Know Your Rights – Dealing with Flight Cancellations

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It’s one of, if not the, most stressful situations to find yourself in when travelling. Whether you’re setting off on that holiday after months of planning, or on a business trip to seal a deal will a client, finding out your flight’s been cancelled is everyone’s worst nightmare.

The problem now is what to do – understandably, many passengers are unaware of their rights when faced with a flight cancellation and it can be a daunting task trying to navigate the legal side of air travel.

However, as a passenger, it is important to know your rights and what compensation you can receive in this unpleasant situation.  The good news is that, in the majority of cases you are entitled to compensation; In fact, you can receive up to €600 from the airline.

However, not all cases lead to compensation, so before you contact the airline demanding a pay-out let’s make absolutely sure you’re entitled to claim.

Which Flights Qualify?

Firstly, a brief run-down of EU Passenger Regulations in relation to flight cancellations.  It’s important to note for which flights you can expect to receive compensation.  If your flight is cancelled at short notice, you should receive compensation in these three scenarios:

  • Your flight is within the EU (e.g. from Barcelona to Paris)
  • Your flight departs from an EU country (e.g. Hamburg to New York)
  • Your flight departs from a non-EU country to an EU country (and your airline is headquartered in an EU country)

So, if your flight departs from a non-EU country and lands in an EU country and your airline is headquartered in a non-EU country, unfortunately you would not qualify for compensation.

The next two factors to be considered are:

  • When you were notified about the cancellation
  • The distance of your flight.

Notice of Cancellation

The airline is required by law to notify you of a cancellation at least 14 days before your scheduled flight. If you are informed about the cancellation 7-14 days before your flight, the airline must offer you an alternative flight.  This flight should not depart more than 2 hours prior to the original departure time and should not land more than fours hours later than the original arrival time. 

When you are given less than 7 days’ notice of your flight cancellation, the alternative flight must not leave more than one hour earlier than the original departure time and must not land more than two hours later than the original time of arrival.

Flight Distance

You can calculate the compensation you are likely to receive based on the distance of your flight:

  • Up to 1,500 km = €250 compensation
  • Between 1,500 and 3,500 km = €400 compensation
  • More than 3,500 km = €600 compensation

Once again, the distance plus the cancellation notification must be factored in when making your claim; you cannot have one without the other. 

It’s a sad fact that many airlines will be reluctant to offer compensation – or will pressure the passenger to take the option which is the least beneficial to them and the most beneficial to the airline.  This process is confusing at the best of times – add the stress of air travel and it’s a situation where many passengers simply give up.

You can calculate what compensation you can expect to receive with companies such as MYFLYRIGHT, not only making the process simpler, but much faster and less costly than dealing with the case on your own.

Additional Services

More good news is that if you decide to take the alternative flight offered by the airline, you must be provided with additional services.  Included in these are free meals and refreshments as well as two free phone calls, faxes or emails.  Moreover, if the alternative flight departs the next day, you should receive accommodation and transport to and from the hotel free of charge.

So, all is not lost – even in this terrible situation there is a way out and there is a chance of getting the compensation you deserve.  Remember your rights as a passenger and you’ll be able to make your claim with confidence.

May 14, 2019 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized