Cancelled flight compensation

Flight Cancellation Compensation

Flight cancellation compensation is also regulated by EC 261/2004. This is a regulation of the European Union that covers EU territories, as well as Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland. You can file a claim for compensation if all of the following apply:

  1. Your departure is from the EU (regardless the destination or the air carrier) or your destination is in the EU and the flight is operated by an EU based airline.
  2. The airline is responsible for the flight cancellation (no extraordinary circumstances as adverse weather conditions, airport strikes, security treats, medical emergency, etc. Involved).
  3. You hold a confirmed reservation that shows the number, passenger’s name, date and time of the flight, etc.
  4. The airline did not inform you for the cancellation at least 14 days before the scheduled date.
  5. There was a delay in your arrival time if you accepted re-routing or alternative.

Flight Cancellation Covered By EC261/2004

Flight cancellation compensation can’t be achieved in some cases.

  1. If you travel within EU, all flight cancellation compensations are regulated.
  2. If your departure is in EU, all flight cancellation compensations are regulated.
  3. If your departure is not in EU, but your destination is in EU, you are protected only if the operating airline is EU based (headquarters location in EU).
  4. If neither your departure nor destination is in EU, you are not covered.

Check if your flight is regulated by EC 261/2001 in the table provided:

Flight EU airline Not EU airline
Within EU Compensation Compensation
Starting in EU Compensation Compensation
Landing in EU Compensation No
Outside EU No No

Flight Cancellation Compensation Amounts

Your flight cancellation compensation amount entitlement depends on the distance and the delay time if you accept a re-routing. If you refuse the re-routing you are entitled to compensation, a refund of your ticket price and a return flight to your destination of departure. The table below provides the compensation amounts if you accept the re-routing:

Compensation Distance
Delay < 2 hours Delay 2 – 3 hours Delay 3 – 4 hours Delay > 4 hours
125€ 250€ 250€ 250€ Under 1,500km
200€ 200€ 400€ 400€ Between 1,500 and 3,500km
300€ 300€ 300€ 600€ Over 3,500km

The airline can avoid paying flight cancellation compensation if the re-routing flight compared to your original flight falls under one of the categories in the table below:

Advance NoticeAlternative Flight
14 DaysNo requirements
7 to 13 DaysThe flight started less or two hours before and arrived less than four hours after
Fewer than 7 DaysThe flight started less or one hour before and arrived less than two hours after

Connecting Flights

When there is a connecting flight involved and you miss your connection due to a flight cancellation, you are entitled to compensation if the flights are booked in the same reservation. The amount of compensation is calculated based on the total distance of your booked journey and the delay in hours at your final destination if you accept re-routing.

Documents Needed to Claim Flight Compensation Cancellation

Every airline may ask for different documents package to process your claim. Keep everything related to the flight cancellation and alternative flight (booking confirmation, boarding passes, electronic ticket, luggage tags, etc.). Keep all receipts if you have any additional expenses related to your delay. Request information about the reason of the cancellation. Note your arrival time at your final destination, since you compensation will be calculated based on it.

Other Passenger Rights Under EC 261/2004

Right of Care

In case of flight cancellation the airline must take care of you. You are entitled to some essentials such as food, refreshments and communications. You are also entitled to hotel accommodation and airport transfer when you have a long delay that requires an overnight stay. All essentials provided fall under the right to care and are completely unrelated to your flight cancellation compensation. You can still claim the financial compensation you are entitled to.

Right of Reimbursement And Re-routing

According to EC261 the airline should offer you one of the following: Full or partial refund of your ticket price and a return flight to your point of departure if you refuse re-routing. – Alternative transportation to your final destination on the first flight available.This does not affect your eligibility to claim compensation for cancelled flight. Do not wave your financial compensation rights by accepting air miles or travel vouchers.

Upgrades And Downgrades

If there is a case were the only available seats in an alternative flight are higher class compared to your reservation, you have the right to travel for the same amount of money and the airline should not want more. You can still claim your compensation. If you have a reservation for first or business class, but the airline offers lower class seats, you can request a refund of thirty to seventy-five percent of the amount you paid.