I had a flight cancellation, can I claim compensation?

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you may be able to claim compensation and get a refund under the Denied Boarding Regulation.

Cancelled flights: your rights

If you're travelling with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport, you're protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation.

The regulation states that the airline has an obligation to offer you assistance if your flight is cancelled or the delay is expected to go beyond a certain point.

Depending the length and circumstances of your delay you could be entitled to:

You can also use our free tool to claim flight cancellation compensation.

Am I covered? 

If you can answer yes to all of these then you'll be protected by the Denied Boarding Regulations

  • Do you have a confirmed booking?
  • Did you check in on time? Or if no check-in time was given, then at least 45 minutes before your flight was scheduled to depart?
  • Are you're departing from an EU airport, or from a non-EU airport and flying into an EU airport?

You also have rights under the Denied Boarding Regulations if your flight was delayed.

Refund or rerouting?

If your flight is cancelled and either departed from an EU airport or you were on an EU airline and landed at an EU airport. You can choose either:

  • not to travel, and get a refund of your ticket cost. You can also choose this option if the delay lasts for five hours or more but the flight isn't cancelled
    or
  • an alternative flight (airlines call this rerouting) to your destination.

You can claim one of these:

  • regardless of how long before the flight you were told of the cancellation
  • regardless of what it was that caused the cancellation.
If you're travelling with a non-EU based airline flying from a non-EU destination, the airline doesn't have the same duty to look after you. Check the airline's Condition of Carriage to see what compensation you are entitled to.

Your entitlement for flight cancellations

If your flight is cancelled and you choose to be rerouted, you can treat any extra time you have to wait as a delay. Under the Denied Boarding Regulation, what you're entitled to depends on the length of your delay.

If your flight’s delayed for more than two hours your airline have to give you:

  • two free phone calls, faxes or emails
  • free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay
  • free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required

If your flight’s delayed for more than three hours you're still entitled to food, drink, phone calls and accommodation. You can also claim compensation if the delay is not due to ‘extraordinary circumstances'.

If your flight’s delayed for more than five hours you're entitled to choose between being rerouted on a different flight or get a refund, just as if your flight had been cancelled. And you’re still entitled to claim flight delay compensation.

Can I claim compensation?

Compensation for cancelled flights depends on the reason for the cancellation. 

If the airline can prove the cancellation was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’, no compensation is payable.

Extraordinary circumstances are situations beyond the control of the airline, for example, security risk, political instability or severe weather that makes flying dangerous. Delays and cancellations due to a strike are also usually included in this category.

Although you are not entitled to financial compensation for flight cancellations in these circumstances, you are entitled to the meals, refreshments, accommodation and hotel transfers depending on the length of your flight and delay (as explained above).

Flight cancellation compensation explained

If your booked onto an alternative flight (airlines call this rerouting) to your destination, you can claim for the delay based on your original flights arrival time. 

Find out where you fit it, use a flight distance calculator to find out how many miles your flight covers. 

If your flight was cancelled less than 7 days before departure
Flight distanceDeparture and arrival timesCompensation
Less than 1,500km

Departure - at least 1 hour earlier than booked flight

Arrival - up to 2 hours later than booked flight

€125
 Arrival - at least 2 hours later than booked flight€250
1,500km to 3,500kmDeparture - at least 1 hour earlier than booked flight
Arrival - up to 3 hours later than booked flight
€200
 Arrival - at least 3 hours later than booked flight€400
More than 3,500kmDeparture - at least 1 hour earlier than booked flight
Arrival - up to 4 hours later than booked flight
€300
 Arrival - at least 4 hours later than booked flight€600
If your flight was cancelled between 7 and 14 days before departure
Flight distanceDeparture and arrival timesCompensation
Less than 1,500kmDeparture - from 2+ hours earlier than booked flight
Arrival - up to 2 hours later than booked flight
€125
 Departure - from 2+ hours earlier than booked flight
Arrival - 2+ hours later than booked flight
€250
 Arrival - 4+ hours later than booked flight€250
1,500km to 3,500kmDeparture - from 2+ hours earlier than booked flight
Arrival - up to 3 hours later than booked flight
€200
 Departure - from 2+ hours earlier than booked flight
Arrival - 3 to 4 hours later than booked flight
€400
 Arrival - 4+ hours later than booked flight€400
More than 3,500kmDeparture - from 2+ hours earlier than booked flight
Arrival - up to 4 hours later than booked flight
€300
 Arrival - 4+ hours later than booked flight€600

Compensation for a cancelled flight

If there are no extraordinary circumstances, you can claim cancelled flight compensation using our free tool in accordance with the Denied Boarding Regulation as detailed in the table below. 

How to appeal a decision

If you have an unresolved complaint about an airline, it is required to inform you about an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme that you can use.  

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hold a list of approved providers of ADR and the airlines they cover.

Please note the Civil Aviation Authority can only help you if the flight was cancelled or delayed within the UK, or was on a UK based airline.. 

Regardless of whether you choose to use the CAA, you still have the right to take an airline to the small claims court if you feel it is unfairly refusing your compensation. But it's a good idea to seek legal advice before taking this step.

If your flight was cancelled or delayed outside the UK on a non-UK airline, you will need to complain to the airline regulator in the country the delay occurred in.

Did you pay with your credit card?

You can claim for a cancelled flight paid for using a credit card and with a total ticket value of over £100, if the airline refuses to refund you. Use our template letter to make a Section 75 claim for a cancelled flight.

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