Cancelled flight – passenger rights

• You are entitled to either a refund or a replacement flight
• You can claim compensation if you were informed of the cancellation by the airline less than 14 days before the scheduled departure date
• The amount of compensation is between EUR 250 and EUR 600 per passenger, depending on the distance of the flight
• You are entitled to refreshments and drinks during long waiting periods


The first steps to getting compensation for a cancelled flight

• Ask the airline to inform you of the cause of the flight cancellation, preferably in writing
• Collect relevant documents such as receipts and vouchers for expenses incurred as a result of the cancellation, including replacement tickets or vouchers
• Use our application to claim compensation


Compensation for cancelled flight

It’s important to understand that ticket refunds and compensation are two separate things. If your flight is cancelled by the airline, you are entitled to receive either a full ticket refund or a new flight. If your flight is cancelled after you have already arrived at the airport, you are also entitled to assistance. This includes two free phone calls, fax messages or emails, refreshments and hotel accommodation when cancellation requires an overnight stay.


In addition to ticket refunds and assistance, there are certain circumstances in which a passenger may also be entitled to compensation for a cancelled flight:

– If the airline did not inform you of the cancellation at least 14 days before your flight’s scheduled departure date.
– If the airline could have avoided the cancellation if it had taken all reasonable measures.


EU Regulation 261/2004 requires airlines to inform passengers of cancellations at least 14 days before departure. If the airline does not notify you in time, you may be entitled to €250 – €600 (per passenger), depending on the distance of the flight. The same applies to flights that are anticipated at short notice.

Tip: we recommend checking the “Spam” or “Junk” folder in your mailbox before claiming compensation, as notifications from the airline sometimes end up there.

The following table gives a comprehensive overview of the circumstances in which passengers may be entitled to compensation for a cancelled flight:


Notification prior to departure The alternate flight lands at its destination Entitlement to compensation
More than 14 days before Departure/ Arrival – irrelevant NO

7-14 days before

Departs no more than 2 hours earlier/arrives less than 4 hours later NO

7-14 days before

Departs more than 2 hours earlier/arrives more than 4 hours later YES

Less than 7 days before

Leaves no more than 1 hour earlier/ arrives less than 2 hours later NO

Less than 7 days before

Departs more than 1 hour earlier/arrives more than 2 hours later YES
Less than 7 days before No alternative flight offered YES

In some cases, it is not possible for an airline to notify passengers of cancellation 14 days in advance because the flight is cancelled at short notice. When this happens, we look at why the flight was cancelled. To make a claim, the airline must be responsible for the cause of the cancellation. Flights cancelled due to technical problems fall into this category, as aircraft maintenance is inherent to an airline’s daily operations and should not disrupt flight schedules. Sometimes, however, problems occur that are not the fault of the airline. Even when this happens, airlines must be able to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to prevent a cancellation from occurring.

Please note that EU Regulation 261/2004 can only be applied in the European Union. Your flight must have been scheduled to depart from the EU with any air carrier or to land in the EU with an EU air carrier. In addition, you must arrive at the airport with enough time to check in and board, unless your flight was cancelled before you arrived at the airport.

If your flight qualifies on the basis of the above notification periods, you are entitled to compensation if the following conditions are also met:
– The airline was responsible for the cancellation
– You checked in on time for your flight
– For your claim to be eligible for compensation, the flight must depart from the EU or if it lands in the EU, the airline must be based in the EU.
– Have you encountered these problems on a flight operated in the last 3 years

Here is an explanation of the compensation scheme, calculated on the basis of flight distance:
– Cancellation of short-haul flight – up to 1500 km – Airline owes compensation of €250
– Cancellation of a medium-haul flight – between 1500 km and 3500 km – the airline owes compensation of EUR 400
– Cancellation of long-haul flights – over 3500 km – Airline owes EUR 600 compensation

Note: the cost of the ticket is irrelevant to the total amount of compensation and as such you will be able to claim for flights with low-cost airlines. You can claim compensation of up to €600, even if the ticket price has already been reimbursed. If the airline provides you with vouchers/refreshments, this does not reduce its responsibility to compensate you.

Short distance up to 1500 km Average distance up to 3500 km Distance longer than 3500 km
Bucharest- Wien Bucharest- Rome Bucharest- Montreal
250 € 400 € 600 €


How long are claims for cancelled flights valid?
Each country has its own rules when it comes to how long you have to claim compensation. In Europe, for example, claims must be executed within three years. This means that if your flight was cancelled on 02.02.2020, you have time until 01.02.2023 to submit your claim to the airline.

If the airline you flew with is based in the UK, you have even more time to implement your claim: 6 years! The country to watch out for is Sweden, where customers only have two months to file a complaint against the airline.

Not sure how long you have to enforce your claim or want to check on a past flight problem you’ve completely forgotten about?
Enter your original flight details into DELAY.AERO’s free online compensation calculator and we’ll let you know if you’re eligible to claim compensation for your cancelled flight.

cancelled flight wizz air

What are “extraordinary circumstances”?
Sometimes, cancelling a flight does not qualify for compensation because the reasons behind the disruption have been deemed to be “extraordinary circumstances”. These are factors beyond the responsibility or control of the airline. These circumstances include:
– Closure of airports and airspace
– Political instability
– Unavoidable security risks
– Strikes
– Birds flying into the engine
– Adverse weather conditions

Extraordinary circumstances are events that cause flight disruptions over which the airline has no control. This could be a medical emergency or national strike, adverse weather conditions or air traffic control restrictions.

When an extraordinary event occurs, the airline is not legally obliged to pay compensation. As simple as it sounds, the airline cannot use “extraordinary circumstances” as an excuse to avoid paying compensation. The air carrier must be able to demonstrate that it has taken all reasonable measures to minimise disruption to flight schedules.

Following a thorough inspection of the case, our team often finds that there were steps the airline could have taken to avoid cancellation. In such cases, passengers may still be entitled to claim compensation for the cancelled flight.

Why is it so difficult to claim my rights myself?

Airlines regularly do not follow up passenger complaints and, when they do, opt to respond with standardised letters asking passengers with complaints to wait an extended period of time. Another practice of some airlines is to offer discount coupons, which are often much smaller in value than the compensation due, claiming that this is what their passengers are entitled to. In reality, European rules on air passenger rights are not well known and airlines do not always inform passengers of their rights. Without sound legal knowledge, passengers are often lost and don’t know how or where to turn for help in claiming compensation.

Thanks to our experience and expertise, we know the subtleties and pitfalls to avoid in this matter, making us able to assist you in obtaining compensation for your flight cancellation.

Procedure for compensation of cancelled flights

The first thing to do is to have confirmation that you are indeed eligible for compensation. This is not a simple process: getting access to flight databases, comparing your situation with other similar cases, checking whether European Regulation 261/2004 or other international air transport regulations apply to you.
In fact, for a person without aviation expertise and the necessary technological means, this can prove to be very complicated.
However, the simple alternative is to claim compensation with DELAY.AERO. To do this, simply enter your flight details into the “GET COMPENSATION” application on our website for free. The DELAY.AERO team will check the details entered and determine whether you are entitled to make a claim against the airline. From then on, DELAY.AERO takes over the case and you are notified when the airline grants you compensation. The DELAY.AERO tool analyses hundreds of thousands of flights, has access to a wealth of meteorological data and is able to check whether your claim can be settled under EU law or other legal provisions applicable to your case.

Your application will be checked for eligibility free of charge

Our network of experts and our experience in the aviation sector, as well as the partnerships we have, allow us to negotiate with airlines on an equal footing. In 98% of open cases, our clients have won the case and received compensation/refunds. Regardless of the outcome, we take all the financial risk. If we are unsuccessful in your case, for whatever reason, we alone bear the costs. When we win, we receive a service fee according to the Price List from the amount recovered. This protects you, the client, from any lost expenses and investment.

Rights in the airport, in the event of a cancelled flight

In case of flight cancellation, the airline is obliged to provide its passengers with food and refreshments. Passengers are also entitled to 2 free phone calls or emails. These benefits must be offered regardless of the circumstances surrounding the cancellation – whether it is a technical fault, bad weather or strike.
– Short distance (less than 1500 km) – free food and drinks and 2 free phone calls, e-mails or faxes
– Medium distance (between 1500 and 3500 km) – free food and drinks and 2 phone calls, e-mails or faxes
– Long distance (over 3500 km)- free food and drinks and 2 phone calls, emails or faxes

Flight postponed to the next day
When your flight is rescheduled for departure the next day, the airline will usually arrange hotel accommodation and transport to and from the hotel. Normally, the company should provide you with the necessary information, but it is advisable to get written confirmation from them. Finally, don’t forget to check all the details with the airline representatives before making a reservation yourself.