Flight cancellation compensation: Claim cancelled flight and get 250 to 600 € refund + expenses.
What are you entitled to if your flight is cancelled
To sum up, you are entitled to a compensation of 250 to 600 euros + any expenses + moral damages.
Flight cancellation regulation: Compensation under EU 261 Law and the Montreal Convention for cancelled flights
EU 261 law
- The cancelled flight is operated by a European Airline or…
- The flight departs from a European country even if the airline is not European
Flight cancellation compensation table according to EU law
|Flight Distance (Km)||Cancellation compensation||Claim for the cancellation|
|Less than de 1.500 km||250 €||Claim 250 €|
|1.500 Km – 3.500 Km||400 €||Claim 400 €|
|More than 3.500 Km||600 €||Claim 600 €|
It applies when these two circumstances occur simultaneously:
- When the airline is not European and…
- The flight does not depart from Europe
Flight cancellation compensation table according to the Montreal Convention
|Cancellation||Limit of liability||Expenses|
|Flight Cancellation||5.708€= 4.694 SDR ( Special Drawing Rights )||Hotels, taxis, tours, other missed flights|
Over 130 nations, including the USA, are signed up to the 2003 Montreal Convention. This specifies air passenger rights for several types of flight disruption, including flight cancellations.
The convention addresses “damages” resulting from flight disruptions. An example is financial damages. If as a consequence of your cancelled flight you had to pay for an additional night in a hotel, you should be reimbursed for this.
Do I Get a refund if my flight is cancelled?
You can get a compensation from 250 to 600€ for the cancelled flight and a refund of the ticket if you finally didn´t flight with the airline.
Example: Let’s say you fly with a friend from Madrid to France and your flight gets cancelled and you have to buy another plane fight. In addition, the airline does not pay for any of your meals and hotel.
The compensation for the cancelled flight should be: 250 € per passenger + cost of the flight (or new flight if it is more expensive) + hotel.
How long after a cancelled flight can I claim?
- Montreal Convention: 2 years
- UE Regulation: 2 to 10 years. It is necessary to read the civil code for each country.
Can I claim my cancelled flight directly to the airline?
First of all, if you want to claim directly to the airline, you should know your chances are very small, since very often airlines try to justify their flight cancellations with extraordinary circumstances that didn’t really happen, such as issues with air traffic control. Consequently, it’s highly recommendable to direct your claim through a specialized third party.
Extraordinary Circumstances and cancelled flights
“Extraordinary circumstances” may apply to a number of scenarios where the cancellation was caused by something out of the ordinary; things like:
- Acts of terrorism or sabotage
- Security risks
- Extreme weather conditions e.g. volcanic ash cloud, heavy wind or snow…
- Political or civil unrest
- Some strikes unrelated to the airline such as baggage handlers or air traffic control
Airlines often use these excuses to avoid paying compensations for cancellations such as:
- Issues with airline staff e.g. crew turning up late or understaffing
- Bad weather conditions (normally not true) affecting a previous flight, causing your flight to be delayed
- Denied boarding due to the flight being overbooked
- Technical problems with the aircraft (except hidden manufacturing defects or problems caused by sabotage)
There will be no right to claim a flight cancellation if…
- The cancellation of the flight is informed two weeks in advance.
- If the passenger is informed of the cancellation of the flight between 2 weeks and 7 days prior to the departure of the flight and the new flight offered by the company leaves at least 2 hours before the estimated time of departure and reaches the final destination less than 4 hours late with respect to the expected arrival time.
- If the passenger is informed of the cancellation of the flight on the same day of departure or less than than 7 days prior to the date and the new flight offered by the company leaves 1 hour in advance as maximum as originally planned and reaches its final destination less than 2 hours late than expected.
Documentation to claim a flight cancellation:
My flight has been canceled and I will not get on time for the scale or connection
In this case, there are two possible scenarios:
- Cancellation of a flight with a sole reservation that will connect multiple flights
- Cancellation of a flight that causes the miss of a second reservation that is independent of the first one
1- Cancellation of a flight with a sole reservation that connects multiple flights
When you hire a flight with stops in a single reservation that will take you from point A to point C with a stop on B, as it may be Madrid-Paris-New York, this is seen as a single flight and the airline must take you to your final destination. In this case, New York. If you face a cancellation, whether in the first departure or during the halfway stop, the airline is obligated to take you to your final destination without any extra cost, assuming the expenses of support and hotels, and will have to reschedule a later flight.
If, after this reschedule, you arrive at your destination at least three hours late according to the original schedule (which is almost certain), you will be able to claim a compensation (in this case, €600, since the canceled flight would be from Madrid to New York and said flight is longer than 3.500 kilometers). To this compensation for cancellation, it could be added not only the expenses you have to incur if the airline does not fulfill their obligations but all of the additional expenses you were not able to enjoy plus other damages like hotels missed at your destination, rent, cars, tours…
2- Cancellation of a flight that causes the miss of a second reservation that is independent of the first one
Sometimes, the agencies or ourselves, instead of getting a sole reservation with stops, get “separated” flights. This means different reservations. In this case, the scenario in front of a flight cancellation is slightly different.
Since they are two different reservations, the first airline is in charge of taking you from A to B and the second one from B to C. The fact that your first flight is canceled, does not obligate the second airline to take you to your final destination C since the contract of the reservation with the first airline states that it should take you from A to B. That is to say we are going to lose the second reservation since the second airline is not going to wait and does not have the obligation of offering another flight. However, and this is very important, since the first airline has caused you to lose your second reservation, along with the compensation for the cancellation of A to B, you will be able to demand compensation for damages for the cost of the lost reservation (or, even, the new reservation you buy to go from B to C).
That is to say, if you have two different reservations, the first one going from Madrid to Paris and the second one from Paris to New York, and you face a cancellation of your first flight and cannot reach the second reservation, you will be able to ask for €250 (cancellation of a flight of less than 1.500 kilometers since it goes from Madrid to Paris) + cost of the lost second reservation + expenses and damages.
If your flight has been canceled your compensation could be reduced to 50%
There exist some assumptions to be considered, in which the compensation of the objective part could be reduced a 50%. These are very particular and specific cases but, if you are interested, these are the assumptions:
- After a cancellation where compensation of €250 is granted, if the rescheduled flight arrives with less than two hours of delay, only 50% of the objective side will be up for claiming. This would be €125.
- After a cancellation where compensation of €400 is granted, if the rescheduled flight arrives with less than three hours of delay, only 50% of the objective side will be up for claiming. This would be €200.
- After a cancellation where compensation of €600 is granted, if the rescheduled flight arrives with less than four hours of delay, only 50% of the objective side will be up for claiming. This would be €300.
Other aspects to consider when claiming a cancellation…
The burden of proving of having informed the passenger of the cancellation of the flight, as well as of the moment in which it has been informed, will correspond to the airline in charge of making the flight. That is, the airline must show that the cancellation of the flight was notified.
After a cancellation, in the case of cities or regions where there are several airports, the airline responsible for carrying out the flight must offer the passenger a flight to another airport different from the one for which the reservation was made and must run with the with the passenger’s transportation costs from that second airport, either to the airport for which he made the reservation, or to another nearby place agreed with the passenger. If the airline does not do this or the passenger does not accept the relocation, the airline will be charged with the cost of the new flight contracted by the passenger.