Compensation for the delay and cancellation of the flight: myth or reality

In early April, our good friend decided to fly to Amsterdam, using the services of a carrier Ryanair. It won’t be extra to note that this is one of the most low-cost airlines in Europe, with headquarters in Dublin, which recently opened flights from Ukraine. So: the friend (let's call her Dasha) faced a flight delay. And not for 15 minutes, but almost for a day. Of course, we would like to finish this story on a joyous note about her flight, but such force majeure slightly darken the situation. What to do if the flight was delayed or completely canceled?

We would like to emphasize that there is no correlation with the kind of airlines: compensation will be received by customers of both European and Ukrainian companies.

You can count on the carrier, but you should be prepared

Every time when you trust your life to someone, you want to believe that you don’t have to think about everything, and they have already decided everything. Therefore, any stressful situations while traveling with a travel agency should be literally excluded. Alas, any journey is a forced control of everything and a hard-nosed study of your own rights and opportunities. But, any force majeure can wrap benefit.

According to all European laws, in case of a delay or cancellation of a flight, a passenger has the right to demand compensation in the form of a full ticket price or an alternative in the same price category. And, of course, our rights are governed by the law of Ukraine «About rules of air transportation of passengers and baggage».

In the charter XV «The rights of passengers in case of denial of air carriage, cancellation or delay of flights» the amount of compensation is prescribed in case of the flight is canceled and the departure is transferred to the passenger of a scheduled or charter flight:

  • 250 euros for flights with a range of up to 1500 kilometers;
  • 400 euros for flights with a range from 1500 to 3500 kilometers;
  • 600 euros for flights with a range of 3,500 kilometers.

If the proposed alternative flight takes off somehow later than the original one, this time is considered as a delay. In this case, all rights of passengers of delayed flights, which are spelled out in the same law, are valid. During the long wait, the airline is obliged to provide meals and, if necessary, the night in hotel.

And, in order to claim compensation, you really need to know your rights. It helped Dasha very much.

Force majeure and their types

No matter how sad it may be, but airlines are not always responsible for delaying or canceling a flight. There are few situations, but it is very important to consider them while planning a trip.

If you believe the favorite encyclopedia of millions, then «Force majeure or casus fortuitus» — is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term act of God (hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.), changing laws, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

Thus, if the cause is qualified as a kind of force majeure situation, the airline will not compensate the costs of canceling or delaying the flight. Among the reasons may be:

  • weather;
  • political situation;
  • hostilities.

Еhe flight on which Dasha flew, was canceled due to the company's fault, so she was offered a hotel, 2 calls and a meal. And all because she asked about the options for compensation, then the carrier had no opportunity to shift the responsibility.

Alternative flight and route

If the flight was canceled, then surely you will be offered some other options. But do not rejoice ahead of time: it is unlikely that it will turn out that your flight has been canceled, and in 15 minutes you will be already sitting on another plane, heading to your destination. The speed of your transfer to an alternative flight depends on the schedule and availability.

It is important to remember that the replacement of the ticket should be equivalent: if you have purchased seats in Business class, then you should not fly in Economy class.

The duration of the flight on the alternative flight and the point of transfer are left to the discretion of the carrier. You can easily go to your destination by any route. But from pleasant bonuses: if a replacement flight brings you to the wrong airport, the airline should cover the cost of transportation.

Delay compensation

However, Dasha managed to get compensation for the delay. But not because she is lucky, but because the delay lasted beyond the norm. According to the same law of Ukraine «About rules of air transportation of passengers and baggage» it turns out that if the waiting time for a new flight exceeds the deadline, the passenger still receives compensation:

  • two hours for flights up to 1500 kilometers;
  • three hours for flights with a range from 1500 to 3500 kilometers;
  • four hours for all other flights.

Compensation is paid in cash, by bank transfer, check or, if agreed with the passenger, a voucher.


In conclusion, we would like to say that it would be great if everyone had the same positive experience with airlines as our friend, and the flights would never be canceled or delayed. But still: force majeure may darken the trip a little, so we recommend you always to be prepared and to know your rights. In some extreme cases, there are resources in the world that are always ready to help you with obtaining compensation for a canceled flight (for example, AirHelp).

Have a nice flight!

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