Under EU law an airline is not allowed to leave you high and dry if they cancel a long-haul
flight that you are booked on.
Any flight that covers over 3,500km is long-haul. However, these rules only apply to certain
flights to or from the EU.
Check if the law covers your flight
If your cancelled long-haul flight is covered by EU law, your airline must let you choose
between two options:
You can get your money back for all parts of the ticket you haven’t used. For instance, if you
have booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the
return ticket back from your airline.
If you still want to travel, your airline must find you an alternative flight. It’s up to you
whether to fly as soon as possible after the cancelled flight, or at a later date that suits you.
Airlines often refer to this as being ‘rerouted’.
Although most airlines will book you onto another of their flights to the same destination, if
an alternative airline is flying there significantly sooner then you may have the right to be
booked onto that flight instead. You can discuss this with your airline.
If you choose an alternative flight you are also entitled to care and assistance. This usually
means food, drink, access to communication (this could be by refunding the reasonable cost of phone
calls) and accommodation (if necessary).
If you received less than 14 days’ notice of the cancellation, you may be
able to claim compensation too.
This depends on what caused the cancellation – if it wasn’t the airline’s fault, don’t expect to
receive anything. Delays caused by things like extreme weather, airport or air traffic control
employee strikes or other ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are not eligible for compensation.
Learn more about extraordinary circumstances
If you received seven to 14 days’ notice of the cancellation, you can claim compensation based
on the timings of the alternative flight:
If you received less than seven days’ notice of the cancellation, you can claim compensation
based on the timings of the alternative flight:
You can only claim compensation if your cancelled flight matches one of the situations described
above. All compensation figures are per person.
Learn more about how to claim compensation for a cancelled flight.
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