Don't forget to make an extra expenses claim!
Because there is a high chance that you have a right to that. In Europe, if you have to wait at the airport more than planned, often you have a right to care from the airline you are flying with. Depending on situation, you can get free food, free drinks, free hotel accommodation (if the delay is very long), and free transportation. If the airline fails to deliver what it's supposed to deliver, you have a right to claim expenses.
You will have to provide recipes proving that you made these purchases.
This applies to most flights to and from Europe.
Check your compensation online.
Air passenger rights are almost identical in the EU, EEA and UK.
That's why we may refer to them simply as European air passenger rights, and use terms like European flight compensation and European flight compensation regulation. We may also use a word "Europe" to refer to this whole region, where the flight compensation regulations EC 261/2004 and UK261 are in effect.
Air travel is highly regulated nowadays. Especially in Europe.
We have separate guides on EU flight delay compensation, EU flight cancellation compensation and EU denied boarding compensation where we talk more into details about all the specific situations. What unites all of the situations is that:
It doesn't stop with flight delays and flight cancellations. Overbookings and long waits at the airport. Missed connections. Re-routed / diverted flights due to whatever reasons. In all these situations you are protected by law. You have a right to be taken care of, and to be taken to your destination (as shown on your ticket).
And if the airline fails to provide what it has to...
You can pay for the services yourself, and claim expenses afterwards. That includes booking a new flight instead of the cancelled one, taking a bus to your destination, paying for a meal while waiting for delayed flight at the airport, etc.
Make sure to save all the receipts!
Here are two best options that you have:
Do you want to try and do it yourself? To make an expenses claim from an airline, you'll need to follow these steps:
You may also decide to proceed through your travel insurance company. That's assuming that you had a travel insurace for this trip.
In Europe, you have a right to care from the airline.
As already mentioned, if you have to wait at the airport more than planned, often you have a right to care from the airline you are flying with. Depending on the situation, you can get free food, free drinks, free hotel accommodation (if the waiting time is very long and over the night), and free transportation.
According to the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, Article 9:
If you have to wait 2-3 hours extra, you have a right to it. If the airline doesn't provide something that it has to, you can buy it yourself, and later ask for reimbursement of expenses.
When airline cancels a flight, it has to give you a new flight.
You may opt for a refund instead, but most people want to fly, they want to get to their destination as soon as possible. And, so they wait for the new flight. Same like earlier in this article, we are talking about air passenger rights in Europe. With European airlines these rules apply to all their flights to and from Europe, and to non-European airlines - only to flights departing from European airports.
So, whenever a flight is cancelled, most of people choose an alternative flight. They choose to wait and fly at a later time. Very few people opt a refund.
What most of these people don't know?
They don't know that they have a right to care.
If you have to wait at the airport, you have a right to care from the airline. The same applies to all types of travel disruptions - flight delays, last-minute flight cancellations, denied boarding due to overbooking. It doesn't matter is it due to airline's fault or not. And if the airline doesn't provide something that it has to, you can pay for it yourself, and later ask for reimbursement of expenses.
If your flight is cancelled less than 2 weeks before the date of departure.
Or if it's delayed, re-routed or overbooked, and you have arrived to destination 3+ hours later than planned. In all these situations, if it's due to airline's fault, you have a right to flight compensation from the airline. Things like technical problems with an airplane are considered airline's fault.
Has something like this happened to you?
By Europe and EU we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.