When a flight is canceled

"We inform passengers that their flight has been canceled. "

You do not believe it - first step of grief - then you rush to the nearest information screen to check the facts but the red letters "CANCELED" make you frown.Then comes anger, followed by collective bargaining. You want to know your rights and you must act quickly to save every moment of your precious seven-day vacation.

The airline will take care of your basic needs.

If your flight is delayed or canceled, or if you leave more than 2 hours later than planned, the airline is legally obliged to offer you free meals, refreshments, two phone calls, accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel.Even if the delay or cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the airline, it has the duty to meet your basic needs; this is required by EU Regulation 261/2004.

You have the right to a full refund or re-routing - depending on your choice.

If you accept a refund, collective bargaining is over. The airline must pay the money into your bank account within seven days and then they have no other liability to you.

This may be the best option to choose if the flight was canceled due to extraordinary circumstances, such as terrorism, volcanic ash clouds, extreme weather conditions and the union strike. Most of these extraordinary circumstances could mean that your vacation is over - at least for today. Other flights on your route will probably be canceled as well. Since the circumstances are exceptional and this is not the fault of the airline, it does not owe you extra compensation, so the best course of action is to accept the refund. and make other plans.

When a flight is canceled, what is the compensation?
If you are rerouted you MAY have the right to be compensated. If cancellation is the fault of the airline, it is worth asking to be rerouted.If you request to be rerouted and the fastest route available to you still lands at your destination more than 3 hours after the initial scheduled time, you are entitled to compensation.

The amount of compensation that is due to you depends on the length of the flight and the delay. If you are ready to take the scenic drive to the final destination and arrive late you could also seek compensation between € 250 and € 600.

If it is not extraordinary circumstances and your airline cancels your flight less than 14 days before your flight, you may ask:

• 250 € for flights of 1,500 km or less
•  € 400 for flights in Europe of more than 1 500 km and for all other flights between 1 500 km and 3 500 km
•  € 600 for long-haul flights outside Europe

The airline will want you to arrive at your destination as quickly as possible to avoid a claim and this can work in your favor. For example, the availability of limited seating may mean that you are forced to sit in first class rather than economically. Airlines can not impose anything if they re-route you.

If you have already booked in first class and you are downgraded to economy class, the airline will pay you compensation between 30% and 70%, depending on the length of the flight.

When is a flight considered canceled?

If your flight is five hours behind departure, you do not have to accept another flight, you must offer a full refund.

If you are on an indirect flight  and you are stuck for five hours, you can give up your trip and return . The airline should bring you back for free and you should also receive compensation .