Cancelled flights? How to claim money back in a few simple steps

Simon Calder on BA and EasyJet cancelling flights on April 14th

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Holiday season is in full swing in the UK, with millions of people heading abroad for the May half-term or to enjoy some summer sun. While most travellers will make the journey with no problems, some unfortunate holidaymakers will face cancellations at the airport – so what can you do if it happens to you? Here’s how to claim compensation for a cancelled flight to make sure you’re not left out of pocket this summer.

Flight cancellations have affected hundreds of passengers travelling with some of the UK’s leading airlines this week, including Tui and easyjet.

Disruption to travel plans has not only left customers disappointed but also wondering how they can get their money back quickly, to compensate for the cancellations.

Martin Lewis, founder of has revealed that customers of British Airways, easyjet, Ryanair and others who’ve recently had, or will face, cancellations could be entitled to claim hundreds in compensation, but what’s the best way to do it?

Are you entitled to compensation?

In most cases, you will be able to get full or partial compensation for a cancelled flight, though there are some criteria which will need to be met.

According to Citizens Advice, you may be able to get compensation if your flight was:

  • Leaving from the UK – it doesn’t matter which airline it was with
  • Arriving in the UK and was with a UK or EU airline
  • Arriving in the EU and was with a UK airline

If these don’t apply to you, it is best to contact the airlines you flew with to find out what you are entitled to, as this will depend on the countries you left from and arrived in.

Richard Williams, head of transport at the Consumer Council said: “Passengers who have been affected by cancelled flights should be offered a full refund within seven days, or re-routing via alternative transportation at the earliest opportunity by the airline.”

If you’ve been affected by a cancelled flight, you may also be entitled to compensation directly from the airline too.

The easiest way to apply for this is to complete an online form on the Tui, easyjet or appropriate airline’s website.

Compensation should be granted unless the airline can prove the delay was caused by “extraordinary circumstances, according to the Consumer Council.

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How can you get your money back?

In most cases, getting your money back will not be an automatic process.

This means you will need to proactively ask for a refund for the disruption, according to Martin Lewis, founder of

He said: “First thing is, anyone whose flight is cancelled, you’ll find it very easy to get the return flight or an alternative flight.

“But they won’t tell you about cancellation and that you’re entitled to compensation on the back of that.”

You will need to contact the operating air carrier yourself, so keep your booking documents and the relevant contact information to hand and you should be able to get your money back in around one week.

Even if your flight has not been cancelled, delays of more than five hours warrant a full refund too.

If it’s anything less than five hours, you might be able to wrangle some compensation too, according to Martin Lewis.

In fact, experts have revealed that you could get £220 per person on shorter journeys, and £520 on longer distances by making a claim.

To claim the compensation, the same criteria applies as it does for a cancelled flight.

This means that your flight needs to have departed from a UK airport, arrived at a UK airport and was with a UK or EU airline or arrived in the EU and was with a UK airline.

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