What to do if the flight is canceled: the rights of passengers and the duties of an air carrier

Flight cancellation is an unpleasant and quite common situation in recent years. As a rule, it has no serious consequences, but sometimes it can cause a delay on a connecting flight at another airport. Flights can be canceled for various reasons, which are often beyond the control of the carrier. What rights do passengers have in accordance with current legislation? How can you minimize the consequences of flight cancellation?

Reasons for cancellation of flights

Of course, flight cancellation is an unpleasant procedure. However, the air carrier is not always to blame for this. Before claiming compensation for the canceled flight at the company's office, it is necessary to clarify the reason for what happened.

Cancellation of flight is the fault of the airline if:

  • In the schedule there are inconsistencies;
  • The crew of the aircraft does not have time to prepare the aircraft or clean up before departure;
  • The passenger was not registered because of overbooking (i.e., more seats were sold than there are actually on the plane);
  • Flight is unprofitable for the enterprise;
  • The carrier can not give evidence or an explanation of the reasons for failure to fulfill his obligations.

The carrier is not to blame if the reasons for the cancellation are the following:

  • Weather conditions;
  • natural disasters;
  • hostilities;
  • The introduction of martial law in the country;
  • The imposition of prohibitions and restrictions on the carriage of goods on certain routes;
  • Strike of employees of the airline;
  • Aircraft defects that endanger the lives of passengers.

How to be?

So what if you canceled the flight? First of all, you need to contact the air carrier representative and get an explanation of the reason for the cancellation. As a rule, in the representative office you will immediately be offered an alternative variant of the flight. However, companies are not always ready to send their passengers to their destination on the same day, so sometimes they offer a refund. We will discuss this in more detail below. The passenger must record the date and time when there was an announcement about the cancellation of the flight.

If the cancellation occurred within a few days

What if the airline canceled the flight a few days before the estimated date of departure? In this situation, passengers have the right to demand:

  • To replace tickets (making up an alternative transportation route);
  • Return money (if the airline took responsibility).

It is important to note that the transit passenger has more rights. The fact is that the responsibility of the air carrier is determined by the legislation of the state to which the passenger arrives in transit. In the United Kingdom, for example, if the cancellation of the flight inevitably led to the fact that the purpose of the trip broke (no business meeting, the passenger missed the competition), the British carrier provides a free flight to Russia.

If the passenger learned about this on the day of departure

What if the flight was canceled on the day of departure? The first thing that the company representative will suggest in this case is to re-arrange the travel documents for another flight. If flights from the airport of departure on one or another route are performed by only one carrier, the passenger will have to wait for the nearest flight. Sometimes it can take several hours or days.

If another airline is ready to transport passengers, then two options are possible:

  • Free reissue of the ticket, if the cancellation occurred through the fault of the carrier;
  • Reissue of the ticket with surcharge, if the carrier is not guilty.

According to the Russian legislation, for each hour of waiting for an alternative flight, the carrier undertakes to pay compensation. Its size is 3% of the price of the air ticket + 25% of the minimum wage. The same law says that the maximum amount of a fine can not be more than half the price of an air ticket, even if the waiting lasted for a relatively long time.

In Europe, the amount of compensation depends on the waiting period and is, as a rule, from 100 to 600 euros. Also a significant role is played by the number of days for which the company warned the passenger about cancellation.

The situation with cancellations of flights in the United States is fundamentally different. Each air carrier has the right to establish its own rules. In the United States, the exchange of tickets takes place at the expense of the passengers themselves. You can exchange tickets for free only because of overbooking.

Refunds for air tickets

If an unpleasant situation occurred on the territory of the Russian Federation, then Russian legislation will operate here. If in another country, then, accordingly, the refund will be carried out according to local laws.

In order to return the money, it is necessary first of all to draw up in writing the claim of the airline. The following documents must be attached to the claim:

  • Copies of air tickets;
  • Copies of boarding pass (if any);
  • Tickets for the event, which was planned for the trip;
  • Copies of hotel reservations.

The transit passenger (if the route assumed several transplants) can receive compensation for both the individual segment and the entire composite round trip. If the passenger has purchased two separate tickets, the compensation will only be for the canceled flight.

In Russia, the carrier is obliged to make a refund for the canceled flight in a 30-day period. European airlines reduced this period to 7 days. If no refund has been made, the passenger has the right to file a claim with the court.

Tickets for charter flights are usually sold by travel agencies. They will return money for the flight.

Providing an alternative route

Air carriers in 90% of cases offer passengers an alternative to the canceled flight. It can be flights of other carriers, with transfers, with a modified date and time of departure. Variants are offered depending on the availability of free seats in the declared aircraft. It is important to note that the point of departure can not be changed.

If the passenger agrees to an alternative route, at the expense of the airline he will reissue tickets. When the departure time of the original and alternative flights do not match, passengers are compensated, as well as when the aircraft is delayed.

If the charter is canceled

As already mentioned above, tickets for charter flights are sold by travel agencies. Therefore, in case of cancellation of flights, all responsibility falls on the shoulders of these organizations. Please note: Compensations related to delays and cancellations of flights must be recorded in the service agreement.

Where and when to complain?

What if you canceled your flight and violated your rights? In all situations, litigation takes place in the country where the incident took place. You can write a claim directly at the airport of departure. If the airport does not have the office of a particular air carrier, the claim can be sent through his website. It is also possible to send a claim by registered mail to the company's representative office.

If the carrier has not returned money for the canceled flight or violated the rights of the passenger, within half a year it is possible to address with the statement of claim to the court. The application must be accompanied by a copy of the claim and all documentation related to the flight.

Useful recommendations

In order to avoid an unpleasant situation, you can call the airline's representative office or information desk before departure to the airport. There you will always be given up-to-date information about the flight.

No one is immune from force majeure. Therefore, the travel bag should always contain batteries, chargers, books and other things that will help pass the time, dry rations, personal hygiene. In addition, with you should have enough money to purchase another ticket. It is also necessary to save all checks, copies of tickets.

Do not ignore the rules of the airline. Do not be lazy and read them when you buy a ticket through the carrier's website. The contract may indicate that he is not responsible for the cancellation of the flight. This phrase, of course, can be written in other words. In particular, such rules like to establish budget airlines.

What if I cancel my flight? This is not always the fault of the carrier. The latter can return money for tickets or offer an alternative route. If the airline violates the rights of the passenger, he is entitled to apply to the court. Travel and know your rights!

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