What are my rights if my flight is cancelled


What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?

It has been well documented in the media in the last few days that, airlines are being forced to cancel flights amid the current travel chaos at UK airports. In order to deliver an acceptable and on time service airlines such as Easyjet, British Airways (BA) and TUI have taken the decision to cut back on the daily flight schedule out of major UK airports. OK, so this helps them but how does it help all those passengers who have booked flights and holidays in advance, to find out 2 weeks before that their transport is cancelled and they face the prospect of disruption to their travel plans.

In particular it has been noted that Gatwick airport has decided, in order to cope with the current problems, that passenger numbers are going to be reduced over the busy summer period. Not the news that most travellers, planning a well-earned holiday post-pandemic, want to hear!

Understanding your rights if your flight becomes cancelled

When you find yourself with a cancellation, your flight must fall under one of the falling criteria for your rights under UK Law to take effect. Your flight must:

  • departing from an airport in the UK on any airline, or
  • arriving at an airport in the UK on an EU or UK airline; or
  • arriving at an airport in the EU on a UK airline.


If you arrive at the airport and your flight becomes cancelled, the airline you are flying with must provide you with care and assistance until you are able to fly, no matter how long the delay lasts.

Depending on the nature and length of delay, passengers should be offered the following where needed:

  • A reasonable amount of food and drink (usually given in the form of vouchers)
  • Communication – if you require making calls that are of an extra cost to you, this can be refunded
  • Accommodation – if your new flight does not take off until the proceeding day or longer then the airline must provide you with suitable accommodation until the flight leaves (usually a local hotel)
  • Transport to and from the accommodation, or your home if you are able to return here

Airlines should seek to offer care and assistance to ALL passengers but at times they can become stretched and may not be able to do so. In this instance you have the right to arrange your own care package and then claim the cost back. You must keep all receipts and do not spend more than is seen as reasonable. If you book a luxury hotel and purchase alcohol do not be surprised when they fail to refund you for this.

My flight has been cancelled less than 14 days before departure – can I claim compensation?

This very much depends on what has caused the cancellation. If the airline isn’t at fault and it is due to extreme weather conditions or for example an air traffic control strike, it is very unlikely you will be eligible for compensation.

Based on 7 to 14 days, notice of cancellation you may be able to claim compensation based on timings of the alternative flight given.

If your new flight given departs no more than 2 hours before your original flight time and your new flight arrives less than 4 hours after the scheduled flight, you are not entitled to financial compensation.

If your flight time falls outside of the above criteria then you are likely to be eligible for compensation at this time. We will provide a link to follow at the end of this section which documents tables of eligibility based on whether your flight is short, medium or long haul.

If your flight is cancelled with less than 7 days’ notice as with the above you may be eligible for compensation. This time the airline has to meet a tighter, criteria with your new flight in order for you not to qualify. If the airline is able to provide a flight that departs no more than 1 hour before your original flight time AND your new flight arrives less than 2 hours after the scheduled time, you are not eligible for compensation.

For all the tables of compensation figures and eligibility under UK Law click HERE

Rearranging your cancelled flight

If at any point your booked flight becomes cancelled at the fault of your airline you are travelling with, passengers under the rights of UK Law can choose between the following options:


Passengers are entitled to a full refund for all parts of a flight ticket that hasn’t been used. For example; if the outbound leg of a return flight is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket back from your airline.

If you are a passenger travelling with a connecting flight and you have completed the first part of your journey, when your connecting flight becomes cancelled, you are also entitled to a flight back to your original place of departure if you choose not to continue with your journey because of the unforeseen cancellation.


If you still wish to travel, under UK Law the airline must find you a suitable alternative flight. It is at your discretion if you choose to fly as soon as possible after the cancellation of the original scheduled flight or you decide to travel at a later date. Airlines will usually book you onto another flight they can offer to the same destination. However, if another airline is flying their significantly sooner or there are other suitable modes of transport available to complete the planned journey, then you may have the right to get booked onto that alternative instead. This can be discussed with the airline in question.

We hope this has helped you in understanding your rights should your flight become cancelled.

Remember if you are travelling abroad this year and require travel money, visit Currency Online Group for some of the best market exchange rates. We offer a home delivery service or the option to collect your currency from our exclusive office location within London Waterloo Station.

© Currency Online Group

22nd June 2022