22.03.2021

25 situations when you can get EU flight cancellation compensation

In Europe all travellers are protected.

It doesn’t even matter if you are a European, or not, you are still protected against flight delays and flight cancellations. If your flight is heavily delayed or cancelled less than 2 weeks before the day of departure, often you will be entitled to EU flight compensation up to €600 per passenger. If it’s a European airline, it applies to all its flights to and from Europe. If it’s a non-EU airline, it applies only to flights from Europe.

Here we will talk more about EU flight cancellation compensation.

Check your compensation online!

Flight information screens at the airport

25 situations when you can get EU flight cancellation compensation

The most important thing is that it must be your airline’s fault.

For you to be entitled to compensation, it must be your airline’s fault and it must be last-minute cancellation. In this case, flight cancellation is considered last-minute if you have been informed of it less than 2 weeks or 14 days before the day of departure.

But what is considered the airline’s fault? Here are 25 examples.

25 situations, when you can get EU flight cancellation compensation.

Some of the reasons may sound really bizarre, but things like these have or may happen in real life. And bizarre or not, but in these situations you will entitled to compensation. As all of that is considered within airline’s control.

Technical problems

1. Problems with the engine

Your flight is cancelled because there is an unexpected problem with the engine.

In most cases it’s considered your airline’s fault.

Aircraft technical problems mostly are considered the airline’s fault. If your flight gets cancelled last-minute due to unexpected technical problem in the engine, mostly you will be entitled to compensation from the airline.

2. Last-minute technical problems

Even if it’s a last-minute finding, mostly it’s airline’s responsibility.

According to court order on several such cases in Europe, even those unexpected problems which come to light during aircraft maintenance, even they cannot be classified as extraordinary circumstances. The one exception being a hidden manufacturing defect.

3. Problems with the air condition system

A working air condition system is a must to maintain a comfortable on-board climate.

Not only it provides comfort for passengers and cabin crew, but it also prevents you from getting sick on the plane. If the air conditioning system is not working properly, it’s the airline’s fault. If your flight has been cancelled due to this, you may get compensated, as this situation is not outside the airline's control.

4. A window is broken by a drunk passenger

Whaaat? Crazy, I know. But it has happened before.

And then the court ruled that it’s the airline's fault.

So if your flight is cancelled because of that, it’s highly likely that you will entitled to EU flight cancellation compensation from the airline. At least you should try and file a compensation claim.

5. Luggage gets stuck in the cargo bay

Luggage can get stuck in the cargo bay because of number of reasons.

It can be iced-over door or faulty door mechanism, or something else. And this can cause a serious delay or even a cancellation of the next flight. It has happened before and may happen again. If your flight is cancelled due to something like this, don’t forget to make a compensation claim.

Suitcases on trolleys - Luggage tips

6. A taxiing plane hits the toilet truck

It happens once in a while.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled because of that, you may receive flight compensation. Since it’s likely will be considered your airline’s fault.

7. A broken coffee maker

What if your flight is delayed or even cancelled because of a broken coffee maker? What if the mechanics have to repair it, and that’s why your flight is late or even cancelled?

Most likely you will be entitled to compensation.

Broken appliances are the airline’s responsibility.

8. A broken coffee maker causes a mid-air emergency

It may sound like a small things, but it has happened more than once.

A broken coffee maker can cause a mid-air emergency, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. Just imagine, there is a sudden smell of burning. It turns out that the coffee machine is overheated in use and is not operational anymore. And the crew declares a mid-air emergency causing the plane to return.

As a result, another flight may get cancelled.

If it’s your flight, most likely you will be entitled to EU flight cancellation compensation. Because it's considered the airline’s responsibility, unless it was a faulty coffee maker.

9. Problems related to airline’s computer system

Computer systems aren’t 100% perfect.

But, still, if it’s a computer system of an airline, it’s considered their responsibility. If, for example, airline’s flight-plan generator crashes and it leads to flight delays and cancellations, mostly it will be considered their fault. And… you will be entitled to compensation. If it’s a 3+ hour flight delay or last-minute flight cancellation.

Simply because in most situations technical problems (including computer system problems) are considered the airline’s fault. Unless it's something that's caused by defective part or parts, and could be considered the manufacturer's not the airline's fault.

It’s not the same if there are problems with airport’s computer system.

10. Blocked toilet on the plane

Well, that happens too.

If that results in flight cancellation, that's fault of your airline.

Pilots on an airplane

Problems related to equipment and catering

11. Shortage of toilet roll

It has happened.

More than once.

Of course, most likely a problem like this is going to be solved quick and passengers won’t notice anything. If, however, it takes long and causes a cancellation of this or following flight, it’s considered airline’s fault.

12. Missing equipment (headphones, cutlery, first class pajamas, etc.)

Let’s assume your flight is stocked with the “wrong headphones”.

Getting the right kind of headphones may take some time.

Just like in March, 2017 on a flight from London Gatwick to Barbados. Back then it caused a five-hour delay. A small thing like this may also cause a flight cancellation.

13. Waiting for catering truck carrying food

Bad planning.

14. Running out of drinking water

And again, it’s an example of bad planning.

If that cases delay or cancellation, it’s airline’s fault.

Aircrafts on a runway

Missing crew members

15. A crew member is “unfit to fly”

What if there is not enough flight crew?

What happens if one or several members of the crew are “unfit to fly”? If a member of the air crew is drunk or medically unfit for flying, the plane can’t take off as there’s not enough crew. The airline should find a replacement. If there’s no available replacement, it will lead to flight delay or even cancellation.

If your flight is cancelled because of that, you will get compensated.

It’s the airline’s responsibility.

16. A pilot turns up to work drunk

Just like with the crew, it’s airline’s responsibility.

It has to find a replacement or pay compensation if it can’t do it quick enough. If your flight gets cancelled because of that, you’ll be entitled to flight cancellation compensation.

17. Overworked crew members

There are strict regulations regarding working hours.

In the European Union these rules apply to all commercial airlines, to their pilots, flight attendants and other staff members on the plane. Both their working and resting hours are strictly regulated, mainly due to safety reasons. Pilot and crew fatigue is a serious threat.

A cabin crew member or pilot can’t fly if they have exceeded their daily or monthly hours, and the plane can’t take off if there isn’t enough crew. It’s the airline’s responsibility to make sure their staff is not overworked and there’s enough crew members for every single flight. If they haven’t done it well enough, and your flight gets cancelled because of that, you’ll be entitled to compensation.

18. Not enough staff / Missing crew members

Number of flight attendants and pilots is regulated.

There is a specific minimum number of staff required on an airplane, depending on the number of passengers. If there is not enough pilots or cabin crew members, the plane can’t take off. This may lead to delay or even cancellation of the flight. Even if a member of a crew calls in sick, it is the airline’s responsibility to find a replacement quickly.

And even if a crew has gone on a quick surf trip to Bali and… they can't return in time for their return flight due to volcano eruption in Bali. While volcano eruption itself is considered as an extraordinary circumstances, it doesn’t change the fact, that the crew was supposed to be in Kuala Lumpur not Bali at that time.

If as a result your flight is cancelled, you’ll be entitled to compensation.

19. A fight between the crew members

Not your problem.

Your airline’s problem, and responsibility.

20. An unplanned, unannounced strike of employees

Not all airport strikes are the same.

While most of them are seen as extraordinary circumstances, and in most cases you won't get compensation, there are situations when you can get compensation. If it’s a so called cat strike, an unplanned and unannounced strike of employees, then in many situations you will be entitled to compensation.

Airport flight information screen

Other reasons

21. Late incoming aircraft

The incoming aircraft is late.

As a result your flight is cancelled.

It’s airline’s responsibility.

22. Missing aircraft

And again, it’s considered your airline’s fault.

How can an aircraft go missing?

For example, the airline has decided that it has to be used for another flight, not your flight. While you can’t change the situation, you should remember that it mostly means you’ll be entitled to flight cancellation compensation, and that you should file a claim for compensation.

23. Not enough passengers

Insufficient demand may make an airline to cancel a flight.

If that happens less than 2 weeks before the flight, you’ll be entitled both to a new flight to your destination or refund and EU flight cancellation compensation. Yes, if that’s your airline’s fault, you can get both.

24. Escaped snakes ground a plane

Snakes on the plane!

Your flight can be delayed or even cancelled because of… snakes one the plane! A thing like this happened on a Qantas flight in 2009, when four baby pythons escaped the cargo hold and could not be found. The plane had to be fumigated to ensure the snakes were gone. This lead to a long delay and cancellation of several other flights.

If that would be a flight departing from the EU, you’ll be entitled to compensation. Even if that would be a flight with Qantas which isn’t a European airline.

25. A plane is grounded because of durian fruit in its cargo

Durian is an exotic fruit known for its bad smell.

Because of the smell, in many Southeast Asian countries, where it’s very popular, you aren’t allowed to take a durian with you on public transportation or bring it into hotel or any other public buildings. A few years ago a plane in Indonesia was grounded because passengers started complaining about the smell of durian.

If something similar would happen in Europe or on a flight with European airline, causing a cancellation of a flight or delay of 3+ hours, you would be entitled to EU flight compensation.

Flight compensation - Basics

A few more things about EU flight cancellation compensation

The compensation has to be paid in cash or by bank transfer.

Not in coupons or vouchers.

In most situations the amounts are fixed - 250, 400 or 600 euro.

There’s a common myth, that if you take free food or free hotel room offered by your airline, you can’t get a compensation anymore. But it’s just not true. If your airline is offering you these things, then it’s mostly because in Europe their obliged to take care of you.

It doesn’t affect your chances of getting a compensation.

What else - the same rules apply also to charter airlines.

And you don’t have to be European to be entitled to EU compensation.

You can contact your airline, to file a claim.

Or you can let us do it on your behalf.

1 2 3 steps - how to claim compensation - ENG

If you decide to work with us, here is all you will have to do:

  1. Go to this page;
  2. Fill in the details about yourself and your flight;
  3. Upload your boarding pass and passport copy;
  4. Sign the claim online.

And that’s it. We’ll do the rest.

Read more: EU flight cancellation compensation


By Europe and EU we mean all EU Member States, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.