4 Things to Do After a Canceled Flight

4 Things to Do After a Canceled Flight

Flight cancelations can disrupt your travel plans, causing inconvenience and sometimes additional expenses. However, knowing the right steps to take immediately after a cancelation can help relieve some of the stress and potentially entitle you to compensation. Here are four things you can do if you have to deal with a canceled flight.

1. Understand Your Rights for Compensation

When your flight is canceled, understanding your rights comes first. Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitled to certain protections and can claim flight cancelation compensation if the cancelation occurs less than 14 days before the scheduled departure date. The regulation applies to:

  • Flights departing from any EU airport, regardless of the airline.
  • Flights arriving in the EU from outside if operated by an EU airline.

The amount of compensation depends on the flight distance and the timing of the cancelation notice relative to the scheduled departure. It is broken down as follows:

  • Up to 1,500 kilometers: Passengers may be entitled to €250.
  • 1,500 to 3,500 kilometers: Compensation could be €400.
  • More than 3,500 kilometers: The compensation can be up to €600.

Remember, compensation is not due if the airline can prove that the cancelation was caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, such as extreme weather or safety issues.

2. Contact the Airline Immediately

After a flight cancelation, your first step should be to contact the airline. Most airlines will automatically try to rebook passengers on the next available flight. However, it’s important to confirm these details as soon as possible.

Find out what alternative flights are available; if the alternatives do not suit your schedule, you may request a full refund of your ticket instead. You can also inquire about care and assistance, especially for significant delays or required overnight stays. Airlines are obligated to provide meals, refreshments, and accommodation. Make sure to ask about these provisions.

3. Keep All Documentation

Maintaining a thorough record of all documentation is necessary for claiming compensation for a canceled flight. Keep your travel documents, including boarding passes, booking confirmations, and receipts related to your trip. Also, record details about the cancelation; for example, ask the airline staff why the flight was canceled and request a written statement if possible. This proof helps when filing for compensation, as it confirms the reason for the cancelation. More importantly, if you incur extra costs due to the cancelation (e.g., meals, hotel rooms, transportation), keep the receipts as you may be able to claim these expenses back from the airline.

4. File for Compensation

If you are entitled to compensation, filing a claim should be your next step. You can file a claim directly with the airline. Include all necessary documentation and clearly state your request for flight cancelation compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004. If you prefer not to deal directly with the airline or need assistance with the process, services like Flightright can manage the claim on your behalf. These services understand the legal aspects of claiming compensation and can often speed up the process.


A canceled flight doesn’t have to leave you frustrated. By understanding your rights, contacting the airline immediately, keeping detailed records, and filing for compensation, you can manage the disruption more effectively and ensure that you are compensated as necessary.