Flight Cancelled? A Quick Guide to Your Rights

You may just be arriving at the airport, bags full of all those holiday essentials and ready for your holiday. Maybe you’ve been hiking in the Alps or exploring ancient ruins in the Western Mediterranean and you’re all set to head home and tell all your friends and family about your fabulous trip. Either way, when that word ‘cancelled’ appears on the screen next to your flight, it can feel like a disaster. An already lengthy trip has just been extended and it’s all beyond your control.

It can be easy to panic in this situation, but a good thing to remember is that you do have rights as a passenger. In fact, the European Union (EU) Passenger Rights Regulation is in place for just this type of issue – and just because it has “EU passenger” in the name, it doesn’t mean you have to be European to be protected. Thanks to this Regulation, in many cases you can get compensated by the airline.

It can be tricky to know if you have a claim or not, so we’ve provided a short run-down of the 3 things necessary for you to receive your flight compensation:

  1. Where?

Whether you have a claim or not is dependent on where you’re flying to and from. When your flight is within the EU, or is flying from the EU, it doesn’t matter which airline you’re flying with, you have a claim. However, in cases where your flight departs from a country outside the EU and is landing in an EU country, the airline must have its headquarters in the European Union, otherwise you don’t have a claim under the EU regulation.

  1. Why?

This can be a grey area and it’s sometimes difficult to tell who is to blame for the flight cancellation. You would think it must be the airline’s fault – as they’re the ones cancelling – but this isn’t always the case. Here’s where ‘extraordinary circumstances’ come in. These are situations which are out of the airline’s control, and which can’t be predicted – for example, if there’s an earthquake, or a sudden heavy storm. However, with something like a technical problem or the airline staff striking, pursue your claim as you are in the right.

  1. When?

If the airline lets you know about the cancellation 14 days or less before your flight, you have a claim. Your claim also depends heavily on when you leave on your alternative flight and when you finally get to your destination. If that alternative flight doesn’t fall within certain deadlines, depending on when you were told about the cancellation, you should get compensation from the airline.

In case you are not sure whether you have a claim or not, there are companies like MYFLYRIGHT and others which can easily and quickly check it for free and they can even take on your case for you. Even when your flight is cancelled, there’s no need to panic and you can take comfort in the fact that your rights are protected when you travel.

 More information on air passenger rights in the EU can be found here.