What Should You Do When Your Flight is Delayed or Cancelled

Apr 4, 2023

Flight delays and cancellations can be a frustrating experience for any traveller. In Europe, however, you can take solace in the fact that EU law EC 261 provides protection and compensation for passengers affected by such disruptions. In this article, we’ll discuss what you should do when your flight is delayed or cancelled, and how to navigate the process of claiming your rights under European law.

Step 1: Understand Your Rights Under EU Law EC 261

First and foremost, familiarize yourself with your rights under EU law EC 261. This regulation applies to passengers departing from an EU airport or arriving at an EU airport with an EU-based airline. It covers flight delays, cancellations, and cases of denied boarding. Depending on the circumstances, passengers may be entitled to compensation, a refund, or alternative transportation.

Step 2: Determine the Cause of the Delay or Cancellation

The reason for the delay or cancellation is crucial in determining your eligibility for compensation. If the disruption is due to extraordinary circumstances such as extreme weather, political unrest, or security threats, airlines are exempt from providing compensation. However, if the delay or cancellation is within the airline’s control, such as technical issues or crew scheduling, you may be entitled to compensation.

Step 3: Document the Situation

When your flight is delayed or cancelled, it’s essential to gather evidence that supports your claim. This includes taking pictures of the departure board showing the delay or cancellation, retaining your boarding pass and booking confirmation, and obtaining a written statement from the airline explaining the cause of the disruption.

Step 4: Communicate with the Airline

Maintain open communication with the airline throughout the process. Request information about alternative transportation, meal and accommodation vouchers, and any other assistance they’re required to provide under EU law EC 261. Be sure to keep records of all communication, including emails and phone calls.

Step 5: File a Claim for Compensation

If you’re eligible for compensation under EU law EC 261, file a claim with the airline as soon as possible. Include all relevant documentation, such as boarding passes, booking confirmations, and evidence of the delay or cancellation. The airline has up to six weeks to respond to your claim. If they deny your claim or provide an unsatisfactory response, you can escalate the issue to the relevant National Enforcement Body (NEB) or consider legal action.

Step 6: Seek Professional Assistance If Necessary

If you’re struggling to navigate the process or need help understanding your rights, consider seeking professional assistance from a reputable claims management company. These companies can help you file your claim, gather evidence, and represent you in dealings with the airline.


Dealing with flight delays and cancellations can be a hassle, but knowing your rights under EU law EC 261 can make the process less daunting. By understanding the regulation and following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be better prepared to handle such situations and ensure you receive the compensation and assistance you’re entitled to. Safe travels!

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Pramod Ram

Pramod Ram

Digital Marketing Strategist

Pramod Ram heads the Online Marketing and Content Marketing Team at Claim Flights GmbH. He loves to travel, read books, watch movies and do intensive research.

If your flight delays for more than 3 hours, or was canceled, you may be eligible for compensation up to €600 based on EU 261 rule.

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