Your rights to a refund when your flights are delayed or cancelled

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Over the last couple of months thousands of Brits have faced holiday hell thanks to flight delays and cancellations.

And, Lufthansa has announced that pilots will be striking tomorrow at German airports.

This will affect flights both leaving Germany for the UK and some UK outbound flights – many have already been cancelled.

READ MORE: Lufthansa airline pilots set to strike this Friday with UK flights cancelled

Holidaymakers are now scrambling to book other flights to ensure they don't miss out of events and holidays, but last-minute flights can be expensive.

In August, British Airways also announced that it was cancelling thousands of flights through to the end of October due to the new Heathrow passenger number cap.

So, what are your rights if your holiday is cancelled, or your flight is delayed? We take a look at the key things you need to know below.

Your rights if a holiday is cancelled

When a travel company cancels your holiday, you're entitled to a full refund.

You may be offered alternatives like rebooking or vouchers – you're free to choose these instead, but you can have the refund if that's your preferred option.

The CMA says you're entitled to a refund within 14 days of the cancellation date.

It adds: "Your refund should be provided irrespective of whether the company you booked with has received funds from other companies involved in your trip, such as airlines."

If your flight is cancelled but not your trip, ABTA says: "If your flight is cancelled and you’ve booked a package holiday, you are entitled to a suitable alternative flight or, if that’s not possible, a full refund."

You can find out more at and

If your flight is delayed

If your flight is delayed, the length of your delay and flight both come into play. The Civil Aviation Authority says that you're entitled to compensation for the following:

  • Short-haul flight of under 1,500km – £220 if you wait more than two hours
  • Medium-haul flight of 1,500km – 3,500km – £350 if you wait more than three hours
  • Long-haul flight of over 3,500km £520 if you wait more than four hours (if it's under four hours then you may be entitled to £260)

When your flight is delayed, your airline should provide you with vouchers for food and drink, or accommodation if this is needed. (This can include booking a hotel and arranging transportation).

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The CAA does add: "Sometimes airlines are unable to arrange care and assistance for all passengers. This can happen when staff are stretched during major disruptions.

"If this happens, in our view you have the right to organise reasonable care and assistance yourself, then claim the cost back later. If you end up paying for things yourself, keep every receipt and do not spend more than is reasonable. Airlines are unlikely to refund you for things like luxury hotels or alcohol. Some will provide guidance on reasonable costs."

If you make a claim and you're not happy about how long it takes, you can make a complaint with the CAA.

Your rights for cancelled flights

If your flight is cancelled by the airline, you're entitled to receive a full refund, or an alternative flight to your destination.

According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, a full refund also includes "other flights from the airline that you won’t use in the same booking such as onward or return flights".

If you're part-way through a journey, you also have a right to fly back to your original departure airport.

It's worth noting that if you were given less than two weeks' notice for the cancellation and you're offered a replacement flight that delays you by at least two hours, you may also be entitled to compensation.

You can find out more on and


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