My flight’s been cancelled. Will I get compensation?

All EU airlines, as well as airlines with flights departing from the EU, may be required to pay compensation, in addition to a refund or re-routing, if they cancel your flight less than 7-14 days prior to departure and cannot offer an alternative flight close to your original arrival time.

Airlines are not required to pay compensation if the cancellation is due to exceptional circumstances (e.g. weather conditions, third party strike action, act of God, terrorism).

The level of compensation you may be entitled to varies depending on the distance of the flight:
Within the EU

  • 1,500km or less – €250
  • Over 1,500km – €400

Between EU airport and non-EU airport

  • 1,500km or less – €250
  • 1,500 – 3,500km – €400
  • Over 3,500km – €600

Note: It’s debatable whether technical problems should be treated as exceptional circumstances and this may well be something that a small claims court would have to decide on. Exceptional circumstances mean something outside of the airline’s control.

If you’re travelling on a package holiday, you might be entitled to compensation from your tour operator if your holiday is cancelled or significantly altered.

Compensation is generally not due to you if the reason was exceptional circumstances (e.g. weather conditions, act of God, terrorism).

About the CAA
If you’ve already complained to the airline and are not happy with their response, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) may be able to help. It is responsible for regulating aviation in the UK. You can get more information from the CAA website or alternatively phone their consumer advice line on 020 7453 6350.

ABTA's advice
If you’ve not yet written to the airline, please use our standard letter, which you can send to the airline direct. However, please note that airlines are not members of ABTA and as such we’re unable to take up the complaint on your behalf.


  • Flights