Cancelled flights and your rights

If your airline is based in the UK or EU, or you're flying from a UK or EU airport, your airline must help if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

This is because your flight is protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation.

Depending on how long you are delayed, and the reason why, you could be entitled to:

You can 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

Choose to be rerouted or get a refund

If your flight is covered by Denied Boarding you can choose either: 

1. An alternative flight (airlines call this rerouting) to your destination.

  • If your flight wasn't direct and was cancelled part way through, you are entitled to a flight back to your original point of departure or to be refunded in full.
  • rerouting to your final destination at the earliest opportunity
  • rerouting to your final destination at a later date convenient to you.

You are also entitled to:

  • two free phone calls or emails
  • free meals and refreshments if it's a long-enough delay
  • free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required
When you're entitled to help during a flight delay
Type of flightDistanceHow long you have to wait
Short-haul

Up to 1,500km (932 miles)

Flight time is usually about 2 hours or less

2 hours or more
Medium-haul

Between 1,500km - 3,500km (932-2,175 miles)

Flight time is usually between 2 about 4 hours

3 hours or more
Long-haul

More than 3,500km (2,175 miles)

Flight time is usually more than 4 hours

4 hours or more

Your rights apply whether you're waiting in the airport, or have boarded the plane and you're stuck on the tarmac.

Or

2. Cancel your flight and get a refund. You can also choose this option if the delay lasts for five hours or more but the flight isn't cancelled. 

You must receive a refund of the full cost of the flight within seven days. But once you take a refund the airline no longer has a duty of care towards you and you can't claim back any further expenses you have. 

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.

My airline won't book me on a suitable alterative flight

If other airlines are flying you can try to rebook with an alternative airline yourself and claim that back as an expense. 

But this is risky, and we’d recommend taking this step only once you’ve exhausted all other options.

This may only work if your reason for travel is exceptionally time-sensitive, such as a child’s wedding or job interview.

Depending on the circumstances you may also be able to claim this successfully if you have to wait more than a couple of days for the rescheduled flight you're offered.

Importantly, do not cancel your existing booking, this will leave you in a much stronger position to claim back the cost of your alternative flight.

Your entitlement rights for flight cancellations

If 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, and how much notice you were given of the cancellation.

If you were given less than seven days' notice and your new flight departs more than one hour early or arrives more than two hours later than your original flight or if you were given less than 14 days' notice and your flight departs more than two hours early or arrive more than two hours late, you're entitled to the following:

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

Each affected passenger can claim compensation

Can I get compensation for a cancelled flight?

Flight delay & cancellation compensation calculator

If you travelled to or from a UK airport and your flight was delayed or cancelled, we can help you calculate what compensation you can claim for free.

Start your claim
Unless 'extraordinary circumstances' affected your flight, you can claim compensation. 

Extraordinary circumstances are situations beyond the control of the airline, for example, a security risk, political unrest or severe weather that makes flying dangerous. This also covers delays and cancellations due to a strike. Strikes by airline staff are not considered an extraordinary circumstance.

Although you are not entitled to compensation you are still entitled to the meals, refreshments, accommodation and hotel transfers depending on the length of your flight and delay.

How much flight delay compensation should I get?

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

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
DistanceDeparture and arrival timesComp.
Less than 1,500kmIf your new flight takes off more than one hour before your original flight, and arrives less than two hours after it€125
 If your new flight arrives more than two hours after your original flight€250
1,500km to 3,500kmIf your new flight departs more than one hour before your original flight, and arrives less than three hours after it€200
 If your new flight arrives more than three hours after your original flight€400
More than 3,500kmIf your new flight departs more than one hour before your original flight, and arrives less than four hours after it€300
 If your new flight arrives more than four hours after your original flight€600
If your flight was cancelled between 7 and 14 days before departure
DistanceDeparture and arrival timesComp.
Less than 1,500kmIf your new flight takes off more than two hours before your original flight, and arrives less than two hours after it€125
 If your new flight takes off more than two hours before your original flight, and arrives more than two hours after it€250
 If your new flight arrives more than four hours after your original flight€250
1,500km to 3,500kmIf your new flight takes off more than two hours before your original flight, and arrives less than three hours after it€200
 If your new flight takes off more than two hours before your original flight, and arrives three to four hours after it€400
 If your new flight arrives more than four hours after your original flight€400
More than 3,500kmIf your new flight departs more than two hours before your original flight, and arrives less than four hours after it€300
 If your new flight arrives more than four hours after your original flight€600

 

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.

Connecting flights

If a connecting flight during your journey is affected by a delay and you departed from the UK or an EU country, you can still claim compensation. For example, if you were flying from Manchester to Sydney, connecting in Singapore, but your Singapore to Sydney flight was delayed, you'd still be entitled.

How to appeal a decision

If you have an unresolved complaint about an airline, it must inform you about an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme that you can use to help get an outcome.  

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

You also have the right to take an airline to the small claims court if you feel it is unfairly refusing to pay you compensation. It's a good idea to get some legal advice if you decide to take this route.

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