Flight cancellations are no longer news but no one ever looks forward to an interrupted flight when it could have been avoided. If you are a frequent traveller, you would likely have experienced this at least once. It gets frustrating, especially when you’ve had your itinerary plans all laid out. However, you shouldn’t have to bear the consequences of something completely beyond your control.
If your flight ever gets cancelled and you weren’t informed earlier, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation depends on some factors such as your location, airline, flight distance, and reason for cancellation, among others. If you are in an EU member state, you may be entitled to compensation worth up to €600, following the EU 261/2004 regulation.
The EC 261 law, also referred to as the flight cancellation compensation, was passed in 2004 to protect the rights of air passengers. If your flight ever gets cancelled or disrupted in any way, this law will guide you to exercise your rights and get duly compensated. To be qualified for this compensation, you must meet the eligibility criteria, which include:
- You have a confirmed flight reservation and your flight ticket is not from a free or discounted voucher unavailable to the public.
- You were not informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before the originally scheduled departure date.
- The airline was set to depart from the EU or is headquartered in the EU or UK.
- The flight cancellation occurred within the last three years.
- The reason for the cancellation was within the airline’s control and not due to extraordinary circumstances.
If you checked all the boxes in the eligibility criteria, you can then go ahead to claim your compensation. Under the law, you are entitled to monetary compensation from €250 to €600, which is calculated based on the flight distance and not the ticket price. Apart from the monetary compensation, you may also be entitled to a flight reschedule or a full refund of your ticket price. You also have access to rights to care, such as complimentary food and drinks, access to a telephone and internet, and free hotel booking.
Many people don’t bother going through the process to claim their cancelled flight compensation, as they believe it’s quite complicated. However, if you understand the law and how to go about it, it should be quite an easy process. Follow the steps below to get started on claiming your compensation.
- Gather all relevant documents to be attached when applying for compensation. This includes proof of your booked flight and receipts that show proof of expenses incurred as a result of the cancellation.
- Know the reason behind the cancellation as you have to include that in your claim.
- Avoid signing any document or getting any vouchers that might waive your rights.
- Get a lawyer to walk you through the process.
- Contact the airline to get the process started.
It is one thing to understand your rights on flight cancellation compensation and another to exercise those rights. It can be difficult to exercise your rights yourself but there are agencies like Flightright available to assist you in getting duly compensated.