Flight Cancellation: Guide On How To Get A Compensation

Flight cancellation problem? Have you ever experienced having your flight cancelled by an airline?

It is the most annoying and stressful situation when travelling. Most budget airlines have a notorious reputation for flight cancellations. However, even the premium airlines cancel flights.

I have had my fair share of this horrific experience.

Read More: Tips On How To Avoid Jet Lag On Long Haul Flights

One example of this was when I was flying back from Edinburgh with a friend of mine after a weekend trip.  Our flight was meant to leave around 6 pm but it was delayed by 3 hours. We patiently waited at the airport for our flight announcement.

Finally, the plane arrived and was turned around by the crew ready for the next flight out of Edinburgh.

Inside the Airplane Cabin

We all boarded the plane as planned, the doors were closed and again we waited for almost an hour. Then the captain made an announcement that there was a technical fault on the plane and we had to make our way back to the airport and liaise with the Swissport counter for an arrangement on our options on how we can get back to Birmingham.

It was around 10 pm now, the Swissport customer agent gave us three options that we can take from here. They made it clear that we would have to shell out the money and pay for whatever cost that we will incur and then claim it back with the airlines.

Our options that evening were:

Option 1: Catch the alternative coach to Birmingham from Edinburgh (6 hours bus ride!)

Option 2: Book a hotel and catch the first flight the following morning. We have to pay for the hotel then claim it back with the airline.

Option 3: Sleep anywhere in the airport and then catch the first morning flight back to Birmingham.

We were fuming angry and tired. We rang all the nearby hotels and they were all fully booked. Sleeping in the airport and catching the flight back the following morning seemed too much after the whole day of delay and stress.

My friend and I opted for the 6 hours bus option.  Around midnight, the bus left the Edinburgh airport to set off on the 6-hour overnight bus ride to Birmingham.

If you have had the same experience wherein the airlines cancelled your flight, here’s what you need to do based on my personal experience of filing a flight compensation claim based on the EU law to the airline.

Here’s how to get a compensation for the flight cancellation:

  • Make sure to keep all the receipts of ALL the expenses that you’ve incurred due to the flight cancellation.  You will need this for your claim.
  • You have to get in touch with the airline customer support and file a complaint about your flight cancellation.

Make a compelling letter or email about what happened. Include your route and the flight number. Include all the scanned copies or images of your receipts and boarding pass (if you have it). These will be your supporting documents.

Do I get a refund if my flight is cancelled?

A refund might be granted depending on the circumstances. There are “exceptional circumstances” and it’s not the airline’s fault. Cancellation caused by extreme weather conditions, airport strikes and/or other unforeseeable circumstances.

What are you entitled to if your flight is cancelled?

If your flight is from an EU country or landing in an EU country, you are covered by the EU flights regulations.

You can either have a full refund payment of your flight or a complimentary flight alternative.

If you choose the full refund option, you can only get the monetary value of any ticket/s you haven’t used. However, if you booked a return flight and your outbound flight is cancelled, this would mean that you can get a full refund.

If you choose the alternative flight option, your airline must provide you with an alternative flight option whether as soon as possible or at the later date. The airline must also provide care and assistance help such as food, drinks, communications (fair usage cost) and accommodations (if needed).  This is the reason you have to keep all the receipts so you can claim it back from the airlines.

How much compensation do you get for flight cancellation

Your monetary compensation varies and can depend on whether your flight is considered as short, medium or long haul flights. Also, the number of days notice of cancellation and the time duration of arrival to your destination whether it is more than 2 hours after or before your original arrival time.

Your monetary compensation based in the EU Aviation law and Civil Aviation Authority can range from €125 up to €600 max plus the care and assistance costs that you have incurred due to the cancelled flight. You can use a helpful services like AirHelp flight compensation checker if you need to see how much you could claim due to your cancelled flight. They will help you in your flight cancellation claims. 

The airline will sometimes offer you a travel voucher that you can use for a future trip with the same airline, it is completely up to you which compensation you would like to accept.

Read More: Do I need Travel Insurance? Yes, You Do And Here’s Why

Does travel insurance cover flight cancellation

Based on my personal experience, travel insurance can cover the flight delay and cancellation. However, your insurance will advise you to get a resolution and compensation first with your airlines before making a claim with them.  In most cases, the travel insurance will cover the compensation gap when the airline falls short of the compensation for whatever reasons.

Your travel insurance will also need all the evidence and receipts from your cancelled flights, hotels and other reasonable expenses that you have incurred due to the event.

What can I do if my claim is rejected?

If you believe that you have a strong case and the airline has liability and duty of care to you, you can challenge the decision and apply for an appeal. Most airlines and airports have an alternative resolution body, you can check which Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies will apply to your case.

I hope that my personal experience and the process that I took in claiming a compensation from an airline helped you in processing your own claim.

Have you had any flight cancellation before? 
Share us your travel experience in the comment box below.

Guide On How To Get a Compensation for a Flight Cancellation


Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

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