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Coronavirus: Can You Get a Compensation for a Cancelled Flight?

According to official data from China, over 130 people have already succumbed to the notorious Coronavirus, with more than 6,000 confirmed cases.

As the virus spreads and has been detected in over 15 countries, some airlines have taken extraordinary measures of precaution and cancelled their flights to and from China, while travel to Wuhan, the capital city of the Hubei province has been severely restricted.

What airlines have cancelled their flights to China?

British Airways was the first airline to announce the cancellation of their flights to China. They were followed by Lion Air of Indonesia and Air Seoul.

Other airlines have taken similar measures:

  • United Airlines has suspended over 20 of their flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
  • Air Canada stopped over 30 flights to China
  • Cathay Pacific is reducing their number of flight to China by 50% until March

The cancellations come both as a result of a sudden drop in demand of flight to China from travellers and the desire of the airlines to protect their crew and passengers from the possible exposition to the Coronavirus.

Can you get a compensation if your flight was cancelled because of the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus falls under what air regulations refer to as "extraordinary circumstances". The cancellations are the result of security measures that have become necessary, considering the deadly impact of the flu-like virus.

Since airline cannot be held responsible, they are not obligated to pay compensation to their passengers for the cancellation of their flights. Some of them, like British Airways, have offered refunds on their cancelled flights to China.

What to do if you have a flight to China?

If you're planning to travel to China or have already bought tickets, we strongly recommend that to postpone your travel plans. If the airline doesn't cancel the flight, consider getting in touch with them and requesting a refund for your flight.

The US government has expanded its travel warning to all China, not only Wuhan. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indeed set the travel warning to its highest alert level, level 3. Citizens are urged to cancel non-essential trips to China.

Flight Cancellations and Right to Compensation

As mentioned, the Coronavirus is regarded as an extraordinary circumstance, meaning that passengers whose flight is cancelled as a result of it are not entitled to compensation.

That being said, if your flight was delayed for another reason, you may be entitled to up to $660 in compensation for your cancelled flight (600€, under EU law).

If this happened to you, you can check your flight to know if you're eligible:


Travel safe!

Thomas Busson

Thomas Busson

Thomas is a Passenger Rights and Flight Compensation expert. Frequent traveller, he loves sharing tips and news to help people make the most of travel.

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Coronavirus: Can You Get a Compensation for a Cancelled Flight?
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