Flight Cancellation: Departing from the EU or EEA

If your flight departing from the European Union or the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) is cancelled, the airline must offer you:

  • transportation (rerouting) onward or to your point of origin;
  • full refund of your airfare, if you choose to return to your point of origin;
  • care (meals, accommodation, ground transportation, and 2 free phone calls or emails); and
  • in many cases, compensation up to 600 EUR in cash.

Applicable Law

Your rights are governed by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council. (You may be entitled to additional compensation under the Montreal Convention, if applicable.)

Eligibility for Monetary Compensation for Flight Cancellation


The airline does not have to pay monetary compensation if the airline proves that the cancellation was due to “extraordinary circumstances.” This exception is very narrow, and encompasses only events that are truly outside the normal exercise of the activity of the airline. The following causes are not "extraordinary circumstances":

  • mechanical failure;
  • collision between mobile boarding stairs and an aircraft;
  • missing crew member(s);
  • crew member(s) “timing out” (i.e., exceeding the permissible daily duty hours).

Amount of Compensation (if eligible)

The amount of compensation depends on the distance to your final destination and the length of the delay to your travel caused by the flight cancellation.

  • Final destination within 1500 km:
    • 250 EUR (delay of over 2 hours);
    • 125 EUR (delay of less than 2 hours).
  • Final destination within the EU/EEA of more than 1500 km, or outside the EU/EEA in a range of 1500-3500 km:
    • 400 EUR (delay of over 3 hours);
    • 200 EUR (delay of less than 3 hours).
  • Final destination outside the EU/EEA and distance greater than 3500 km:
    • 600 EUR (delay of over 4 hours);
    • 300 EUR (delay of less than 4 hours).

Form of Payment

  • The airline must pay flight cancellation compensation in cash or equivalent (electronic bank transfer, bank orders, or bank cheques).
  • If you agree, in writing, the airline may provide travel vouchers and/or other services in lieu of denied boarding compensation. You can insist on payment in cash or equivalent.

Your Options: Continue or Cancel Trip

The airline must offer you the choice between continuing or cancelling your trip.

  • If you choose to continue your travel, the airline must offer you the choice between:
    • transportation to your destination at the earliest opportunity; or
    • transportation to your destination at a later date, subject to availability of seats.
  • If you choose to cancel your trip, the airline must transport you to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity, and refund your ticket.

Refund (if you choose not to travel)

If you choose to cancel your trip, the airline must refund you, within 7 days:

  • part or parts of the trip not made; and
  • part or parts of the trip already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to your original travel plan.

Right to Care

The airline must also provide you, free of charge, with:

  • meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time;
  • hotel accommodation, where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary;
  • transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation; and
  • two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails.