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Updated: 5 Apr 2022

EasyJet and British Airways: Rerouting, refunds and compensation for cancelled flights and delays - what are my rights?

Easyjet and British Airways cancellations continue to cause chaos for travellers. We talk you through your rights to refunds, rebooking on other airlines, compensation and hotel stays.
Airport cancellations

In the last week hundreds of flights have been cancelled by EasyJet and British Airways, but some passengers have found rebooking or even speaking to customer service impossible.

EasyJet and British Airways have both cancelled large numbers of flights in the past week, causing mass disruption for Easter holiday travellers.

EasyJet cancelled 62 flights scheduled for Monday, after axing at least 222 flights across Saturday and Sunday, blaming the disruption on staffing shortages due to Covid.

British Airways is still cancelling flights after a major IT meltdown on March 30 led to massive disruption. It also cited staffing issues and weather related disruption.

Passengers of both airlines have complained on social media and to Which? about poor communications, with long lines for customer service at airports and long waits on the phone.

Some customers have also been told that the airline can't rebook them on to alternate carriers that can get them to their destination at the earliest opportunity, despite the law requiring them to do so.

Do EasyJet and BA have to rebook me if my flight is cancelled?

Yes. If an airline cancels your flight it must offer to rebook you on any reasonable route that gets you to your destination as close to your arrival time as possible - even if that's with a different airline altogether. The airline must also keep you informed of your rights to assistance and compensation you may be entitled to depending on the level of disruption you've encountered.

Neither EasyJet nor BA have been following this rule consistently, according to affected passengers.

Some customers, for example, have found that BA has only offered to rebook on its own services or 'partner airlines'. This is not allowed if an earlier service on an alternate airline is available.

It told Which?:

“While we were able to resolve the temporary technical issue we experienced earlier today quickly and resume flight operations at Heathrow Terminal 5, we deeply regret that we have now had to cancel some of our flights this evening. We are taking steps to ensure as many customers as possible travel as planned. We have apologised to our customers for the inconvenience we have caused them, are offering to refund or rebook them onto alternative flights, and providing refreshment vouchers and hotel accommodation where needed.”

But it refused to comment when we asked it to clarify experiences from passengers who had been refused rebooking on non partner airlines.

If the airline refuses to rebook you, you could potentially do this yourself but your carrier is likely to dispute this and you may have to take the claim to alternative dispute resolution or small claims court to get your money back.

EasyJet told us that it does offer re-routing options to customers in event of cancellations and aims to do so within 24 hours. It also clarified that it is unable to rebook on a customer's behalf. It said customers will not be refused the option to reroute with an alternative carrier where necessary, but will be advised they should book this directly, to be reimbursedu2026 And, as in the event of any cancellation, it is contacting all affected customers directly and providing them with their options which include rebooking onto an alternative flight, or receiving a voucher or full refund.

It said there are no restrictions on which airlines customers can rebook on, where an equivalent class of travel to their booking is available, and points customers to its delays and cancellations help page for more information.

Find out which airlines were voted best and worst in our latest survey

Should I accept a refund for a cancelled or delayed flight?

It depends. You can only claim a refund or rebooking - not both. Airlines are often quite willing to refund, as this is usually cheaper than the cost of a new ticket when rerouting.

You should pick the option that best suits your plans.

Regardless of whether you choose a rebooking or refund you're entitled to claim flight delay compensation if the delay is not due to 'extraordinary circumstances'.

What are my rights to compensation?

What you're owed by the airline depends on two factors: the length of your original flight (i.e. short haul, medium haul or long haul), and the length of delay you encounter in finally reaching your destination.

Compensation for delay
Flight distanceHow late arrivingEntitlement
Up to 1,500km (932 miles)More than 3 hoursu20ac250
Any flight within the EU over 1,500km (932 miles) or any other flight between 1,500km-3,500 km (2,175 miles)More than 3 hoursu20ac400
More than 3,500km (2,175 miles)Between 3-4 hoursu20ac300
More than 3,500km (2,175 miles)More than 4 hoursu20ac600

Generally speaking, if your flight's delayed for at least two hours and depending on how far you're flying, your airline has 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

Read more about your rights to assistance and compensation via our flight compensation? - advice guide. You can also use our Which? Compensation calculator to find out how much you're owed.

Claim British Airways compensation via the BA compensation webpage

Claim EasyJet compensation via the EasyJet compensation claim form

Is a technical issue classed as an exceptional circumstance?

No. This is important to keep in mind, because if an airline can prove your delay is due to an extraordinary circumstance, it no longer needs to pay out compensation.

Extraordinary circumstances are situations beyond the control of the airline, such as security risks, severe weather and drone disruption. See the full list via our flight delay and compensation compensation guide.

What happens if I am stuck overnight?

If a flight cancellation or delay means you're stranded and need to book into a hotel room, an airline must pay for your accommodation. Bear in mind that in practice passengers have reported difficulties reaching BA and EasyJet to resolve such remuneration claims, so these costs may take a while to recoup.

  • Step 1: Try and contact the airline first to arrange a hotel
  • Step 2: If you can't reach them, book yourself into a hotel. British Airways has stated it will pay up to £200 in total to cover costs. Stick to three or four star options.
  • Step 3: Keep proof of payment for your hotel booking, along with all other reasonable expenses you've paid out of pocket, such as late night taxis.
  • Step 4: Claim the money back via the airline.

For British Airways: claim via BA's expenses claims webpage.

For EasyJet: claim via EasyJet's expenses claim form

EasyJet Response:

u201cAs a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses, easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness and so we have taken the action to cancel some flights in advance, in order to give customers notice.

u201cWe have focused onconsolidatingflights where we have multiple frequencies so customers have more options to rebook their travel, often on the same day, and we expect to make similar levels of pre-emptive cancellations over the coming days, due to the ongoing high level of sickness.

u201cWe are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to customers on affected flights. We are contacting customers directly and providing them with their options which include rebooking onto an alternative flight, or receiving a voucher or full refund.u201d