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flight delays & cancellations
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Flight delay and cancellation rights

If your flight is cancelled or delayed, you may have legal rights and protection under the Denied Boarding Regulations.

The level of legal protection depends on several factors including whether you’ve a confirmed booking, have already checked in, how long the flight delay is, and where you’re travelling to and from.

Once your flight is cancelled or delayed beyond a certain point (depending on the distance you’re due to travel), the Denied Boarding Regulations requires the airline to offer "assistance" and, in some cases, compensation too.

Your rights to compensation

Compensation may include free phone calls, meals and refreshments, and overnight accommodation if necessary. With cancelled flights, you may be offered a refund or 
re-routing to your destination.

Compensation depends on the reason for and timing of the cancellation or delay. An airline may claim ‘extraordinary circumstances’ prevented the flight from take-off. This normally refers to events beyond the control of the airline such as a security risk, but an airline may use this excuse for more mundane reasons in order to avoid paying you compensation. 

Which? Legal can help

Our team of specialist advisers can advise you on the financial compensation and assistance you’re entitled to from your airline if your flight is cancelled or delayed. This includes:

  • your legal protection under the Denied Boarding Regulations
  • your rights when travelling in Europe and the rest of the world, and how this 
    affects the compensation you’re entitled to
  • how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
  • how to claim compensation for delayed or cancelled flights
  • the procedures you must follow when taking a claim to court

As a member of Which? Legal, you get unlimited jargon-free advice and step-by-step guidance from our team of legal experts.

Unlimited advice on multiple issues £9 per month plus a £29 one-off joining fee (cancel anytime)
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Meet your experts
Victoria Helps Victoria joined Which? Legal in 2016. Before that, Victoria worked as a legal adviser at The Co-op. See profile
Jacob Mitchell Jacob joined Which? Legal in August 2019 as a legal adviser, focusing on consumer law. See profile
Matthew Tribble Matthew qualified as a solicitor in 2013 and joined Which? Legal in March 2019. See profile