EasyJet has recently announced that it is cancelling thousands of flights to and from Europe during the summer peak season, and it is thought to affect more than 180,000 passengers.
Whilst this is distressing news for many of those affected, many of which are likely to be holidaymakers, EasyJet has a duty of care to help those passengers with either booking them on to alternative flights or provide them with a refund. However, it’s likely that some passengers will be unable to get the assistance they need, and the ‘knock on effect’ is likely to cause disruption at short notice for many other passengers.
Our resident travel expert Roberta White explains the passenger rights for those that are affected.
Airlines that cancel flights have a legal responsibility to offer you an alternative flight or to refund you. If your flight is cancelled with less than 14 days of departure, you could also be entitled to compensation.
You’re legally entitled to get compensation if the cancellation is the airline’s responsibility and both the following apply:
The amount of compensation you’re entitled to depends on:
If your flight is cancelled and you’re departing from the UK, your airline must offer you the choice of a replacement flight at the earliest opportunity or a refund. This also applies if you are denied boarding, e.g., if your flight has been overbooked and there are not enough seats for the number of passengers.
If your return flight to the UK is cancelled and you’re travelling from within the UK or the EU, then you’re also entitled to the choice of a replacement flight at the earliest opportunity or a refund.
If you choose a replacement flight, often referred to as being ‘re-routed’, most airlines will book you on another of their flights to the same destination. However, if an alternative airline is flying there significantly sooner then you may have the right to be booked on to that flight instead.
If you were at the airport when your flight was cancelled, and you’ve chosen re-routing, you’re also entitled to assistance while you wait to be re-routed. This usually means food, drink, access to communications (e.g. free phone calls) plus accommodation and the necessary transfers if the replacement flight departs the next day or later.
The airline may advise you to make alternative travel arrangements yourself, and then claim back the costs later. If you do this, keep receipts, and please note that all costs should be reasonable, and alcohol is not included.
If your airline offers a flight to an alternative arrival airport than the one originally booked, then they must also cover the cost of transferring you to the original airport.
If you choose a refund, you can get your money back for all parts of the ticket you haven’t used. For example, if you’ve booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket back from your airline.
If your flight is cancelled and you’ve booked a package holiday, you have the same rights as any other passenger to re-routing, refunds and potentially compensation from the airline, but you also have additional rights regarding the rest of your holiday.
Normally your travel company will contact you in advance to re-arrange your flights, however, if you’re at the airport when the flight is cancelled you should contact your travel company to talk through your options.
If your flight can’t be rearranged and your holiday has to be cancelled, or new arrangements are made that then result in a significant change to your holiday, then the travel company must offer an alternative holiday if they can, or a refund of the full package price, not just the flight portion. Generally, a change of more than 12 hours on a 14-night holiday is considered a significant change.
This depends on what caused the cancellation – if it wasn’t the airline’s fault, you won’t be entitled to receive any compensation. Cancellations caused by things like extreme weather, airport or air traffic control strikes or other ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are not eligible for compensation.
If the airline gave you more than 14 days’ notice of the cancellation, they are not obliged to pay you compensation.
If you received less than 14 days’ notice of the cancellation, you should be due compensation, depending on where your flight was due to depart from, according to the following scale:
Knowing where you stand can be at times confusing. Our experts at Air Travel Claim are on hand to advise you.
For more information be sure to see our frequently asked questions page by clicking here