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What To Do When Your Flight Is Cancelled

Flight is Cancelled? Here is Your Expert Approved Roadmap

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
7 minutes read
Last Updated: July 22, 2024

More than 1,500 flights are cancelled on an average day - a number that skyrockets during holidays and peak travel seasons. While delays and cancellations may be an inevitable part of the travel landscape, you can still get to where you're going and even get a refund or compensation if you understand the right steps to take. 

Key Points

  1. You could get up to £520 (€600) in flight cancellation compensation if the airline is at fault for the disruption
  2. Accepting vouchers and signing waivers could eliminate your chances of claiming compensation
  3. You may be entitled to a full refund in addition to flight cancellation compensation depending on itinerary

Steps to Take When Your Flight is Cancelled

Get up to €600 (£520) in cancelled flight compensation when you choose AirAdvisor!

Get an alternate flight

If you’re near the gate, quickly make your way to the gate agent, and see if they can book you on another flight. Don’t be surprised if there’s a long line of passengers trying to do the same thing you are. 

If you have to wait, use the time to take these steps:

  1. Look up alternate flights on the airline’s app. Sometimes, you’ll be automatically rebooked on another flight, and if you are, you’ll find the information within the app. 
  2. Try calling the airline for help. If you can’t get through, try calling the carrier’s international help number because you might be able to get through more quickly.
  3. Contact the airline on social channels via messenger because you often get a response more quickly.
  4. You can also contact the airline for help through WhatsApp.
  5. Search for alternate flights on other airlines. Most carriers have agreements among them that allow for cross booking if there are no flights available with your original carrier.

If the line is too long, or if you’re in another part of the airport, you can also look for self service kiosks. You might not find these at every airport, but if you do, then you can scan or enter your info, and see if you’ve been rebooked on another flight. If you’re unhappy with the new arrangements, you can make changes at the kiosk.

Gather Evidence 

Because you might be eligible for cancelled flight compensation, it’s very important that you begin documenting your particular situation as soon as you find out about the disruption. Start by asking the airline agent what caused the cancellation, and make a record of their response. This matters because if the airline is at fault for the flight disruption, then you could be eligible for compensation.

But to support a compensation claim, you'll also want to take screenshots of the airline app’s cancellation notice or get photos of the information boards showing your flight is cancelled. The more supporting evidence you can collect, the stronger your compensation claim will be if you choose to submit one later on.

While you’re waiting, you can quickly find out if your cancelled flight is eligible for compensation by entering your flight details into our flight compensation calculator.


PRO TIP: You’re understandably frustrated, but remember to treat the airline agents with courtesy and patience. Afterall, they didn’t cause your flight to be cancelled. Airline staff have the power to help you, and they will be much more helpful to you if you treat them respectfully.

Check Your Credit Card

If you used a credit card to book your flight, then check to see if any travel insurance is offered through that card. Credit card travel coverage can vary greatly, but if you do have protection, you’ll be glad you checked. Depending on your situation, it could offer some much-needed perks if your flight is cancelled.

A quick and easy way to see what kind of travel coverage you have is to search the name of your credit card and “flight cancellation”.  

Flight is Cancelled. Basic care

Ask for Basic Care and a Refund

Basic care

If you’ve found an alternate flight that you’re happy with, then you can still request care compensation from the airline if you have to wait a couple of hours or more for your departure time. Also, depending on your itinerary, you could be entitled to cancelled flight compensation if you have to wait 3 hours or more for your replacement flight.

Regulations in the EU, UK, Canada, and the US, all require airlines to provide you with meals, refreshments if your delay is 2 or more hours and hotel accommodation if your flight is delayed until the following day. We suggest asking the airline to give you coupons for food, refreshments, and accommodation. 


If they refuse to do this, keep track of your receipts so you can submit them for reimbursement.


By law, airlines must find you a replacement flight or give you a full refund. In some regions like the UK and EU, you may also be able to get compensation for other flights on the same itinerary that are no longer useful since your initial flight was cancelled. 

If you were going on a cruise, for example, and the cancelled flight caused you to miss your holiday, then you could get a refund for any returning or connecting flights associated with your trip. 

Avoid Vouchers and Waivers

Airlines may offer you travel vouchers for future flights in place of a refund. If you’ve been given this option, be especially careful and read all the fine print. Vouchers usually come with plenty of black-out dates and other restrictions, and accepting one could cause you to forfeit your claim to compensation. So, be wary if you’re offered a voucher.

You might also be asked to sign a waiver, and while these may vary quite a bit, remember to be cautious about signing anything unless you thoroughly understand what you’re signing. As with vouchers, waivers could also eliminate your chances of getting compensated by the airline.

 Flight Cancelled What To Do

Start a Cancelled Flight Compensation Claim

As we touched on earlier, and depending on your itinerary, you could be eligible for up to €600 (£520) in cancelled flight compensation. The process of filing a claim can be complex, but if you’ve gathered supporting evidence and if the flight was cancelled because of something within the airline’s control, then you are in an ideal position to begin your claim. Just be mindful of the fact that you should send your information sooner rather than later, that some itineraries, airlines, countries, and situations may not qualify, and that it could take upwards of a few months before you get a decision. 

First, you’ll need to submit your claim in writing. The best way to ensure that you cover all the important points, is to use our letter template. When you’ve written your letter, navigate to the airline’s website, and look for the claims or complaints section. You can also search on the FAQ page for contact information. Next, upload your supporting documents and letter, and you’re done.

Does this all seem too time consuming? Or maybe the process is just overwhelming. Either way, we understand. In fact, more than {number of customers] have been in the same position as you’re in now when they decided to let AirAdviser help them with their claim.


If you’ve had a cancelled flight anytime in the last 3 years, let our team of legal professionals help you so that you get the compensation you’re owed. The best part? It’s risk free. We get paid only when you do. So what do you have to lose? Check to see if your flight qualifies!

The average annual salary of an airline CEO is £2.4 million

Don’t leave money unclaimed to executives


People Also Asked

What happens to your checked baggage when a flight is cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled, then your checked baggage will be forwarded to your final destination if you were rebooked on another flight. If you decided not to continue your trip because of the cancellation, then your luggage will be sent to the baggage reclaim area in the airport.

Can you get compensation if your flight was cancelled because of a strike?

It depends on whether it was an airport or airline strike. In most cases, you will only be able to get compensation if the flight was cancelled because of an airline strike, not an airport strike.

What causes a flight to be cancelled?

A flight can be cancelled for many reasons including dangerous weather, issues with air traffic control, airport or airline strikes, a lack of airline staff, scheduling problems, mechanical and safety issues just to name a few.

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