top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Your travel rights in bad weather

Flight cancelled or delayed? Here's what you should know about compensation and rebooking.

In the recent bad weather I arrived at the airport only to find my flight to the UK was cancelled – what are my rights? T.M.

IF YOU are prevented from boarding a flight within Europe because of cancellation or overbooking, you have certain rights laid down by the EU.

These apply when you are leaving an EU country with any airline or if you are arriving in the EU (or Iceland, Norway or Switzerland) with a travel company registered in the EU.

■ You have the right to reimbursement of meals and drinks “in a reasonable relation to the waiting time”. Hotel stays, and transport to the hotel, are reimbursable if an unplanned stay of a night or more becomes necessary. Passengers should also be offered two free telephone calls, fax messages or emails.
■ You also have the right to be transported to your destination with comparable alternative means, or having your ticket refunded within a seven-day period, both for any unused part of the trip or for other parts that have become useless (eg. a first flight before getting a connecting one that was cancelled).
■ Compensation is available under certain conditions. This is, for flights within the EU, €250 for distances of 1,500km or less in the EU otherwise €400; between an EU and non-EU airport the same applies, but with €400 applying up to 3,500km and then €600 over this. The distance is from the airport where you were unable to board.

However compensation is not available where the opera-tor can prove the cancellation was due to “extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken”. This could include bad weather like heavy snow.

■ You will also not be entitled to compensation if:
- You were informed of the cancellation two weeks before the scheduled departure date
- Or you were offered an alternative for the same route with a similar schedule to the original one.

What to do?

Firstly, you should go to the desk of your airline and ask the reasons for the cancellation. If possible ask them to note these in writing. You could also photograph the departures board showing the flight was cancelled. If you buy a meal or need an overnight stay, you should keep all your receipts.

Make a written application to the airline for your compensation, bearing in mind they may invoke the “extraordinary circumstances” rule.

A standard complaint form is available to download. Should the reply be unacceptable, you may complain to the relevant national body in the country you were flying from. In the case of France, this is the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile.
Photo credit: Mike Knell

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France