provide you with several solutions:

  • an alternative flight

(A company can offer you a rerouting. In other words they will provide you with a possibility to use a different flight to get to your destination at the earliest convenience)

  • a refund

(You can ask for a full refund of your ticket)

It’s worth mentioning that if a company offers you an alternative flight that is cheaper than your original ticket, they will reimburse you with 30/50/75% of the cost of your original ticket. The amount of refund depends on the type of your flight. You can ask for 30%, 50%, 75% of a refund if your flight was short, medium or long respectively.

However, in a vice versa situation, if you get an alternative ticket to a higher class, a company will not charge you for any additional payment.

If you feel uneasy trying to sort out all the peculiarities of your flight and your rights for compensation, you can always share your burden with a friend in need — AirHelp. This company specializes in helping passengers get their flight cancellation compensation and defend their rights.

Remember that but for money reimbursement, you’re entitled to ask for special conditions while being at the airport.

You have the rights to make 2 phone calls or send 2 emails/faxes. The airline must provide you with free refreshments and food. Finally, if the alternative flight forces you to spend the night in a departure destination, the air service must provide you with accomodation to stay and offer you transfer to a hotel and back to the airport on the next day.

Cancelled Flight Compensation: Must-Know Info

So your flight was cancelled, but when can you claim compensation?

If an airline is responsible for the following things, then you have the rights to ask for reimbursement:

  • you were notified about the cancellation less than 14 weeks before the departure
  • you were notified about the cancellation one or two weeks before the departure, offered an alternative flight, but:

a) this flight departs more than 2 hours before the original flight

b) the alternative flight arrives at your expected destination more than 4 hours later than scheduled

  • you were notified about the cancelation less than one week before the departure, offered an alternative flight, but:

a) this flight departs more than 1 hour before the original flight

b) the alternative flight arrives at your expected destination more then 2 hours later than scheduled

  • the flight was cancelled due to company’s fault

In case an airline company met all the requirements, there are no preconditions to claim for compensation. Still, these situations can be sometimes tricky, so you’d better turn to some experts to be on the safe side. Air services often resort to using extraordinary circumstance as an excuse not to pay compensation.

Keep in mind that such exceptional circumstances may include: violent weather conditions like storms, strikes, political instability or some security risks that cannot be avoided. Technical faults are not classified as extraordinary circumstances, for instance, but some companies may claim so.

AirHelp can assist you in figuring out whether it was truly extraordinary circumstances or is it just an airline trying to avoid paying you.

Now as we have clarified the requirements for compensation, let’s have some money talk and see how much you can get and under which conditions.

To put it briefly, you get:

  • €250 for a short distance flight
  • €400 for a medium distance flight
  • €600 for a long distance flight

Let’s remind you that short distance is less than 1500 km, medium — from 1500 to 3500 km, and long — more than 3500 km.

However, there are some peculiarities that may cause your compensation money to vary. Not only the distance influences the amount of your reimbursement, but also the time period within which you were notified about the cancellation.

Short Distance Flights

If you were informed about the problem between 7 to 14 days prior to the departure, you can get:

  • €125

(if an alternative flight departs more than 2 hours before the scheduled departure, and arrives less than 2 hours later than it was supposed to)

  • €250

(if an alternative flight departs more than 2 hours before the scheduled departure, and arrives more than 2–4 hours later than it was supposed to)

If you were informed about the problem less than 7 days prior to your departure, you can claim:

  • €125

(if an alternative flight departs more than 1 hour before the scheduled departure, and arrives less than 2 hours after it was supposed to)

  • €250

(if an alternative flight arrives more than 2 hours after it was supposed to)

Medium Distance Flights

If you were informed about the problem between 7 to 14 days prior to the departure, you can get:

  • €200

(if a rerouting flight departs more than 2 hours before the original departure, and arrives less than 3 hours after it was supposed to)

  • €400

(if an alternative flight departs more than 2 hours before the scheduled departure, and arrives more than 3–4 hours after it was scheduled to)

If you were informed about the problem less than 7 days prior to your departure, you can claim:

  • €200

(if a rerouting flight departs more than 1 hour before the original departure, and arrives less than 3 hours after it was scheduled to)

  • €400

(if an alternative flight arrives more than 3 hours after your original one was supposed to)

Long Distance Flights

If you were notified about the problem between 7 to 14 days prior to the departure, you can get:

  • €300

(if an alternative flight departs more than 2 hours before the original departure, and arrives less than 4 hours after it was supposed to)

  • €600

(if a rerouting flight arrives more than 4 hours after your original flight was scheduled to)

If you were informed about the problem less than 7 days prior to your departure, you can claim:

  • €300

(if a rerouting flight departs more than 1 hour before the original departure, and arrives less than 4 hours after it was scheduled to)

  • €600

(if an alternative flight arrives more than 4 hours after it was supposed to)

In case you cannot tell head or tails of your flight cancellation rights, don’t hesitate to turn to professionals at AirHelp to clarify the matter.

Refund or Rerouting — That is the Question

If your departure is cancelled, an air service is obliged to provide you with an alternative flight to get to your destination. This flight should be at the earliest convenience. The question is ‘is this earliest opportunity convenient to you?’

You have all the rights to ask for rerouting at date that suits your plans the most. In case you weren’t flying direct, an airline is to provide you with an opportunity to get back to the place you originally departed from and give you the full refund.

However, if you don’t like any alternatives offered, you can cancel your flight and ask for reimbursement. The company is obliged to pay you back in full within seven days.

Keep in mind, though, if you choose rerouting and there appears some unpredicted expenses for transport, you can claim for compensation.

For instance, an alternative flight arrived at the airport at your city, but not the one your original flight should have arrived at (in case your city has several airports). As a result, you incur the extra expenses for taxi, for example. This happens because your original departure was cancelled and you had to take the alternative one.

In such a situation you can ask for money compensation from the air company. Whereas, if you refused to take rerouting and went with a full refund, all the extra expenses are your burden only.

How to Deal with Connecting Flights and Cancellation?

And what if you missed a connecting flight because the other flight was cancelled? Let’s find out all the details.

First and foremost, we need to figure out whether the fact you missed the connecting flight was the airline company’s fault. As you remember from the information above, if the departure was called off and it happened because of the air service, you have rights to be compensated.

If there were some extraordinary circumstances like tornado, blizzard, a strike, medical or security emergency, such cases do not qualify for money reimbursement. You need to remember about that.

However, as we’ve told you before, sometimes it’s tricky to define whether the problem should be regarded as extraordinary or not. That is why, check out AirHelp for some useful information.

Another thing to remember is — if you missed the connecting flight, because you lost the track of time, or there were some personal emergencies, that situation doesn’t qualify for compensation.

Now let’s examine the figures. How much can you get and how to calculate the length of the flight?

When you’re asking for money reimbursement, because you missed the connecting flight, you calculate the distance of the whole journey you were supposed to take. Here’s how it goes:

  • all flights less than 1500 km are considered short distance
  • internal EU flights more than 1500 km are considered as medium distance
  • non-internal EU flights from 1500 to 3500 km are considered as medium distance
  • non-internal EU flight more than 3500 km are considered long distance

In terms of money compensation you receive €250, €400, €600 for a short, medium and long flights respectively.

When you realize you missed the connecting flight because of the cancellation, the airline company must provide you with an alternative one to get you to your destination. In case, this situation spoils your plans altogether you can ask for a refund ticket. What is more, you can even ask for a flight cancellation refund and an opportunity to bring you back to the original point of your departure.

It’s also worth mentioning that while waiting for all this matters to solve, you have all the rights for free drinks and meals. In case you need to call or send an email, you have the rights to do so as well.

An airline company scheduled the alternative flight for the next day and you need to spend the night somewhere? They must pay for your hotel room as well as provide you with transfer to it and back to the airport on the next day.

What to Do if Your Flight Was Cancelled?

If unfortunately your departure was called off, your plans were spoiled, still you need to know what to do and how to it right. So here are some useful tips for you.

  • Make sure the airline company informs you about your rights as a passenger
  • Don’t hesitate to use the benefits of free snacks and drinks if you have all the rights to do so
  • Find out the reasons why the problem occurred; whether it’s the air service’s fault or it’s extraordinary circumstances

After you have experienced this unwanted situation find out whether it qualifies for compensation. Remember, that there are several conditions that you should have met as a passenger and an airline should have met as an air service.

As a passenger, you should have arrived on time. In other words, checked in no less than 45 minutes before the departure. Plus, you have a valid ticket and a booking confirmation.

If the airline failed to meet the following conditions, you’re entitled for money reimbursement:

  • you were informed about the cancellation less than 14 days before the departure
  • you missed the connecting flight because of the situation
  • an alternative flight departure was earlier than 1–3 hours before the original flight
  • you arrived at the different airport than you were supposed to

If it still seems quite difficult to figure out your situation, contact some professionals to have an expert look at your problem. Be confident and protect your rights.

Check your compensation | AirHelp

This article contains affiliate links to AirHelp.

TravelD

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TravelD

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