What to do when Flight is Cancelled
Many of us had a situation in life when the flight got cancelled and we did not know what to do and what we were supposed to do. In this article, we'll remind you of your rights as a passenger and give you advice on what to do when a flight is cancelled.
Why did my flight get cancelled?
The airlines are not always to blame for cancelled flights. Most often, flights get cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. A striking example of such a situation is the snow storm back in 2018 with 1000 London flights cancelled due to UK snow and storm Emma causing some airports to shut down.
Are you unsure if and why your flight got cancelled? AirAdvisor explains what are the flight cancellation checker tools available for you to always stay informed about the status of your flight.
Who is to blame if the flight is cancelled?
The first thing you should do is to clarify the reason why your flight got cancelled.
The airline is to blame if the flight gets cancelled due to:
- schedule inconsistencies
- lack of crew
- lack of passengers
- other situations in which the carrier is unable to prove and explain the circumstances that influenced the failure to fulfil his obligations.
The airline is not to blame if the flight gets cancelled due to:
- severe weather conditions and natural disasters (fires, snowdrifts, floods) as in the above example with London flights cancelled in 2018
- martial law and hostilities
- aircraft malfunction threatening the passenger
- Cabin crew or airport personnel strikes
The operation of many airlines is affected by the strikes. Back in 2019, flights to France cancelled because the French air traffic controllers went on strike.
In the same year, Scandinavian airlines SAS cancelled flights due to the Scandinavian pilots strike, and even the largest German airline Lufthansa cancelled flights due to the cabin crew strikes affecting in a total of 180,000 passengers.
Very ambiguous is the situation if the flight gets cancelled due to Covid-19. What to do when a flight is cancelled and who is to blame in this case? Most of the airlines met their clients halfway willingly refunding the flights. There are many exceptions though.
For example, Mexican airline Volaris cancelled flights from the USA to Mexico without giving any refund to their passengers and even making them pay a penalty for rebooking a flight. Moreover, Volaris cancelled flights without any prior notice or explanation!
What to do when my flight is cancelled?
If your flight gets cancelled you should try to calm yourself down first. Then follow these steps to get the most out of your situation.
You might also claim compensation of up to €600 (£520). Checking your eligibility was never that easy. Simply fill your flight information in our free flight compensation calculator. We will let you know right away how much compensation you can get.
Inquire why your flight got cancelled
Find out why your flight got cancelled. People usually start to crowd at the airline's information counter creating a queue. This is why we suggest calling the airline directly and asking them for information.
Keep your flight number or reference handy so that the staff can consult your flight information as quickly as possible.
Most airlines, such as British Airways, also have smartphone apps that you can use not only for faster bookings and rapid check-in, and to receive news and promotional offers but also for your flight's dedicated information on flight disruption if any.
First of all, complete registration to activate your airline app account, you can as well activate your profile with the help of your social media account. Connect with the social network linked to your account and ask fellow travel companions if they know anything about why a flight got cancelled.
What happens when my flight is cancelled?
When your flight gets cancelled, an airline must let you choose between two alternatives: receive a refund or choose an alternative flight.
If you have to get to the final destination at any cost, ask for alternative flights by calling an airline directly. You can do this at the airport counter but it will likely take more time and patience.
Once you are offered an alternative flight, an airline is responsible and must offer complimentary meals, accommodation (if an alternative flight is scheduled for the next day), means of transportation and even refund the reasonable cost of phone calls.
These complimentary offers only apply to those whose flight is operated by an airline based in the EU or whose departure airport is located in the territories of EU. If this is your case, the European regulation on the rights of air passengers applies.
How to get compensation for cancelled flights in Europe?
Each passenger in the event if a flight gets cancelled has its own rights, and each airline has its own responsibilities. All European flights are regulated by EU directive 261.
The broad term “European flights” refers to those flights that bring passengers to Europe (including UK and Ireland), take them away from Europe, transport them in Europe, and transport them through Europe.
When to complain if your flight got cancelled
In principle, if your flight gets cancelled and it is the fault of an airline, it should immediately refund the price of the ticket to passengers who do not wish to book another flight. Some airlines offer vouchers instead.
If you refuse, the airline must reimburse you for the price of the ticket within seven days from receiving the claim of reimbursement: it is the law. Otherwise, you can ask for compensation. Learn about your rights for EU261 compensation in case of flight disruption.
Nowadays, the common reason for cancellation is coronavirus and many airlines such as Lufthansa cancelled flights due to Covid last year. This was another reason for passengers to claim compensation.
In a few months after the refund request, some airlines compensated affected passengers, including Lufthansa paying out €2.7bn in refunds.
Check if you are entitled to compensation
If your flight gets cancelled and it is covered by the European regulation on the rights of air passengers, you can claim compensation of up to €600 (£520) from the airline. The airlines know this, but they will do anything to avoid compensating you.
For example, claiming compensation from Ryanair for a cancelled flight is not easy at all. The airline is reluctant to pay. Leaving aside the difficult times of coronavirus, RyanAir rejected almost 100% of compensation claims already back in 2019.
Thanks to AirAdvisor, you can check if you are entitled to compensation after the cancellation of your flight immediately. It will take less than 2 minutes.
No matter if you are claiming compensation from Ryanair for a cancelled flight, or your London flight to Spain cancelled, or you have French flight cancellations, we can help you to receive your refund.
Here are basic scenarios of what happens when your flight is cancelled and what you are entitled to:
- You are leaving London for Stockholm with Scandinavian airlines and SAS cancelled flights:
you are entitled to compensation, as the departure and arrival airports are within the EU.
- You are leaving London for New York and all London flights cancelled:
you are entitled to compensation because the departure airport is within the EU.
- You are travelling from Dublin to New York with Lufthansa and visiting Dallas in the state of Texas with Alaska Airlines. All your flights get cancelled:
you can claim compensation for Lufthansa cancelled flights since the departure airport is within the EU. Yet, you are NOT entitled to compensation for Alaska cancelled flights, as it is a flight outside the EU.
the good thing with Alaska airlines is that you can cancel Alaska flight for a full refund online if you purchased a ticket within 24 hours.
- You are having a roundtrip from London - Miami with Virgin Atlantic Airways for vacation and then travelling from London to Milan with Alitalia for a business trip. All your flights get cancelled:
for Virgin Atlantic flights cancelled, you are NOT entitled to compensation. You can claim compensation for Alitalia cancelled flights since in that case, the departure and arrival airports are within the EU.
Make the most of your situation
So what to do when a flight is cancelled? It is in your interests to collect as much information about the flight and flight cancellation as possible:
- booking reservation
- boarding pass
- proof of the cancellation (photo of the departure board, a mark on the air ticket about the cancellation or a written receipt)
- receipts for the cost of food and drinks if any, etc
Such information will assist in litigation with the company or in court.
To avoid a tiring process of claiming your compensation, ask AirAdvisor to help you out. We will collect all the necessary documents and will defend your rights at court if needed.
Our service is completely free for you. We only take our commission when we get your compensation.
Fly, travel and know your rights!