what to do if your flight is cancelled
General,  Travel and days out

What to do if your flight is cancelled

It is hugely stressful when airline travel goes wrong. We look forward to our holidays often spending a lot of our hard-earned cash on them. If we are travelling for business, we feel we are letting people down and potentially losing money if we can’t get where we are going on time. The summer has seen several problems at airports including delays and cancellations. Rather than get in an anxious state when faced with unexpected happenings at airport, check out what to do if your flight is cancelled.

What to do if your flight is cancelled?

Firstly, keep calm and perhaps do some breathing exercises. We can get so wound up which doesn’t help when we are trying to deal with an issue. Usually airports, airlines and their staff are doing their best to get you to your destination. When resolving problems, communication is key. You can try speaking to staff if you have reached the airport. Alternatively, you can choose your preferred contact method such as telephone call, email, live chat or social media. To be honest, it is well worth checking out the best airlines for customer service long in advance of planning your trip.

What are your legal rights?

Imagine what might help if you find yourself stuck at the airport due to flight delays or cancellations. UK law has thought of these and you have some legal rights in place. Your airline has to provide you with access to a reasonable amount of food and drink. They often do this by using vouchers and you are likely to deal with things a lot better if you are not hungry or thirsty.

You might be surprised to know they have to provide a means for you to communicate. In practice, this might be something like refunding the cost of your telephone calls.

Finally, if you are needing somewhere to stay whilst you wait for a flight, your airline has to arrange accommodation for you and arrange necessary transportation.

What if you don’t get your legal rights?

The Civil Aviation Authority advises that you have the right to organise the help you need and claim the cost back later. Some airlines have guidance on reasonable expenses.  Of course, you should keep receipts and only spend a reasonable amount. If you are unhappy with how your claim is dealt with, you can make a complaint.


Under UK law, you can receive a refund or choose an alternative flight if you suffer a cancellation. If you are a transfer passenger and you have already completed part of your journey, you are also entitled to a flight back to your original departure point when your connecting flight is cancelled and you decide not to continue your journey.

Alternative flights

When a flight is cancelled, you can choose whether to fly as soon as an alternative flight comes up or at a later date. You can also see whether your airline will consider flights from other companies or alternative modes of transport to your destination.

When you also have to think about potential compensation for your cancelled flight, you can see why checking out customer service performance from airports and airlines in advance is a very good idea.

Have you experienced flight delays and cancellations recently?






Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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