What is the applicable law that entitles me to receive compensation if my flight has been cancelled?
Receiving compensation for a cancelled flight pertains to EU Regulation no. 261/2004 (the “Regulation”). This EU law that establishes the rights of air passengers in case of flight incidents states that, under certain conditions, you are entitled to receive a refund of up to £475.*
In order to be covered by the Regulation, your flight must be either departing from an EU airport and operated by any airline OR arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline.
Airports in Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Norway also qualify as EU airports under these particular EU provisions.
It is important to keep in mind that you don’t have to be European citizen to be entitled to receive compensation.
How much am I entitled to receive (as compensation) from the airline company?
The compensation varies, depending on whether the airline company informed you on time about alternative flights and also on the time that the replacement flight is supposed to arrive at the destination (compared to the arrival date and time of your first scheduled flight).
The table below contains all situations that entitle you to claim a compensation and the sums that you are entitled to receive in case of a cancelled flight:
|Length of flight||Delay at destination|
(of the replacement flight)
|Up to 1500km||Up to 2 hours||£100|
|Up to 1500km||More than 2 hours||£200|
|1500km to 3500km||Up to 3 hours||£160|
|1500km to 3500km||More than 3 hours||£320|
|More than 3500km||Up to 4 hours||£235|
|More than 3500km||More than 4 hours||£475|
If my flight enters the scope of the Regulation, when can the airline company legitimately refuse my claim?
There are two situations in which the airline is not obliged to pay compensation: if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by “extraordinary circumstances”* which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken” or if you have been informed of the flight cancellation 14 days or more prior to your initial departure date.
But what about my ticket price and/or the connection flights that I have lost because of the flight that was cancelled?
In case your flight was cancelled within less than 14 days before the departure date, if you decide not to travel with any of the replacement flights offered by the airline operator you are entitled to a refund, within seven days, of the parts of the tickets not used.
If the cancelled flight is a connecting flight and you have already made part of the journey and do not want to continue with it, reimbursement is due of the total price of the ticket (including parts of the journey not made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to your original travel plan) within seven days and a free flight back to the point of departure.
You are not entitled (under the Regulation) to reimbursement of any other components of your trip such as hotel and transfer costs or re-routing to your final destination as soon as possible or, if you agree, at a later date. (If the airline flies you to another airport in your destination city then they must pay for the transfer to the airport you were booked for or to another close-by point of your choice).
How soon after the flight incident should I file the complaint?
For England and Wales, you can claim compensation for a flight cancellation that goes as far back as 6 years. For Scotland, the flight date can go as far back as 5 years.
The time interval varies from state to state, depending on each national law’s relevant provisions.
How long does it take before I receive my compensation?
A regular complaint usually takes about 2 or 3 months’ time to be solved.
However, if you take your case to the Small Claims Court, we estimate that your compensation will be paid within 6 months from the moment you first submit your claim to the airline company.