Flight Cancellation

Passenger Rights

If you depart from an EU airport or arrive in the EU on an airline based in the EU, UK, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, and your air journey is disrupted, you have significant rights and entitlements under EU law, which covers situations where your flight is cancelled/delayed/overbooked or you are denied boarding, are downgradedyou missed a connecting flight or your luggage is lost/ damaged/delayed.

One of the most important pieces of EU air travel rights legislation is Regulation (EC) 261/2004, which established rules for these rights below.

Whether or not you were notified of a flight cancellation in advance or just before departure, you are entitled to the following: 



The air carrier should offer you an alternative flight to your final destination at the earliest opportunity, or at a later date of your choice, subject to seats availability. If the air carrier offers you a flight to an alternative airport, the air carrier must bear the cost of transferring you from that alternative airport to the one on your reservation or to another close-by destination agreed with you.



This is due for the part(s) of the journey cancelled / not completed when the rerouting offered is not suitable.

Note that, if you make your own arrangements and book an alternative flight with a different air carrier, you may not be entitled to seek a reimbursement of alternative travel expenses under Regulation (EC) 261/2004. Similarly, you may not be able to claim expenses if your flight is cancelled and, as a result, you miss the connecting flight, which was booked separately. (If the bookings were made separately they are regarded as separate contracts and under the terms of the Regulation you can only seek a refund for the cancelled flight.)



Appropriate assistance in respect of meals, refreshments, communication facilities (two telephone calls, faxes or emails) and a hotel accommodation should be provided depending on the flight distance and in reasonable relation to the waiting time.



The entitlement and the amount can vary depending on when you are informed of the cancellation, the arrangements for an alternative flight, the distance of the flight cancelled and the reason of the cancellation, as follows: 

  • €250 per passenger for flights of 1,500km or less
  • €400 per passenger for intra-Community flights of 1,500 – 3,500km
  • €600 per passenger for all other flights

Note: If you are informed about the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure, the air carrier is not required to pay compensation.


Extraordinary Circumstances

If the air carrier can prove that the cancellation was caused by an extraordinary circumstances, no compensation will be payable. Examples of events which may constitute extraordinary circumstances include bad weather, political unrest, a security threat, unexpected flight safety shortcomings, air traffic control restrictions or strikes that affect the operation of the flight.

Note: A technical problem is not usually regarded as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.