Legal Aspects of a Cancelled Flight - What Can You Do and What Are You Not Entitled to?

An interrupted flight, a plane delayed for undetermined reasons, a failure on the airport plate, or a simple delay ... There are many reasons for a flight being postponed. The important thing is to know what you can expect and how you should react to problems associated with a cancelled flight.

A delayed flight - information

If your flight is delayed, you should be immediately informed about this fact. Especially in a situation where the delay is reaching more than 60 minutes. If the following waiting period is prolonged, you have to be informed about it each time. It is important to know that in the case of a two hour-long delay the carrier should offer you appropriate nourishment. However, sometimes in the end you will see an information about the cancellation of the flight on the board.


A cancelled flight and the position of the passengers

A cancelled flight is always a problem. No matter when and where the information will reach you. For the passengers, the situation is the more difficult the farther from home they are. In such an event, the carrier is obliged by certain standards.

When a flight is prolonged by more than 6 hours
In this case you can apply for a compensation for the delayed flight and a return flight to the airport you started your journey from.

When take-off is planned for another day
In a situation like this one, the carrier has to provide the passenger with accommodation for the night in a hotel and transportation to and from the hotel.


Obligations of the carrier in the case of a cancelled flight

When it turns out that a flight has been cancelled, the reason for that fact is important. In most cases the carrier is obliged to inform the passengers about the next flights to the target airport and has to provide them with assistance adequate to the amount of waiting time before the alternate flight. The passengers have a right to get their money back and to a free return to the airport where their journey has started. It has to be arranged for the first possible flight.


Compensation for a cancelled flight

If it is found that a flight has been cancelled even though the carried could have avoided that situation, the passenger may be entitled to a compensation from the airline. The amount of the compensation is determined by international law:

In the case of flights under 1500 km, we are entitled to the standard 250 euro;
In the case of flights between counties of the European Union over 1500 km or beyond the EU territory over 1500 km but under 3500 km, we are entitled to a compensation of 400 euro;
In the case of other flights, the amount of compensation has been set at 600 euro.
It is good to remember that compensation is determined in a standard way and it does not have to be the final amount. That is why it is worthwhile to seek solutions that exactly mirror our own situation, since a compensation may cover not only our losses but also gains coming from the flight that has not been completed.


When are you not entitled to a compensation?

Nevertheless, you will not always be entitled to a compensation for a cancelled flight. It is a good idea to remember that you can get your money back only when the carrier has not informed you about the cancellation beforehand. If you receive such information two weeks before the day of the flight, you cannot count on any compensation. The situation is different if the carrier informs you about the cancellation a week before it is scheduled. If they offer you a connection beginning no earlier than 2 hours before and no later than 4 hours after, you are not entitled to a compensation.


Situations exempt from compensation

Of course, we should remember that some events are not covered by the right to compensation. Such an event is, for example, a volcanic eruption which paralyses air traffic in a large area. In the case of chance occurrences, usually connected to the weather, delays and cancellations of flights are normal and they are exempted from rules concerning the appellate procedure.


In a grand majority of cases, a cancellation of a flight means that we can count on a compensation. Even though the legal provisions regulate its amount, this fact does not eliminate the possibility of pursuing claims further and getting a much higher compensation from the airline. So it pays to know your rights and benefit from the help of experts in order to recover what you have lost because of the delay.

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