Canceled flight, what are your rights

In case of cancellation of your flight, you are entitled to the following (according to the EU Regulation EC 261/2004, article 5):

  1. assistance
  2. care and
  3. compensation, extraordinary  circomstances excepted

1. Assistance

Assistance after a canceled flight implies that passengers have the choice between:

a. getting a full refund (within 7 days) of the paid ticket price, for those parts of the trip that have not been traveled. If onward travelling is no longer useful, the flights already made must also be reimbursed. When a connecting flight is canceled, the passenger must also receive a free flight to the initial point of departure.

b. a re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at the earliest opportunity. Comparable transport conditions mean that extra switching and downgrade must be avoided. Times must match the original ticket as much as possible. All this is described in detail in Article 8 of the EU Regulation.

c. re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats. 

2. Care


Regardless the cause of the cancellation, the airline is required by law to offer you the following care:

  • a meal and refreshment, amount depending on time of delay
  • two free phone calls or e-mail messages

Besides, the airline has to offer, in case of a next day departure:

  • hotelaccommodation
  • transfer from the airport to your accommodation

3. Compensation

It is regulated by law (art. 7) that airlines have to pay compensation to passengers in certain cases after a cancellation. This obligation and the amount of compensation depend on, among other things, the reason for cancellation and the time of informing the passenger.
With some exclusions (see below), the compensations for a cancelled flight are:
  1. € 250,00 for all flights up to 1500 km
  2. € 400,00 for all flights of more than 1500 km between Member States, and all other flights between 1500 km and 3500 km
  3. € 600,00 for all flights not covered  by 1. or 2.

If you choose to conitinue your journey, the above mentioned amounts will be reduced by 50% if the new arrival time (compared to the original arrival time) will not be later than:

  1. two hours  for all flights of 1500 km or less, or
  2. three hours for all flights between Member States of more than 1500 km and for all other flights between 1500 km and 3500 km, or
  3. four hours for all flights not covered by 1. en 2.

The distances mentioned are the so-called “great circle” (as the crow flies ) distances between the start and end points of the ticket, éven when switching


Even with cancellations, your right to compensation expires, if:

  • you have been notified at least 14 days before departure
  • you have been informed  between 7 days and 2 weeks before departure of an alternative, which leaves no earlier than two hours before the scheduled departure time and arrives less than 4 hours  than the original arrival time at the final destination
  • the cancellation is announced less than 7 days before departure and an alternative is offered that departs no earlier than one hour before the scheduled time and arrives less than two hours later than the planned arrival time at the final destination
  • there has been force majeure, such as bad wheather conditions, volcanic eruptions, sabotage, terrorism,  strikes of air traffic control or airport employees,  closure of entire airport