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What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled
What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

The life hacker figured out how a passenger can protect their interests when flying in Russia, the EU and the USA.

What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled
What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

Flight delayed or canceled in Russia

You found out about the cancellation in advance

The airline will notify you of the flight cancellation via email or SMS. Then you can choose another flight or return the ticket.

Choose another ticket

The cancellation notice will most likely include a link to a website where you can select a different flight from those offered. You need to follow the link in the letter, enter your booking code and choose from the alternative flights offered by the airline. You can also call the carrier's call center and choose another flight with its help.

The new flight may differ from the old one in terms of date, availability and number of connections, but not in price - the ticket price must remain the same.

Return the ticket

If the airline's offer does not suit you, you can issue a forced ticket refund and receive the money spent on it in full.

For indirect flights, the following involuntary return policy applies:

  • If the flight is issued with one ticket, the airline refunds the full cost.
  • If the second part of the flight, issued with one ticket, did not take place, the airline must offer another option or return the money for the failed flight and take you to the point of departure free of charge.
  • If you paid for the flight separately, the carrier is obliged to refund the money only for the canceled flight. Other tickets will have to be returned as usual.

To issue an involuntary return, fill out a special form on the airline's website or send an application by email. In the letter, indicate your full name, passport details, flight, ticket and booking number, departure date, phone number and card details where you want to send money. It is better to additionally contact the airline support service so that your letter is not ignored.

Did you find out at the airport

There are two options: choose another flight or drop the ticket and get your money.

Return the ticket

In Russia, you can return your ticket if the flight is canceled or delayed at any time. Find a representative of the airline and ask him to stamp the delay or cancellation of the flight on the boarding pass. Just in case, you can take a picture of the information board and take a screenshot from the official website of the airline.

Next, you need to apply for a forced return. You can do this directly at the airport if there is a company representative there, or later if not.

Collect and send the following documents to the airline:

  • a copy of the ticket and boarding pass with a stamp;
  • a refund application with a reason.

Wait for the flight

If you decide to wait for a delayed plane, ask the airline representative to put a mark about the delay on the receipt or boarding pass - this will help you get compensation.

While waiting, you can use all the services you are entitled to free of charge, namely:

  • If you are traveling with a child under the age of seven, once the flight is delayed, you are entitled to access to the mother and child room.
  • In the event of a delay of more than two hours, you are entitled to two phone calls or two emails and refreshments.
  • If the delay is more than four hours, you can demand a hot meal and then receive it every six hours of the delay during the day and every eight hours at night.
  • If the flight is delayed by eight hours in the afternoon or six at night, you have the right to hotel accommodation, transportation from the airport to the hotel and back, as well as organizing luggage storage.

Get compensation

You can only claim compensation if you are stuck at the airport due to the fault of the airline. The carrier is not liable to passengers if they were prevented by natural phenomena, epidemics, strikes, hostilities and other force majeure circumstances.

If the company fails to prove that the delay was due to force majeure, you can count on the following compensation:

  • 3% of the air ticket price for each hour of waiting.
  • 25% of the minimum wage for each hour of deferral, but not more than 50% of the ticket price.
  • Reimbursement of damages in full, if any. For example, if due to a delay you did not get to a scheduled event. But remember that losses will need to be proven. Keep all receipts, tickets, and documents that will help you do this.

To get it, follow these steps:

  • Ask your airline representative to put a delay stamp on your receipt or boarding pass.
  • Write a claim for compensation. Indicate in it the reason for the flight delay, attach a copy of the ticket or boarding pass with a delay stamp.
  • If you want to receive compensation for losses, please submit an application and attach copies of documents confirming the costs.
  • Send the documents to the airline. You can hand them over to a representative in person, submit them through the official website, or send them by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt. In the latter case, you will have proof that the airline received your claim. By law, the carrier has 30 days to respond to your complaint.

You can apply for compensation for flight delays and cancellations within six months from the date of the incident. It is difficult to predict when the money will be returned. Russian legislation does not specify a clear return period, and it can take from two months to six months.

Flight delayed or canceled in the EU

The actions of carriers and passengers on the territory of the European Union are determined by the EU regulation No. 261/2004 Regulation (EC). The scheme is approximately the same as in the Russian Federation: you can refuse the ticket, choose another flight, or wait for your own.

Return the ticket

If the airline has warned about the cancellation of the flight 14 days before the flight, you can return the ticket and receive its value, but you are not entitled to compensation. After this period, along with the return of the ticket, you are entitled to compensation from 250 to 600 euros, depending on the distance of the flight. It must be completed within seven days.

You can also return the ticket and receive compensation in case of overbooking - when the number of tickets sold exceeds the number of seats on the plane. If no one refuses a seat voluntarily, the airline can deny access to the plane, but at the same time, compensation will be paid immediately right at the airport.

If the flight is delayed, you can return the ticket only after waiting five hours, and receive compensation within seven days.

Wait for the flight

In case of a delay, the airline will ask you to wait for your flight; if canceled, it will provide you with another option.

If you agree to fly on another flight due to overbooking and it is more than three hours late from the arrival date indicated on your first ticket, the airline is obliged to pay you compensation from 250 to 600 euros, depending on the distance of the flight. Just do not forget to put a note about this on your ticket.

If you agree to wait, after a certain time you can count on airport service. Services are provided if the plane is delayed:

  • for two or more hours for flights up to 1,500 km;
  • for three or more hours for flights within the EU over a distance of more than 1,500 km and for all other flights from 1,500 to 3,500 km;
  • for four or more hours for all other flights that do not fall under the first two points.

In this case, you have the right to:

  • food and drinks in a reasonable ratio to the waiting time (what is meant by a "reasonable ratio" - EU regulation No. 261/2004 does not disclose);
  • hotel accommodation (if you need to stay for one or more nights);
  • transfer between the airport and the place of residence;
  • two phone calls, faxes or e-mails.

Get compensation

The amount of compensation depends on how far you fly, how much the plane is delayed and what causes the delay.

Airlines are not liable to passengers if the cancellation or delay of the flight was caused by extraordinary circumstances that could not be avoided.

If the company cannot prove that it has done everything possible to prevent the delay or cancellation of the flight, it will pay compensation. The money goes to the passenger's account within seven days.

Flight delay and cancellation compensation

If the flight is delayed, the cost of compensation will depend on the time it will be late upon arrival at the destination, and will vary from 250 to 600 euros.

If the flight is changed to another, compensation is calculated based on temporary differences: how much earlier the alternative flight will depart and how much later it will arrive at its destination. Depending on the time and distance, you can get between 125 and 600 euros.

Overbooking compensation

For overbooking, the amount of compensation depends on the distance and ranges from 250 to 600 euros. If you voluntarily agreed to give up your seat, you will be offered some kind of compensation, another flight, or a refund of the full ticket price.

If you did not want to give up your seat, but you were denied boarding, compensation must be paid immediately right at the airport. And then, at your request, transfer to another flight or return the full cost of the ticket.

Flight delayed or canceled in the USA

There are no laws in the United States defining compensation for delayed or canceled flights. Compensation is provided for overbooking only.

Return the ticket

There is no set policy for refunds and compensation for delay or cancellation. Each airline prescribes the conditions in the contract for transportation.

Wait for another flight

Airlines decide on their own what to do with passengers stuck at the airport. Low-cost carriers, as a rule, do not provide any services, others may refuse to service if the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances.

However, some companies still provide service: they feed hot every four hours, pay for the transfer to the hotel and accommodation in it. To find out if your airline does this, see the contract of carriage.

Get compensation for overbooking

As in Europe, the United States first looks for volunteers willing to wait for another flight. The airline offers compensation at its own discretion and may even bargain with passengers.

If a volunteer is found, he receives compensation, such as free food, a hotel and a voucher for some amount to pay for tickets in the future, and waits for another flight.

If no one wants to go voluntarily, the company can refuse a flight to any passenger at its discretion, transfer him to another flight and pay compensation. The amount of compensation depends on how late the plane is at the point of arrival, and can range from 200% (but not more than $ 675) to 400% (but not more than $ 1,350) of the one-way ticket price.

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