The suitcase is packed, the hotel is booked and all you have to do is arrive at the airport and take the plane that will take you to your destination. And then, horror! your flight is delayed or even worse, cancelled. Don’t panic! We tell you what to do if you find yourself in one of these unexpected situations. Take note and fly safe!

Air carriers operating at EU airports compensate passengers when they cancel a flight at short notice for the inconvenience. Depending on the company, you will be refunded the full price or offered an alternative ticket with another company so that you can go to your destination or return to the starting point. If necessary, the company will cover the costs of the stay in a hotel.

If your flight is arriving from or arriving at any airport in the European Union and is delayed for five hours or more, you are legally entitled to the same compensation as if it were a cancelled flight. The same rule applies if you fly with an EU-based airline, such as Vueling, which offers flights to Switzerland. If you have been given a ticket for another flight and the waiting time is more than two hours for a short distance or four hours for a long distance flight, you may also be entitled to refreshments and food from the airport’s bars and restaurants.

In addition, denied boarding, flight cancellation and arrival at the final destination indicated on the ticket with a delay of more than three hours may entitle you to financial compensation of between 250 and 600 euros, depending on the distance of the flight. Thus, for a flight within the EU of up to 1,500 km, 250 euros can be allocated; for flights over 1,500 km, 400 euros can be allocated.

The only circumstances in which an airline is under no legal obligation to provide any compensation is if the cancellation of a flight has occurred due to reasons such as a volcanic eruption, extreme weather conditions or strikes.

How do I claim compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight?

There are some startups like Flight Right, specialized in managing this type of procedures. This way you don’t have to worry about the paperwork for the lawsuit and they only charge you a commission if the airline compensates you. On the other hand, you can find the legal complaint forms for claiming delays or cancellations through AESA, the State Aviation Safety Agency.


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