If an airline cancels my flight in advance, what compensation am I entitled to?
Q&A travel unravelled
Wednesday 14 December 2011
Q. I was booked to fly from Liverpool to Riga on Wednesday 18 January, but Ryanair has told me the flight has been cancelled. I have been offered a refund or a flight two days earlier. Airlines seem to have the ability to alter schedules without compensating the passenger for consequential losses. As the recession bites I can see schedules being revised weekly in order to reduce loss-making flights, leaving passengers with an array of problems. Dr John Holt, East Yorkshire
A. If a passenger cancels a flight, they lose most or all of their money. However unfair it may seem, if the tables are turned and the airline cancels a trip, you have few rights. So long as the carrier gives you at least a fortnight's warning, you can expect nothing beyond the choice of an alternative flight or a refund of your fare. The EU261 passengers' rights compensation – providing €250 for a cancellation – does not apply if you are told two weeks ahead or more.
Ryanair is by no means alone in making tactical cancellations: BA, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic have all been known to cancel midweek departures in winter. If the ticket revenue is predicted to fall well short of the costs of a there-and-back flight, considerations of cash may take precedence over customer service.
The practice makes it all the more valuable to book a package holiday – if the airline cancels your flight, the tour operator has to arrange an acceptable alternative or give you a full refund on the whole trip. But if you have booked a room separately, the proprietor may still charge you.
Q. What do you know about the closure of Bergerac airport this winter? Christine Bolton, Tooting, London
A. The handy little airport, about 40 miles inland from Bordeaux, is closing from 9 January to 23 March 2012 for runway resurfacing. Because most flights are summer-only, the only affected flights from the UK are on Ryanair from Stansted and Flybe from Southampton – both of which will be suspended, rather than diverted. The main alternative is Bordeaux, though the airport is inconveniently located on the wrong side of the city to the Dordogne valley. Another option is Brive, served from London City by Air France.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...
£18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...
£Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...