Flight Refund Complete Guide: How to Get Airline Refund Fast

This article has been reviewed by a licensed lawyer Anton Radchenko for general accuracy. This is for informational purposes only and is not a legal advice.
Last Updated:

Can I get a flight cancellation refund? What is the flight refund policy UK? How to cancel flights and get money back? Can I get a refund on a return flight?


AirAdvisor answers these and many other questions you might have about your flight refund. Interesting that, according to the EU law, sometimes you can be eligible for both flight refund and compensation


We teach you about your rights when you face flight disruptions and explain how you can get money back from airlines.

Check Compensation

According to EU Regulation 261/2004, each airline has to provide an airfare reimbursement of the original ticket or alternative flight in case of flight cancellation. 

The directive provides the rules and criteria determining when an air passenger can get a flight cancellation refund and, sometimes, even a cash compensation. 

In the article, we explain what are your flight refund rights in the event of flight cancellation. In many cases, you can claim both flight refund and compensation. Check now your rights for cancelled flight compensation.

young woman wonders if my flight is cancelled do I get a refund 

Find out if you are owed compensation for a disrupted flightCheck Your Flight


If my flight is cancelled do I get a refund? Things to consider

Can I get a refund for my flight cancelled by an airline? The answer is yes. You can get money back from airlines in case your flight gets cancelled regardless of the reason. 

According to the EU law, when your flight is cancelled, an airline must provide two options for you to choose from:

  1. Full flight cancellation refund, or

    an airline must offer you a full flight refund for all flights within the same booking.

  2. Alternative flight

    an airline must find you a replacement flight so you can reach your final destination. You can decide whether you would like to fly with the earliest possible alternative flight or at a later preferable date.

    if you don’t find a suitable alternative, you can choose not to fly and ask for a full flight refund.

If you decide to receive a flight refund, the airlines must provide you with the airfare reimbursement within 7 days. It must be paid via electronic bank transfer, bank order, bank check or by cash.

Learn more about your rights as a passenger and what to do when your flight is cancelled


Flight refund policy UK

British passengers also enjoy flight ticket refund in case of flight cancellations

The government of the UK included EU Regulation 261/2004 in the UK law as part of the Brexit transition. According to the flight refund policy UK, UK travellers can still claim a flight refund in the event of cancellation. 

For some itineraries, when the regulations overlap, the passengers will have the right to decide how their cases should be handled, per UK or EU law. 

Check your rights when you fly as described by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 


Can you get a refund on flights to and from the outside EU or UK? 

It is important to understand what flights are eligible for getting a full flight cancellation refund. The list of countries for the purposes of the regulation EC261 has been extended. In addition to the usual 27 member states of the EU, it also includes other countries such as Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and 9 special member state territories. 

In theory, you are entitled to a flight ticket refund in the following scenario.  You have a flight cancelled by Panama Copa Airlines from Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) to Miami (United States).

As a rule of thumb, you can get a flight refund for all flights operated by an airline. Then it doesn't matter if your flight arrives or departs from the EU. 

To simplify the explanation, here is a table with the flights covered by the EU law:

Flight Itinerary

EU Airline

non-EU Airline

within EU



EU airport - non-EU airport



non-EU airport - EU airport



outside EU



 Claim with AirAdvisor and get up to €600 (£510) compensation. Find out how much you’re owed today.Check Your Flight


Can I get a refund on a return flight? 

You are entitled to a refund for all parts of your flight ticket that you haven’t used yet. Let’s say you purchased a return flight from London - New York. Can airlines cancel return flights? Which flight refund can I get if the flight is cancelled? 

young man wonders can I get a refund on a return flight

Here are possible scenarios:

  • if your onward flight London - New York gets cancelled. You can get a flight ticket refund for both onward and return flights.
  • if your New York - London return flight cancelled: you are entitled to a refund of the full flight ticket cost unless you’ve already completed the outbound flight. If you’ve departed already, only the price of the return flight will be refunded.


Flight cancellation refund for connecting flights

Can I refund my flight ticket in this case? Yes. If you have made part of your trip and your connecting flight is cancelled, you can ask for both:

  • flight refund for cancelled connection, and
  • alternative connecting flight to the final destination

If the alternative flight doesn’t serve your original journey plans, you have the right to request a full flight ticket refund for both parts of your booking (used and unused). Moreover, an airline must provide you with a flight ticket back to the original departure airport at the earliest possible time. 


Flight refund and compensation: what is the difference?

There is one main difference between flight refund and compensation. You can always claim a flight ticket refund in case of EU flight cancellation.

On the other hand, you are entitled to compensation for EU flights only if your case satisfies the following:

  • you were given a notice less than 14 days before the departure date
  • your experience flight cancellations due to the airline’s fault (airline crew strike, flight scheduling problems, technical problem, etc)

The amount of your flight refund is always the cost of the ticket. The amount of your compensation depends majorly on the travel distance of your flight. In the case of a replacement flight, it also depends on the flight time.

It is possible to receive both flight refund and compensation at the same time. To be eligible, your cancelled flight must satisfy the before-mentioned conditions. 

If you are not sure about your situation, fill in your basic flight details. In less than 2 minutes, you will have the answer about your eligibility for flight refund and compensation and how much you can get. 


How to cancel flights and get money back?

to be sure about getting airfare reimbursement, it is better to get refundable flight tickets

Let's assume you would like to voluntarily cancel your flight. You can get a full flight ticket refund only if you booked a refundable ticket. However, airline ticket refund rules vary from airline to airline.

Thus, it is better to refer to the airline’s website or contact it directly for possible airfare reimbursement. 

Of course, if you know that your travel plans might change, it is always better to book refundable flight tickets. Even though they won’t allow free cancellations, you can still make the changes to your flight.

These flexible tickets would usually allow you to make at least one change of date free of charge. 

Interesting that, for all flights within the USA, you can get a full flight refund or change flight dates free of charge if you cancel your flight within 24 hours of booking.


Can you cancel a flight and get a refund UK?

There is no law in the UK about flight ticket refunds in case of voluntary cancellation. However, some airlines are still generous enough to offer their passengers a chance to change their trip plans. 

The UK airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways permit travellers to cancel within 24 hours of booking. By following these time limits correctly, you will be able to cancel your flight free of charge.


Airfare reimbursement in particular cases

Sometimes flights are cancelled because of the airline's fault or extraordinary circumstances. Sometimes an air passenger is the one who misses the flight. 

There are many situations when it is not clear if you can get a flight refund and compensation. Let’s take a closer look at some cases.  


Airfare reimbursement because of coronavirus

Can you get refund on flight tickets cancelled due to the coronavirus? Yes, you are eligible for a full flight cancellation refund. An airline must pay the airfare reimbursement within 7 days after the cancellation. You can also choose to rebook your flight for some future date. 

If you have booked your flight as part of a package holiday, you can claim a full refund of the package. However, in this case, you are not entitled to compensation since the Covid-19 is viewed as an extraordinary circumstance. 

Very often airlines and travel agents offer a travel voucher for the flight at a later date. The voucher acts as an alternative to a flight refund.

If a passenger signs a consent to use such vouchers, he won’t receive any cash flight ticket refund. Thus, it is important to always verify what documents you are signing before agreeing on any vouchers.


Can you get a refund if you miss your flight?

Can we get refund for flight tickets if we missed the flight? It depends if it was your or the airline's fault.

Unfortunately, you won’t be entitled to an alternative flight or a flight refund if you were late for check-in. You will have to pay out of pocket all expenses if you still want to get to the final destination. 

It is advisable to purchase travel insurance along with the flight ticket that covers possible missed departure. 


Flight refund pregnancy

a couple questions can you refund a flight ticket if a woman is pregnant

You found out that you’re pregnant after booking your trip and now you would like to cancel your flight. Can you refund a flight ticket in this case? The answer is no.

According to airline ticket refund rules, they are not obliged to refund passengers in such situations. Thus, you will have to pay cancellation costs for voluntarily cancelling your journey. 

Your travel insurance provider may pay the cancellation price if your flight is covered. However, this is only valid for situations when your doctor has advised you against flying. 


Can you ask for refund if flight is delayed?

Often airlines have changes in flight schedules that result in flight delays. Can I get a flight time change refund? It depends on the waiting time you are facing. 

You are entitled to a refund on flight delays if your flight was delayed more than 5 hours and if you no longer wish to wait for the flight. You can get a flight refund for the whole flight booking if you are about to travel, or partial refund - if you have made half of your trip already. 

If you can prove that you have missed the purpose of your flight, such as a business appointment, due to the delay you can get a flight ticket refund for all parts of your booking - used and unused. Moreover, you can request a ticket back to the original departure airport. 

many passengers ask can you ask for refund if flight is delayed?

The flight delay refund EU payment process is the same as the one for flight cancellation refund. An airline must reimburse you within 7 days after the delay.

It can also offer you a voucher as an alternative to a cash flight refund. So, once again, watch out what you are signing. 

How about compensation for delayed flights? You could claim an airline flight change compensation unless you abandoned the flight after the long delay. Check if you can get compensation with our free flight delay compensation calculator.


AirAdvisor: how can we help you to get your flight cancellation refund?

AirAdvisor has a long-time expertise in the aviation field, advanced technology and broad legal partnerships. This is a perfect combination allowing us to help each traveller entitled to flight refund and compensation

Our service is stress-free and risk-free for you. You won't have to worry about anything since we'll take care of all the process. AirAdvisor will defend your rights and you don't have to pay anything for it. 

The company works on a no win no fee basis which means that we only take commission when we win your case.

 If your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last 3 years, you could be eligible for up to €600 (£510) in compensationCheck Your Flight

AirAdvisor is rated Excellent 4.55 based on 4412 reviews

We'll help you get compensation for last 3 years, if your flight was delayed, cancelled or if you were denied boarding.

Check Compensation

this takes few minutes

4.55 out of 5
"Excellent" - 
4412 reviews
CNN Logo
NBC Logo
USA Today Logo
CBS News logo