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Air travel: Cancellation

Your rights when problems occur

In case your booked flight was cancelled you have the right to...

  • ...re-routing or reimbursement of the ticket price
  • ...assistance, such as food and refreshments, a hotel room if necessary, transport between hotel and airport, two free phone calls/faxes/e-mails
  • ...payment of compensation unless the reason for the cancellation was an extraordinary circumstance or you have been informed early enough.

In order to evaluate the amount of compensation due, it is necessary to check how long in advance you have been informed about the cancellation. In case an alternative flight was offered, one has to check how many hours the take-off would be earlier and the landing would be later.

In general the compensation is

  • € 250,- for flights up to 1.500km
  • € 400,- for longer flights within the EU and other flights between 1.500km and 3.500km
  • € 600,- for flights longer than 3.500km outside the EU

In case the arrival of the flight isn’t delayed more than two, three or four hours just half the amount is due.

You are not entitled to a payment of compensation if you were informed about the cancellation

  • at least two weeks in advance,
  • between 13 and seven days ahead and got an offer for an alternative flight where the departure time isn’t accelerated more than two hours as well as the arrival time isn’t postponed more than four hours,
  • less than seven days prior to departure but with the alternative flight you will not depart more than one hour earlier and will not arrive more than two hours later.

Cancellation due to extraordinary circumstances

If the flight cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances and the airline could not have avoided the cancellation by taking all feasible measures no payment of compensation is due.

Extraordinary circumstances could be bad weather conditions, technical problems, strike, etc. The incident has to be unforeseeable and unavoidable. A technical defect that was caused by an inaccurate periodic maintenance therefore cannot be considered extraordinary.

Unfortunately, in practice the question whether the circumstances in place were unforeseeable and unavoidable in sense of the Regulation and rulings by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on this topic, often is not possible to be answered without an expert investigation.

Tips and help

In order to make your claims according to the Air Passenger Rights Regulation, you can use our free sample letters (available in German):

The most effective way is to send a registered letter. At least you should send an e-mail with reading confirmation.

If you receive no or only negative replies, we will help you. Find all our contact details at this link.

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