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Flight Cancellations and Delays from India: What To Do

Flight Cancellations and Delays from India: What To Do

Amy Lancelotte
Written By Amy Lancelotte
Last Updated: May 09, 2024

In a Local Circles survey, it was recently reported that 70% of passengers in India had a rescheduled or cancelled flight in the past year. Now, even if you’re flying frequently, that’s a lot of India flight cancellations! In January 2024 alone India flights saw an increase of 4.69% over the previous year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, so this increase in flights is likely contributing to the problem.

Flight delay compensation in India has two sides. The first is the India-based regulations pertaining to compensation, and the other is compensation in regions outside of India, like the EU or the UK.

Making sense of India flight delay compensation doesn’t have to be hard work. We’ve compiled everything you need to know in case your flight to or from India is delayed or cancelled.

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Here’s a snapshot of the info:

  • Flight cancellation compensation in India ranges from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000.
  • There is no official monetary compensation in India for flight delays.
  • In certain instances of flight delays from India, the airlines are required to offer meals or refreshments and or hotel accommodations.
  • Flights involving a destination in the EU may qualify for flight disruption compensation between €125 and €600.
  • Flight routes that include the UK may also qualify for compensation from £110 to £520.
  • For EU or UK flight interruptions, AirAdvisor is the best ally. It’s our business to get you the maximum payout.

Compensation For Flight Delay in India

According to the Passenger Charter from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the airlines are not required to payout and actual cash for the inconvenience of a flight delay. But, what they are required to do is make sure you’re comfortable if the delay is long enough. This is called the right to care and involves refreshments or meals based on the delay length. Here are the rules to qualify:

Flight Length

Delay Time at the Airport

Up to 2.5 hours

2 hours or more

Over 2.5 hours, up to 5 hours

3 hours or more

Over 5 hours

4 hours or more

Additionally, if your domestic India flight is delayed by more than 6 hours, it’s the airline’s responsibility to communicate this delay more than 24 hours in advance of the scheduled flight. They must also provide an alternate flight within those 6 hours or offer you a full refund.

tip

In some cases when a flight is delayed by 24 hours or 6 hours for flights scheduled between 8 pm and 3 am, the airline must offer hotel accommodations.

Main lobby Gandhi Airport India

Flight Cancellations in India - Compensation

Unlike Indian flight delays, cancellations do trigger monetary compensation in certain cases. If you are informed of the cancellation less than 2 weeks and up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure, airlines must offer either an alternate flight or a refund - your choice.

If you’ve been advised of the cancellation less than 24 hours before departure or have missed a connecting flight booked on the same ticket, you can also get either a refund or an alternate flight. Plus you may qualify for compensation:

Flight Duration

Compensation Maximum

1 hour or less

Either ₹5,000 (approximately €55) or the booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel surcharge, whichever is less.

Over 1 hour, up to & including 2 hours

Either ₹7,500 (approximately €85) or the booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel surcharge, whichever is less.

More than 2 hours

Either ₹10,000 (approximately €110) or the booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel surcharge, whichever is less.

Additional Notes

It’s important to provide accurate contact information at the time of booking or you may risk losing your right to compensation. Also, if a replacement flight is offered to or from a different airport, the airline is responsible for the cost of the transfer, unless you were advised of the interruption at least 6 hours in advance of the scheduled departure.

EU passenger rights for flight delay claims

EU and UK Passenger Rights - EC261 and UK261

Cancellation and flight delay compensation in India is definitely not as generous as it is in the EU and UK. Since these two regions have the same conditions and compensation amounts, they are pretty much interchangeable.

For these regulations to apply instead of the India Passenger Charter, your flight needs to depart from an EU or UK-based airport. Alternatively, flights that depart from India and arrive in the EU or UK are eligible if the airline is an EU or UK-based one.

Additional conditions include:

  • Minimum delay time at destination of 3 hours for flight delay compensation.
  • Passengers must be notified of a flight cancellation less than 2 weeks before the flight’s scheduled departure.
  • Compensation amounts are based on your flight distance. If this involves the UK or EU and India, the distance should be over 3,500km, and passengers would fall into the category of the overall maximum amount of €600 (₹53,500). 

Want to file a compensation claim for a flight from the EU to India that was significantly delayed?

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Flight Delay Compensation India Examples

To make sure we’re all on the same page about which EU and UK to India flights (and vice versa) are covered, here are a few examples:

Delhi to London

The flight distance from Delhi to London Heathrow is 6,700km, and you can claim UK flight delay compensation from India if you fly this route with a UK carrier like British Airways. If we assume your flight was delayed by 6 hours, using UK261, passengers can claim up to £520. Alternatively, if you fly with an airline like Air India, the only option you have is to exercise your India Passenger Charter rights and get either a replacement flight or a refund.

Paris to Mumbai

Now we have an example that originated in the EU with a flight distance of 7,000km for a trip from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Mumbai. The EU flight delay compensation rules from EC261 will apply if your flight is delayed by at least 3 hours, regardless of what airline you take. In this case, flight delay compensation can amount to €600.

London to Bangalore

In this example, like the previous one, UK261 will apply to any airline when a flight is delayed by 3 hours or more. London Heathrow to Bangalore has a flight distance of about 8,000km, so again, you can file a flight delay claim for up to €600.

Mumbai to Delhi

This domestic flight is not eligible for EU or UK compensation. The flight time on this one is just over 2 hours, so while your India-based flight delay compensation options are limited, if this flight is cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice, a cancellation claim is possible for the lower of either ₹10,000 or the basic fare plus fuel surcharge.

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Since we are dealing with 3 different regulations here, the best way to confirm if your flight is covered by EU or UK rules is to use our free flight checker (it’s totally free).

Extraordinary circumstances like severe fog are an exception to flight delay compensation India

What Is Force Majeure?

Force majeure, also referred to as extraordinary circumstances is an exception to all the regulations we’ve discussed so far. This means that if your flight is interrupted due to something that is not within the airline’s control, like bad weather (dense fog is common at Delhi Airport), air traffic control strikes, or political instability, no compensation is possible.

On the other hand, if an interruption is caused by insufficient airline staff or poor aircraft maintenance, then you have the basis to claim cancellation or late flight compensation.

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How Common Are Indian Airline Delays?

Taking snapshots from 2 different days posted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, we can get insight into how often flights are delayed with India-based airlines and the general fluctuations:

Airline

On-Time Performance April 4, 2024

On-Time Performance April 17, 2024

IndiGo

80.3%

81.3%

Air India

84.8%

82.8%

SpiceJet

87%

51.4%

Vistara

80%

92.2%

Akasa Air

90.4%

91.8%

AIX Connect

81.6%

91.8%

It’s safe to say that most of the time about 80 to 85% of flights by India-based airlines are on time. But, as we see with the fluctuation for Vistara, certain days can be dramatically different where almost half of the airline’s flights were delayed.

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Need help with your India flight delay compensation claim?

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India delayed flights

How To Claim Flight Delay Compensation - Flights With EU or UK Components

When you need to know how to claim compensation for delayed flight instances in India that touch either a UK or EU airport, look no further than AirAdvisor. We have an enviable success rate of 98%, so we know how to get the airlines to pay. Also, 92% of our previous customers would happily recommend our flight delay compensation services. Here’s how to become one of our satisfied clients:

  1. Head to our website for assistance from one of our airline compensation experts.
  2. Give us your flight details and contact info (in case we have questions).
  3. Attach any supporting documents that you have that will help validate your flight compensation claim.
  4. We’ll get in contact when the claim is resolved and transfer your payout.

One thing to note is that we deduct a small amount (percentage) from successful claims to cover our costs. If for some reason you don’t receive compensation for your cancellation or plane delay claim, we don’t charge a cent.

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FAQs

How long can a flight be delayed without compensation in India?

Flight delay compensation in India is regulated by the Passenger Charter and for delays, there is generally no monetary payout required. For certain delays, passengers can expect refreshments and meals based on the flight time and accommodation for flights delayed by more than 24 hours or by 6 hours in the case of flights scheduled from 20:00 to 03:00.

Can I claim EU flight delay compensation from India?

If your flight was delayed by at least 3 hours and departed from an EU airport, you can claim late flight compensation up to €600. You can also claim the same amount if your flight only lands in the EU but your flight is through an EU-based airline.

How much can I claim for flight delay compensation in India?

The India Passenger Charter only offers monetary compensation for cancelled flights, and the maximum is ₹10,000 for flights over 2 hours that are cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice.

Alternatively, in the UK or EU, you can claim up to €600 for a flight that’s delayed by 3 hours or more if the flight distance is over 3,500km.

What is force majeure?

Force majeure is essentially a “get out of jail free card” for airlines. Also called extraordinary circumstances, force majeure is something that the airline has no control over. So, for example, if your flight is delayed in India due to bad weather, security threats, or aircraft manufacturer defects, airlines are not required to compensate passengers.

How long does it take the airline to respond to my flight delay compensation claim?

The flight delay compensation response time varies by airline, but generally, for simple, straightforward claims, you can expect an airline reply within 30 days.

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