What to do if your flight is canceled or delayed? 2018

Travel Tips 2018

What are your rights if your flight is delayed or canceled? Here are our tips for dealing with cancellations and how to get your money back!

Traveling can be a source of hassle, even when things are going as planned. But when things go wrong, a dream trip can turn into a nightmare. On average, about 20% of flights are delayed by more than 15 minutes, while 1% of flights are canceled. If you fly to travel, there is a chance that your flight will be delayed or canceled. If this is your case, how do you manage this inconvenience, and most importantly, how do you repay?

How can I claim a refund for a delayed or canceled flight?

First, be aware that if you have difficulty filing a claim yourself with the airline, you can get help from startups specializing in the right of air passengers, such as Indemniflight, who can make claims with airlines on your behalf and get a refund for a flight delay . You can also find the claim letter template here to help you apply:

Template begins

[Your name, address and contact number]

[Airline name and address]


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you regarding flight [Flight number]. My booking reference for this flight was [Booking reference number].

This flight was scheduled to depart from [Departure airport] on [Date] at [Scheduled departure time]. However, the flight was delayed and did not arrive at [Arrival airport] until [Insert time at which at least one door of the aircraft was opened on arrival] meaning it was [insert number of hours and minutes] late.

The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Tui & others v CAA confirmed the applicability of compensation for delay as set out in the Sturgeon case. As such, I am seeking compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 for this delayed flight.

The passengers in my party were [List passengers’ full names].

I am seeking compensation of [select from €250/€300/€400/€600, depending on the length of your flight in kilometres – see information above] per passenger, due to the fact that the scheduled length of my flight was [insert number in km]. This compensation is per delayed passenger in my party, resulting in a total of [insert total in euros for entire party].

I look forward to hearing from you and would welcome a response within 7 days.

Yours faithfully,

[Your name]

Template ends

When am I entitled to a refund?

If your flight to or from a European Union airport is delayed by three hours or more, you are legally entitled to receive the same compensation as for a canceled flight. This also applies if you are traveling with an EU-based airline, be it Ryanair, Air France or British Airways (so it works for a Paris-New York flight with an EU-based airline).

Photo credit: Flickr – Craig Sunter

If you have been informed that your flight has been canceled on very short notice, the airlines will normally reimburse you for the inconvenience. However, the only circumstances in which the airline is not legally obliged to grant a refund are those where the flight was canceled for reasons beyond the control of the airline, such as a volcanic eruption, a strike or extreme weather conditions.

Depending on the airline you fly with, you can either get a full refund or an offer for a flight ticket for a flight from another airline to your destination.

Will I be eligible for a refund if I am waiting for a new flight at the airport?

If you have received a new plane ticket and need to wait at the airport for more than two hours for a short-haul flight or more than four hours for a long-haul flight, you should receive vouchers to be able to eat and drink at the airport. If the delay is beyond the control of the airline, you should turn to your travel insurance. Many insurances include refunds for missed, delayed or canceled flights. It depends on the company with which you have taken out this insurance.

Photo credit: Flickr – ARTS_fox1fire

Who pays my food and accommodation if I have to stay several more days?

Food and accommodation are only reimbursed by the airline if you are traveling with an EU airline or if you are departing from an EU airport.

Non-EU airlines should also host you or try to get you on another flight. However, they may not provide you with food and drinks. You can, however, try to claim these fees from your travel insurance. Accommodation is provided on a case by case basis, depending on where you are from, where you are stuck, for how long and if you have friends or family nearby who can accommodate you.

What can I expect from my airline if my flight is canceled due to a strike?

If the delay of your flight is due to a strike, the airline has the obligation to offer you assistance if the waiting time exceeds a certain point. This may include refreshments and accommodation. However, they are not obliged to compensate you after a strike because strikes are generally considered to be “extraordinary circumstances”.

If I miss a match, will I be refunded?

Unfortunately, if you book two flights on different airlines and miss the second flight because of the delay or cancellation of the first flight, you will not be able to get a refund for the second flight. That’s why booking flights with the same airline can be “beneficial”, even if it’s a bit more expensive.

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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