The European legislation protecting air passenger rights is called the European Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004.
When are you entitled to a flight refund in the EU? According to the regulation, if your flight has been cancelled and you did not take an alternative flight offered by the airline, you are entitled to a flight refund.
The European flight refund regulation applies in the following cases:
Flights within the EU
Flights between the EU and the UK (after Brexit)
Flights with EU airlines to and from non-EU countries
Flights from the EU with non-EU airlines
It’s worth noting that the European regulation does not consider a travel voucher as a flight refund. The airline owes you an actual monetary refund.
Additionally, it's worth remembering that the EU flight refund regulations apply also to countries which are not part of the EU but are members of the European Economic Area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
After Brexit, the UK has adopted the European flight refund regulations and adjusted them to cover flights to and from the UK specifically.
Just like with European Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, you are entitled to a full monetary flight refund if your flight was cancelled and you did not take an alternative flight offered by the airline.
The British flight refund regulation applies in the following cases:
Flights within the UK
Flights to and from the UK with British airlines
Flights from the UK with non-British airlines
British citizens flying from the EU to a non-EU country different than the UK (for example, the United States), can still apply for flight refund based on the European regulation.
Are you flying to the UK or Europe from a non-EU country? Then the British and EU flight refund regulations might also apply to your case!
You are eligible for a flight refund if:
You are travelling to the UK with a British airline
You are travelling to the EU with an EU-headquartered airline
If you are flying from the UK or the EU, it doesn’t matter which airline you are flying with. The EU and British flight refund regulations apply to all flights from the EU and the UK.
Unfortunately, other cases are not covered by the British and European flight refund regulations. However, some countries have similar laws in place. For example, the American Department of Transportation mentions the following regulations applicable to flights within the United States: “A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger chooses not to travel.”
Yes, according to European and British law, you are entitled to a full monetary refund in the event of a flight cancelled due to COVID.
We highly recommend you not to accept an airline voucher as a flight refund.
There are two main reasons for it.
By law, the airline owes you an actual monetary flight refund — voucher policy is not in compliance with European and British regulations. Accepting a voucher as a flight refund locks your money and forces you to use this specific airline in the future.
If an airline goes into administration, passengers holding a travel voucher will lose their money. Therefore, it’s much safer to claim a flight refund instead.
In some circumstances, yes, you can still exchange your travel voucher for a flight refund. However, this partly depends on the airline’s own policy.
We recommend you claim the flight refund via our online system — just let us know which flight of yours was cancelled, upload relevant documents, and our legal team will look into your case. We work exclusively on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so if you are not eligible for a refund, we will not charge you anything.
Was your flight cancelled fewer than 14 days before the departure date? Then there is a high chance that you might be entitled to cancelled flight compensation of up to £520!
There are a few additional criteria, however, that we laid out in the table below. These criteria are related to the alternative flight offered by the airline. If you did not take the alternative flight, you might be eligible for both a cancelled flight refund and compensation.
The compensation amount depends on the distance of your flight.
For all flights of fewer than 1,500 km, the compensation is £220.
For all flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km, the compensation is £350.
For all flights of over 1,500 kilometres within the EU, the compensation is also £350.
For all flights of over 3,500 kilometres outside of the EU, the compensation is £520 — however, if your flight was delayed by fewer than 4 hours, the total amount might be reduced by 50%.
There are situations in which the airline can rightfully deny your compensation claim (not the flight refund claim, though!). We call these extraordinary circumstances.
Bad weather, for example, thick fog, heavy rain, or thunderstorms.
A strike, most often specifically within the aviation industry.
HOWEVER! A strike of a specific airline/their crew is not considered an extraordinary circumstance!
Political circumstances, such as a terrorist attack or general security risk due to political unrest.
Natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions and hurricanes.
A collision between the aircraft and birds or other foreign objects.
An unruly or ill passenger.
Flight delays caused by the airport staff, such as extraordinarily long queues to security checks.
A recent example of extraordinary circumstances is the wave of flight cancellations due to coronavirus. If your flight was cancelled because of COVID travel ban, you are not eligible for compensation — as the cancellation is not the airline’s fault — but you are entitled to a full monetary flight refund.
Did you incur unexpected expenses due to your flight being cancelled? If you have the receipts/invoices, you can claim reimbursement from the airline.
This includes hotel expenses, restaurant meals, spendings on transportation (taxis, car rentals), and more.
If you decide to claim your flight refund or compensation with Flight-Delayed.co.uk, you can upload all the receipts and invoices to our online system and we’ll take care of getting your money back from the airline.
If your flight was delayed by more than 5 hours and you do not wish to travel, you are entitled to a refund.
However, you should keep in mind that if you do travel, you are not entitled to a refund but you might be entitled to flight compensation of up to £520. Delayed flight compensation applies to flights delayed by at least 3 hours. The flight must be delayed because of the airline’s fault — remember about extraordinary circumstances.
In most cases, if you are the one cancelling your trip, you will only be entitled to a full refund if you’ve bought a fully-refundable ticket. Most fares will not be covered, especially when flying with low-cost airlines.
However, there are certain occasions on which you may be allowed to receive a refund of your ticket. For example, some airlines offer flights refunds in the event that an immediate family member passes away.
If you are flying to or from the UK, you have 6 years to claim your flight refund and compensation.
If your itinerary does not include the UK, different local laws will apply.
Start your flight refund claim process before it’s too late.
Claim today with the help of Flight-Delayed.co.uk
First, we recommend you double-check whether you are for sure eligible for a flight refund. You can do it using our free, no-obligation Claim Calculator.
Afterwards, you can decide to either try to claim the flight refund by yourself or let us handle it for you. We will carefully review your case, prepare documentation, get it to the right people at the airline and — if the airline denies your claim — fight for your rights in court.
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