What are my rights if my flight gets cancelled?

European Legislation 

This area is now much governed by European legislation. If you book a flight and this gets cancelled you will be entitled to some rights and benefits under European legislation. It is essential that you are aware of these so that you can claim your rights if your flight gets cancelled. The rights and rules given and prescribed by European regulation apply also to denied boarding or long delay of flights. This area is governed by EC Council Regulation 261/2004, known as Denied Boarding Regulation. This regulation has a direct effect and defines rules on the amount of compensation and assistance to passengers whose flight was cancelled, delayed or if the passengers were denied boarding. The air carriers are obliged to fulfil requirements stated under this regulation as it is a criminal offence to infringe any of these obligations. If you encounter a problem with your air carrier you could make a compliant to Air Transport Users Council or you could enforce Denied Boarding Regulation in English Courts.

Direct Effect

In European Law direct effect means that particular European legislation will directly be applied to and reflected in domestic English legislation and therefore has to be complied with.

Your rights

According to Article 3 of the EC Council Regulation, this regulation applies to passengers departing from the Member states of EU or from a third country to an airport in a Member state.

Third country

Third country is considered to be any other country which is not EU country.

Denied Boarding

According to Article 4 the air carrier can decide to deny boarding but before they do so they must ask if there are any passengers who will want to surrender their reservations. If there is insufficient amount of them, the air carrier is allowed to deny the boarding to the rest of the passengers for that particular flight. They will however have the right to claim benefits under Article 7, 8 and 9. The content of the articles 7, 8 and 9 will be explained below.

Flight cancellation

If your flight gets cancelled you will be entitled to the following rights. According to Article 8 of the Denied Boarding Regulation you will be entitled to reimbursement or re-routing. Re-imbursement must be within 7 days. Such a re-imbursement applies to the full cost of the flight which was not made but also a part of the journey already made if the part of the journey already made serves no good purpose anymore. Re-routing must be done at an earliest opportunity or in accordance with a passenger’s wishes but subject to availability. As in accordance with Article 9 you will also be entitled to refreshments and meals. If the carrier had done re-routing for you and a departure of a new flight is at least a day later than it was planned for your original flight you will be entitled to a hotel accommodation if the waiting time is long. You can also claim transport in order to get to the hotel accommodation from the airport. You can also be entitled to two telephone calls or emails or fax messages free of charge in that case.

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For more information on:

  • Compensation
  • Delay
  • Upgrading and Downgrading