coronavirus flight cancellations

Coronavirus flight cancellations: How to get a refund

Many airlines have issued coronavirus flight cancellations in the past weeks as the global number of cases keeps going up.

Lockdown measures in the US as well as Europe are starting to have an impact on air traffic, leading to a reduction in flights across the globe.

Not sure what to do if your flight has been cancelled? Don’t worry, we’ve put together some information so you know what to do if your journey has been affected.

Cancelled flight: what can I do?

If your flight has been cancelled, the airline is legally obliged to offer a replacement flight or they will have to refund your ticket.

You can check whether your flight has been cancelled here.

While you won’t necessarily be entitled to compensation, you will at least get your money back. However it is recommended you check if you are eligible for any extra benefits.

Is coronavirus considered an ‘exceptional circumstance’?

EU Reg. 261/2004 defines an extraordinary circumstance as an event beyond the airline’s control. So the recent Covid-19 outbreak definitely meets that criteria.

In addition, the EU Commission confirmed on March 18th that the coronavirus pandemic are to be considered as such.

When am I entitled to compensation?

Some airlines have been avoiding cancellations in recent weeks to protect their revenue and keep on charging customers.

Unfortunately you can only claim cancellation compensation when one of the following criterias are met:

  • No enroute restriction due to border closures
  • No official travel warning issued for the destination
  • Flight cancelled by airline for financial reasons
  • Passenger was informed of cancellation less than 14 days before departure

I don’t want to fly, what can I do?

If your flight has not been cancelled but you feel unsafe about the current situation and wish to cancel or postpone, it is recommended you contact the airline as a precautionary measure.

A warning has been issued by the UK government to guarantee free of charge refunds within 14 days for passengers flying to countries with a confirmed health risk.

In other cases, you should refer to the airline’s cancellation policy.

Flights cancelled due to border closure: What are my rights?

Many countries have recently closed their borders to curb the spread of the coronavirus. If a flight is cancelled to to entry stop or border closure, travellers have no legal right to compensation.

However this qualifies as an exceptional circumstance, so passengers are eligible to get their tickets rebooked or refunded.

What if I am stuck at my holiday destination?

Passengers typically have a contract of carriage with the travel company, whether they are an airline or tour operator.

This mean you will be entitled to a replacement flight if your journey back home is cancelled.

If your flight has been cancelled, you should contact the company directly to arrange for alternative transportation.

If the airline is not able to help, contact the nearest consulate or embassy for your country.


Whether your flight has been cancelled due to recent disruptions or you are hesitant to fly, you should be eligible for a refund if flying from the UK.

When in doubt, it is best to check with the airline to identify the best course of action for your particular case.

We’ve also built guides to help people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic cancel different services:

If you’re looking for information on how to cancel other services, drop us an email at [email protected] and we will be happy to write a quick guide for it.

We wish you the best of luck in your future travels!