You have been planning for weeks, maybe even months, and as the time of your trip draws nearer, so does the anticipation. Then comes that fateful email, message, or even change on the departure board CANCELED! Don't panic. Your flight may be grounded, but the airline is still responsible for getting you to your destination. Here's what to do when your flight is canceled
Under a European Regulation called EC 261, your airline must rebook you on another flight to your destination, or refund the unused part of your fare. When the flight cancellation happens less than 14 days before your flight and the airline is at fault, you might also be owed up to $700 in compensation. Additionally, if you're already at the airport you're entitled to care from the airline. That includes meals and drinks, access to communication, and accommodation when needed.
So what should you do to make things easier for you? Make sure to contact your airline to arrange your alternative flight to your destination (or a refund). Hold onto your travel documents in case you do want to make a claim and keep your receipts if your canceled flight ends up costing you extra money. Ask the airline to provide meals, drinks, and accommodation when necessary.
Check if you're owed compensation on our free Compensation Calculator.
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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.
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:
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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.
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
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