Flight cancellations happen and are never within the control of air passengers. What then do you do if this happens? You can claim compensation for the inconvenience caused and this article explains how to go about it.
Step 1: Know the flight compensation regulation
The flight cancellation compensation is also referred to as the EU 261/2004 regulation and it protects you when your flight gets cancelled. This applies to you if your flight is operated by a European airline and departs from or arrives at an EU airport. For this law to be applied, the airline must have notified you of the cancellation less than 14 days before the originally scheduled date. The reason for the cancellation must also be within the airline’s control and not due to extraordinary circumstances.
Under the EC 261 law, you may be entitled to the following:
- Compensation is between €250 and €600 per passenger based on the flight distance.
- Complimentary food and drinks if you were already at the airport.
- Access to the internet and telephone.
- Access to free hotel booking if you have to spend the night at the airport.
- Free flight rescheduling.
- Right to be informed of your rights regarding flight cancellations.
Step 2: Contact the airline
The next thing you want to do is contact the airline to know your next steps. Request to know the reason behind the cancellation. Some common reasons include security, bad weather, lack of crew or pilot, and mechanical issues, among others. Preferably, ask them to put the reason in writing, so you can use it as a supporting document for compensation. Contacting the airline will also let you know if you’ll be placed on another flight or have your flight rescheduled.
Step 3: Gather evidence
In addition to the document stating the reason for the cancellation, you can also get other relevant documents together. This includes your booking ticket, expense receipts, and vouchers. All these will be evidence for when you need compensation.
Step 4: Embrace other perks
Before you storm out of the airport, assuming you are there already, endeavour to claim other benefits. Request for your complimentary food and drinks. If it’s late, and you have to inevitably spend the night at the airport, ask for a free hotel booking rather than spending your money.
Step 5: Claim your compensation
Now that you know your rights under the EC 261 law, you can go ahead to claim your compensation. Ask the airline how to go about it, or visit their website for the compensation form. Preferably, you can hire an attorney or get a company that understands the process best to help you through.
As long as you meet the eligibility criteria for cancelled flight compensation in European law, you can claim compensation. It’s not enough to vent all day about the situation when you can simply take action and exercise your rights as an air passenger. Interestingly, you can do this for a flight operated in the last three years but it’s best advised to claim your compensation as soon as possible.