Last-minute flight cancellation: What are your rights?

Flights get delayed and cancelled every day.

While it’s very annoying and stressful, it’s nothing extraordinary, really.

In many cases it’s due to bad weather or technical problems, but there is a whole list of other reasons why flights get cancelled. What to do if your flight is cancelled last-minute? What are your rights in a situation like this? Are you eligible for flight compensation? If it’s a flight from the EU or with a EU airline, there’s a chance you might be entitled to compensation.

Check your compensation online.

Or continue reading to learn more about your rights.

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to 600€ compensation Check your compensation

Young disappointed woman sitting next to a suitcase

1. How to find out that your flight has been cancelled?

Here’s how it usually happens:

  • You receive an e-mail or SMS from your airline;
  • You are checking your flight status online, and there you see that your flight is cancelled;
  • You learn of it at the airport, or even at the gate.

2. What to do if your flight is cancelled last-minute?

Are you still at home or already at the airport?

You might be entitled to compensation. You'll check that later.

2.1 If you are still at home

Do not rush to the airport.

Call the airline and find out what to do next.

In the EU the airline has to provide you with a new ticket or give you a full refund, even if the flight is cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances. In any case you have the right to be taken to your destination or given a full refund. Even if that isn’t their fault.

If your schedule is really tight, opt for a refund and see if you can get a new flight right away. Before you make a booking, check if it isn’t delayed.

2.2 If you are already at the airport

1. Look at your itinerary

Is there any other flight?

A flight you are going to miss because of this?

If it’s a connecting flight booked together with this flight, then you have nothing to worry about. The airline will take care of that. Most likely you'll be put on another flight for free and taken to your destination.

If it’s a flight that was booked separately, then it's more difficult.

It's called a self transfer flight.

And then most probably you'll have to deal with it yourself.

2. Get a new ticket

Head to the counter or office of the airline you are flying with.

If you can’t find an office, contact the airport information counter or go to the check-in desk to ask for directions or information regarding the cancellation.

The airline must provide you with a new flight to your destination.

If the next available flight is on the next day, the airline must provide you with a free hotel and free transport from and back to the airport. In the EU it’s called right to care.

You can also opt for a refund and try to find a different solution.

3. Know that you have the right to care

If you have to wait for more than 3 hours, you have the right to care.

If you are at the airport and you find out that your flight has been cancelled and you have to wait for more than 3 hours, the airline must provide you with free meal and drink plus two free phone calls, e-mails or faxes. If you’ll have to wait overnight, then the airline must provide you with free hotel accommodation and transport to and from it.

How you can get all of that?

Wait for the announcement from your airline.

In the EU airline must take care of you even if it's not their fault. Yes, even if it's all because of, for instance, extreme weather conditions.

The rules are the same also when you're flying with non-EU airlines.

You don’t even have to be a citizen of the European Union.

Calculate your flight compensation for free! It takes less than 2 minutes Calculate compensation

Woman walking in an empty airport

3. Are you eligible for flight compensation?

As long as you haven't been notified by the airline at least 14 days in advance and your flight falls under the EC 261 (see the rules below), the answer will be yes. And in this case you can receive both flight cancellation compensation and full refund (if you choose it, not a new flight).

To be entitled to a compensation:

It doesn't matter if you're a European or not.

You don't have to have travel insurance to claim EU flight compensation.

Young woman waiting for a flight at the airport

4. How to claim compensation?

The most important thing is to file a claim (to ask for it).

Because, unfourtunately, but if you do nothing, you’ll get nothing.

You can do it all on your own, or you can let us to do in on your behalf.

If we can’t get your compensation, it will cost you nothing. No win, no fees.

Check your compensation online!

What if your flight is cancelled more than 2 weeks before the trip? What are your rights in these situations? You can still get a full refund or new flight, but you can’t get a compensation. Check out this guide to learn more.

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.