My Flight Has Been Cancelled, What Do I Do?

Picture this: You’re packed, your passport securely stored in your bag, you’ve triple-checked the oven is off and you’re at the airport in plenty of time… Yet, despite doing everything you can to ensure your trip goes without a hitch, your flight ends up delayed, or worse, cancelled!

Whilst thankfully this doesn’t happen all the time, knowing your rights and what you’re entitled to as a traveller can put you in a much better frame of mind should the worst happen meaning you can focus on relaxing and browsing the duty-free.

Packed Bags

So, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, what are your options? has created your one-stop checklist so you’re not caught out!

Before You Go, Check, Check, and Check Again

Before strutting your stuff to the airport, do yourself a favour and double-check your flight status with your airline. Then, once you've made your grand entrance, keep those eyes locked onto the departure screens. Being ahead of the game is the number one way to ensure your flight is as fuss-free as possible.

Checking flight departure board

Know Your Rights

Flying is complex, with many moving parts and teams working together to make sure you get where you need to be. However, as reflected by the Bank Holiday chaos, if something stops working, the domino effect can be felt for days. So, if the worst does happen, what are your rights?

We won’t list every scenario that could happen but here are a few worth considering:

  • If a flight is cancelled, you can claim compensation for the flight cancellation if the airline informs you less than 14 days before the scheduled departure, and the airline itself caused the cancellation.
  • If your flight arrives at its destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, you could be eligible for compensation, provided that the airline is responsible for the delay.
  • Additionally, if the delay results in long waiting times at the airport, the airline is required to provide you with complimentary drinks and snacks.
  • If the flight is cancelled through no fault of the airline, you are entitled to a replacement flight or rebooking, or you can claim back the ticket costs, including any additional costs for seat reservations or luggage. You do not have to accept vouchers.
  • If the cancellation occurs at very short notice, the airline is to blame, and no replacement flight is offered, you can claim both compensation and a ticket refund.
  • It is always advisable to get the airline to confirm the reason for the flight disruption in writing when discussing a ticket refund as this can help enforce your claims later.
Food at Airport

Airline Assistance - Not Just Peanuts and Bottled Water

For short-haul flights delayed by two hours or more or long-haul flights with four-plus hour delay, airlines must assist.

So, get ready to enjoy:

  • Two free phone calls, faxes, or emails (typically reimbursing the cost of your calls)
  • Free meals and refreshments (usually in voucher form)
  • Free hotel accommodations with those fabulous hotel transfers if an overnight stay becomes part of your travel narrative.

However, it's worth noting that airlines might not be able to serve up this assistance right away, so there's a chance you might have to foot the bill yourself. If that's the case, remember to keep all your receipts and stay within reasonable spending limits, don’t be tempted to book a five-star hotel and order room service!

Should the worst happen and you need to start the process of claiming compensation for flight delays or cancellations, you may find the process can be difficult and time-consuming with airlines often using confusing legal terms or failing to communicate. Employing the services of a business like Air Travel Claims can speed up the process and free up time that could be better spent doing what you love, traveling!

In the world of travel, a little patience and preparation go a long way. So, while you may face some unexpected turbulence, remember that you've got this!

Bon Voyage!