Flight cancellations and delays happen more frequently than you think globally, and the UK is not an exception. There has been a 72 percent increase in delays and cancellations of UK flights since 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t make it any better, as many flights had to be cancelled on the spur of the moment.

If you are a frequent traveller and have had to deal with a cancelled flight more than once, you understand how frustrating it gets. To protect passengers and reduce their chances of being treated unfairly, the flight cancellation compensation was introduced by the EU and is now recognized as the EU 261/2004 regulation.

What is the EU 261/2004 Regulation?

The EU 261/2004 regulation protects passengers against severel flight disruptions, which includes flight delays and cancellations. With this law, you may be entitled to monetary compensation of up to €250 – €600. You also have the right to reschedule your flight at no additional cost to you and the right to care.

The law applies to you if you have a valid booking ticket and you are departing from or arriving at a UK/EU airport. The eligibility criteria also includes when the airline notifies you of any change in plans. If you were informed of a flight cancellation less than 14 days to the original departure date, you should be compensated.

If your flight is delayed, you must consider if you were informed of the delay, how long you were delayed, and if you were compensated in any form during the delay. The airline is also obliged to compensate you with food and drinks while you wait and a hotel booking to sleep overnight. If you arrive at your final destination at least 3 hours beyond the original arrival time, you can file a compensation claim and get paid.

When Does This Regulation Not Apply?

There are some exceptions to the EU 261/2004 regulation. This includes when the flight does not depart from a UK airport, does not arrive in one, and is not headquartered in the UK.

The reason for the cancellation can also determine whether or not you are entitled to compensation. There are some extraordinary reasons for cancellations that are beyond the airline’s control such as bad weather conditions like hurricanes, in which case the airline can’t compensate you.

If it was a delayed flight but you checked in late – less than 45 mins before departure – you also may not be entitled to compensation.  And if you got a free plane ticket unavailable to the public, the compensation does not apply to you.

Bottom Line

Cancelled flight compensation might not completely fix the frustrations travellers get when a flight is cancelled but it covers some of the inconveniences experienced. However, to claim your compensation, you must first understand your rights under the EU 261 law and be sure it applies to you. Furthermore, you can seek the help of a lawyer or an agency to make the process seamless for you.