According to the EU Regulation 261/2004 (EC 261), passengers can claim up to 600€ per person in compensation for their cancelled flight.
The EU law is the reference when it comes to determining how much you're entitled to for the cancellation of your flight.
While flight cancellation rules are simple in theory, it's actually not that easy to know how much you can claim without a flight compensation calculator. Especially if you fall into one of the specific cases.
Here's what we'll cover in this post:
- How Much Can I Claim in Compensation for a Cancelled Flight?
- Specific Cases of Flight Cancellations: What is the Compensation Amount?
- How to Get a Cancelled Flight Compensation?
You can already check how much the airline owes you for the cancellation of your flight by filling in your flight details in our Compensation Calculator. In less than 3 minutes, you'll know the amount you can claim.
Your EU flight cancellation rights state that you can claim between 125€ and 600€.
Before trying to calculate the compensation amount, you need to make sure your entitled to a compensation.
You can check in more details everything you need to know in our complete guide on cancelled flight compensation, including the essentials to determine if you're eligible, but here's a summary of the situations in which you should get compensated:
- If you were notified about the cancellation 7 to 14 days prior to departure, and your rerouting flight departed 2 hours earlier or more and arrived 4 hours later or more compared to the original flight, you're entitled to compensation.
- If you were notified about the cancellation less than 7 days prior to departure or not at all, and your rerouting flight departed 1 hours earlier or more and arrived 2 hours later or more compared to the original flight, you're entitled to compensation.
- If you were notified about the cancellation within 14 days before departure and were not provided an alternate flight, you're entitled to compensation.
Now, assuming that you are indeed eligible, you need to determine exactly how much the airline owes you. The EU law uses several criteria for that.
To determine your compensation amount, you first need to check when you were notified about the cancellation. It will vary depending on whether the airline notified you:
- More than 14 days in advance (in this case, no compensation is due)
- Between 7 and 14 days prior to the flight
- Less than 7 days or not at all (you discovered that your flight was cancelled at the airport)
Then, we need to know whether you were offered a rerouting or not and the specifics of this rerouting flight compared to the original one. That's the second factor. It doesn't change the amount, but it will influence both your eligibility and the compensation amount.
The distance of the flight from your point of departure to your final destination is the third factor required to calculate the compensation amount. As a general rule, you can get:
- 250€ for flights shorter than 1,500km
- 400€ for flights between 1,500 and 3,500km
- 600€ for flights longer than 3,500km
However, these amounts can be reduced by 50% depending on the length of the delay: that's the fourth and final criteria. Your flight needs to be delayed by at least 3 hours for you to be eligible.
For example, if your flight from London to New York (more than 3,500km) is delayed by more than 3 hours but less than 4 hours, then you're entitled to 300€ instead of 600€.
According to European law, if you were notified about the cancellation between 7 and 14 days prior to departure and offered a rerouting, the compensation amounts are as follow:
|Flight distance||Departure and arrival (rerouting)||Compensation amount|
|Less than 1,500km||Departure 2h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 2 hours or less later than original flight||125€|
|Departure 2h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 2 hours or more later than original flight||250€|
|Arrival at least 4 hours later than original flight||250€|
|1,500-3,500km||Departure 2h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 3 hours or less later than original flight||200€|
|Departure 2h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 3-4 hours later than original flight||400€|
|Arrival at least 4 hours later than original flight||400€|
|More than 3,500km||Departure 2h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 4 hours or less later than original flight||300€|
|Arrival at least 4 hours later than original flight||600€|
Here it is as a picture:
Were you in this situation? Check your flight now!
By the way, if your flight was cancelled because of coronavirus, you can't get compensation for the cancellation.
Check out the bottom of this post to learn more on the topic!
If you were notified about the cancellation less than 7 days prior to departure (or at the airport, meaning that you were not notified) and offered a rerouting, the compensation amounts are as follow:
|Flight distance||Departure and arrival (rerouting)||Compensation amount|
|Less than 1,500km||Departure 1h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 2 hours or less later than original flight||125€|
|Arrival at least 2 hours later than original flight||250€|
|1,500-3,500km||Departure 1h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 3 hours or less later than original flight||200€|
|Arrival at least 3 hours later than original flight||400€|
|More than 3,500km||Departure 1h or more earlier than original flight AND arrival 4 hours or less later than original flight||300€|
|Arrival at least 3 hours later than original flight||600€|
And as a picture again:
Was you flight cancelled? Check if you can get compensated by the airline.
Keep in mind that should your flight be cancelled by extraordinary circumstances, you are not entitled to compensation.
As per EC261, airlines are only liable to compensate their passengers if they were indeed responsible for the disruption.
This means that no compensation is due, for instance, if the flight was cancelled due to air traffic control restrictions (ATC), adverse weather conditions (very bad weather like hurricanes or snowstorms), airport strikes, security risks at the airport, etc.
An intra-community flight is a flight between two members of the EU. Those more than 3,500km are an exception because they are treated as though they were between 1,500 and 3,500km when it comes to determining your compensation amount.
(Note that this rule is valid to calculate the compensation amount for your delayed flight too.)
This applies mostly to flights between "continental EU" and an overseas territory such as La Reunion, Martinique, etc.
How to know the amount of your compensation for an intra-community flight longer than 3,500km?
In the table above, look at the row "1,500-3,500km" instead of "More than 3,500km".
If your flight was cancelled during a business trip, you might be wondering who should get the compensation? The person who travelled or the company (which paid for the ticket)?
The compensation goes to the passenger. And the amount is calculated as for a non-business trip. Take a look at the tables above to know how much you can claim and read our post on business trips to know more on the topic.
If you were travelling with a baby when your flight was cancelled, know that even if you are entitled to compensation, your baby may not be.
For starters, babies under the age of 2 are not entitled to compensation. To be eligible, the following conditions must be met:
- your baby had a seat of their own (they were not travelling on your lap), AND
- you paid a fee for the ticket of your baby (it was not free)
Learn more about flight compensation rights for babies.
1. Make sure your flight qualifies
To be eligible under EU law, your flight was either supposed to:
- Depart from the European Union, or
- Arrive in the EU and be operated by an EU airline
You WON'T be eligible under EC261 if your flight was supposed to arrive in the EU but was operated by a non-EU airline
Note: For the EU regulation, "European Union" includes also overseas territories such as Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion Island, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
2. Keep all your travel documents and receipts
Documents with your flight number and PNR, like boarding pass, booking confirmation, and eticket must NOT be thrown away. The airline will request a proof that you were indeed booked on the flight.
Don't think for a minute that the fact that the airline staff obviously have this information in their system will be enough. A missing boarding pass can be the difference between a secured compensation for cancelled flight and a day of intense regret.
If the flight cancellation forces you to stay longer at the airport while waiting for an alternative flight, make sure to keep the receipts of the additional expenses that the long delay may cause.
But keep in mind that as per your air passenger rights, the airline must provide a meal and refreshment if you have to wait for your replacement flight longer than 2 hours. They can also give you access to phone calls if necessary.
3. Ask the reason for the cancellation
You need to know why your flight was cancelled to determine whether you're eligible for compensation or not.
In short, if the airline was responsible for the flight cancellation, you can claim the amount planned by the EU regulation. This includes excuses such as "technical problems" or "mechanical issues".
However, if the flight was cancelled for reasons out of the airline's control, you won't be eligible. Those are the "extraordinary circumstances" mentioned above.
4. Check the delay at arrival
The airline might rebook you on a replacement flight. If they do, check the arrival time at your final destination and calculate how late you arrive compared to your initial flight.
Keep in mind that it isn't the departure time at take off that matters to determine your right to submit a compensation claim or the amount of compensation, but the time of arrival.
If it's at least 2 hours, you could get a flight cancellation compensation.
5. Submit a compensation claim for the cancellation
You have several alternatives here.
The first is to contact the airline yourself by writing to their customer support team. If the airline accepts to pay, perfect! But for most passengers, it's not that simple. The airline is likely to try to avoid paying what they owe you, either by abusing your lack of knowledge about your air passenger rights or by dragging the whole process over a long time in the hope that you give up.
Alternatively, you could directly ask the help of a lawyer, but their fees are so high that you will hardly get any money for yourself - assuming that you win the case.
That's why your best bet is to let us handle your cancelled flight compensation claim for you. In less than 3 minutes, you'll know if you're eligible and we'll have everything we need to claim the compensation on your behalf. We work on a "no win, no fee" basis, so even if we don't secure your money, you don't owe us a thing.
Knowing how much the airline owes you is critical to make sure that your passenger rights are respected.
Airlines sometimes lie to their passengers, but if you know your rights, you're sure to get what you deserve, no less!
Keep in mind mind that a compensation is not a refund and sometimes, you can get both from the airline. Make sure to know when you're eligible to a flight cancellation refund too.
If your flight was disrupted, learn more about your passenger rights for flight cancellations and check if you're entitled to compensation. It takes less than 3 minutes and you could get up to 600€!
What is the difference between a flight delay compensation and a compensation for cancelled flight?
The compensation amounts are not calculated the same way, although they follow the same principle of being determined by the flight distance... and cancellations are not as straightforward.
For example, a British Airways flight delayed by 3 hours will result in the following compensation, according to the distance of your flight:
- 250€ for flights shorter than 1,500 km
- 400€ for flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km
- 600€ for flights longer than 3,500 km
There is only ONE exception with delayed flight compensations: if the flight was longer than 3,500 km and the delay at arrival between 3 and 4 hours, you get 50% of 600€. That's it.
Flight cancellation compensations have more of this type of exceptions. Please check out the table above under "Compensation amount" to know exactly how much you're entitled to or simply fill out your flight details in our Compensation Calculator.
On the bright side, you can get compensated for a flight cancellation when you arrive at least 2 hours late (versus at least 3 hours for flight delays).
What is the difference between a flight cancellation compensation and a refund?
Whereas a compensation is independent from the ticket price, a flight cancellation refund is entirely determined by it.
If you're eligible to a full refund, your airfare will be entirely refunded to your credit card or bank account. If you can only get a partial refund, only a portion of the price of your ticket will be reimbursed.
With flight cancellation compensations, it doesn't matter whether you paid your ticket $100 or 20€: the amount is fixed by the law and determined by the distance of your entire journey.
Can I get a compensation if I missed my connecting flight because of the cancellation?
A missed connection caused by the cancellation of the first leg of your journey can result in a flight cancellation for you... but there is one major condition.
To be eligible, you need to have booked your entire journey under the same reservation, not as separate flights. How to know if you did? Look at the reservation number of each flight: if it's identical, you've booked you flights together and you can submit a compensation claim!
Will my return flight be cancelled too?
It shouldn't be, no. When cancelling your flight, the airline will notify you if your return flight is subject to any modifications.
However, keep in mind that if you cancel your ticket yourself, your return flight will indeed be cancelled.
And if you're travelling during the coronavirus outbreak, check out those guides: