Airline Compensation For Cancelled Flights

European Union Regulation 261 was introduced in 2005 to provide airline compensation for canceled flights. Any passenger who intends to board a flight that's scheduled to depart from the European Union can claim compensation when that flight is canceled. Passengers can also claim compensation on any flight that's scheduled to land in a European Union country as long as it is operated by a European airline. There's quite a wide scope for claiming compensation in instances of cancelation.

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Your rights when airlines cancel flights

The European Union ensures airline compensation for cancelled flights under the following conditions: if you are rescheduled onto a flight at a different time from your original schedule; if a flight took off but had to return to the departure airport, at which point you were placed on another flight; if your flight arrived at an airport that wasn't the one you expected to land at. However, passengers are only entitled to compensation for rescheduling if they are informed less than 14 days before their scheduled departure. If the airline informs you before that, you're not entitled to compensation.

Airlines can avoid paying airline compensation for canceled flights if they can prove extraordinary circumstances caused your flight to be canceled. Extraordinary circumstances include decisions made by air traffic control, political instability, very bad weather, and security threats. Legal cases have determined that strikes are considered extraordinary circumstances, and so airlines won't compensate if your flights canceled because of industrial action. Technical problems with the aircraft and airplane crashes are not considered extraordinary circumstances and passengers are entitled to compensation if those occur.

AirHelp is here to help you get compensation for flight delays and cancellations. Find out what you could be entitled to.

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About AirHelp

AirHelp is the world's largest air passenger rights organization, here to help air travelers secure compensation for delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights.

We make claiming compensation easy and stress-free. Whether you are unsure of your rights, lack the time, or simply want an expert to handle your entire claim for you, AirHelp can help you get what you are rightfully owed.

We operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you can check your compensation risk-free.


Claiming Compensation for Flight Delays and Cancellations

How do you know when you should claim compensation for a delayed or canceled flight? Though the law can be complicated, we're here to break it down for you:

Delayed flights: you may be able to claim compensation if your flight arrived 3 hours or more late.
Canceled flights: you may be eligible for compensation if your flight was canceled less than 14 days before it was due to depart.
Overbookings: you are owed compensation any time you are denied boarding through no fault of your own — so long as you didn't voluntarily give up your seat.

We should note that if extraordinary circumstances were involved, arirlines are under no obligation to pay compensation. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include bad weather, travel restrictions, and air traffic control strikes. Though these situations cause delays and cancellations, the airline isn't at fault, so can't be expected to offer compensation.

Remember these are European flight regulations and so only apply to flights departing from an EU airport, or flights landing in the EU with a European airline. The table below makes it clear which flights are covered:

Claim up to $700 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, canceled, or overbooked within the last 3 years.

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How Much Flight Compensation?

DistanceCompensation
All flights under 1,500 kmUp to €250 per person
Internal EU flights over 1,500 kmUp to €400 per person
Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 kmUp to €400 per person
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 kmUp to €600 per person

Table shows values in € as specified in EC 261

In some circumstances the compensation amount may differ from the standard amounts shown above. The easiest way to find out what you’re owed is to use our Compensation Calculator.


What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Canceled

If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:

  • Hold onto your boarding pass and other travel documents.
  • Ask why the flight was delayed or canceled.
  • Request food, drinks, and if necessary, free transport and hotel accommodation.
  • If you had a canceled flight, ask for an alternative flight or a refund.
  • Keep all receipts of any extra expenses you may have had, including necessary food, clothing, etc.
  • Be careful not to sign any waivers or accept vouchers that will require you to waive your right to compensation.

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