Cancelled Flights… Know Your Rights.


Flight cancellation is increasingly becoming a reality for travelers. You’ve packed your bag, topped up the fake tan and arrived at the airport to find that the latest Icelandic

volcano eruption is bringing your holiday plans to a halt. Your flight has been cancelled. Where do you stand?

The relevant law in this area is European Regulation 261. Under this Regulation, if your flight has been cancelled, airlines must offer you a full refund or re-routing on the next available flight.

If you opt to take the next available flight, the airline must provide accommodation and refreshment until you can be accommodated on the next flight.

There is an important distinction made between “reimbursement” and “compensation.” Passengers are only entitled to seek compensation where the flight cancellation is due to a fault of the airline. In the case of weather disruptions or in this instance, volcanic ash disruptions, these are deemed to be “acts of God” and essentially outside the control of the airline. In these cases, passengers are not entitled to compensation, but can look for reimbursement of reasonable expenses.

As you would expect, determining what constitutes “reasonable expenses” can be debatable. But use common sense. Checking into a five star hotel and racking up bills for facials and manicures is unlikely to be seen as “reasonable.” It’s also important to be aware, that in many instances you bear the cost of these expenses and then submit receipts to your airline for reimbursement.

You should send copies of all documentation and receipts to your airline. If you are unable to resolve matters with your airline, you have the option of contacting the aviation regulator or contact your solicitor for more information.

Finally, when a flight is cancelled for whatever reason, airlines are obliged to provide information in relation to your legal rights and obligations. So if you’re at the airport when the flight gets cancelled, ask for full details of your rights.

Taylor Solicitors Cork

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