Unless you’re been hiding from the latest news, you’ll likely have seen all the stories on cancelled flights and nightmares at the airports. But if your flight is cancelled, you’re due an alternative or a full refund. If it’s within 14 days of departure, you could be owed £100s in compensation on top.

If you’re stuck at the airport or abroad, you can also claim back other costs

If you’re stuck at the airport or abroad because your flight has been cancelled, you have a number of rights:

  • Your airline should tell you what’s going on. Ask at a check-in desk, but also look at its website, app and Twitter and Facebook for updates. Check the email you used when booking too, in case you’ve been sent an update.
  • You may be entitled to food, drink, accommodation and communication costs. Regardless of what’s caused the hold-up, your airline must look after you if you’re waiting for an alternative flight because your original one was cancelled. They need to provide:
    • A reasonable amount of food and drink (often provided in the form of vouchers).
    • A means for you to communicate (often by refunding the cost of your calls).
    • Accommodation, if you are re-routed the next day (usually in a nearby hotel).
    • Transport to and from the accommodation (or your home, if you are able to return there).

If your airline can’t immediately cover these costs or provide a voucher, you can buy your own and claim back the cost, but make sure to keep receipts – and remember that only reasonable expenses are covered. Check if your airline’s website has any guidance.

You may also be entitled to compensation on top

If your flight was cancelled within 14 days of departure, and it’s the airline’s fault for the cancellation, you may also be due compensation on top of the above.
You could be entitled to up to £505 depending on how long you’ve been delayed when getting an alternative flight, and how far your journey is. It’s worth noting that this only applies to flights that departed from a UK/EU airport, regardless of the airline, or where a UK/EU airline landed at a UK/EU airport. Under these rules, EU airports also include those in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

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