A Guide To Flight Cancellation Compensation & Your Refund Rights 

Refund Rights

Last Updated on Jul 10th, 2024 by Ankita Awasthi, Leave a Comment

Imagine you’ve booked everything in advance for the trip (which btw, is the right way to proceed), and everything is now at stake because your flight got canceled or delayed for a significant amount of time difference. Not only will it cause a great deal of inconvenience to you; it will also disturb your planned schedule. No wonder, the most frequently asked queries the airport authorities answer is, “What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?” That’s because there’s indeed a way you can claim flight cancellation compensation. Here, let’s run you through what compensation is along with your rights if your flight gets cancelled. 

What is Flight Cancellation Compensation?

If a flight cancellation is announced by the airlines or airport authorities, a flyer is legitimately entitled to claim a refund or an airport credit. This flyer’s right to compensation here is known as the flight cancellation compensation. 

However, please note that the compensation for the flight cancellation in any form is only valid if the intimation of flight cancellation is within 14 days prior to the scheduled flight or is delayed/rescheduled for more than 2 hours than the actual flight departure time. 

Did You Know?
According to EU regulation Number 261/2004, a flyer is righteously entitled to their unused ticket refund if the aviation authority has canceled the ticket. Be it unforeseen circumstances or an airline’s voluntary action, as long as it isn’t a passenger’s shortcoming to board a flight on time, they are entitled to claim their refund. Interestingly, few airlines offer extra compensation for the inconvenience, along with a complete refund. 

Airline Compensation For Cancelled Flight

As much as a passenger is entitled to refund/airport credit, the percentage of compensation for such refund or credit varies with each airline refund policy. Also, ever since the pandemic years came into the picture, flight cancellation has become very frequent. If we speak in numbers, more than 18,000 flights had been recently canceled during the holiday season, i.e., from the 24th of December 2021 till the 3rd of January 2022. With this situation in hand, the airline compensation for canceled flights must be one of the deciding factors for a flight booking. Hence, let’s dive deeper, learn about each of these policies and then select the best airline for flying.

1. American Airlines Cancelled Flight Compensation

If the airline fails to board the passenger in the given time, i.e., if the flight is delayed or canceled, American Airlines takes complete care of the same. Hence, if American Airlines cause you to miss your connection, they’ll either book another same class flight seat for you with no extra charges. Furthermore, if the flyer doesn’t wish to accept the alternative arrangements, they may claim their refund for the flight ticket and other selected service fees. This claim can be approved according to the involuntary refund policy. Beyond that, the airlines do not mention any contractual obligation. 

Tip – Sending someone off on a flight? Instead of the usual ‘Have a safe flight,’ why not add a personal touch? Here are 56 beautiful ways to say have a safe flight on their journey.

2. Delta Airlines Flight Cancellation Compensation

While Delta Airlines’ promising services strive to try their best with their services, a few unavoidable circumstances can lead the airlines to delay the flight or cancel the flight significantly. If such circumstances arise, Delta Airlines make every effort to cause you the least inconvenience by booking the next possible flight seat for you. However, if the passenger wishes to deny the alternative flight offered, they may. In fact, putting down the offer entitles the flyer to claim their refund for the canceled flight in the following means:

  1. An eCredit for the value of the ticket: initiated immediately.
  2. A refund to the passenger’s original form of payment: takes 4-5 business days

3. Southwest Cancelled Flight Compensation

Southwest airlines arrange the same class ticket for the next possible flight if the flight has been canceled or delayed for a significant amount of time difference. If the flyer does not wish to accept the offer, they can even claim a refund. How the Southwest airlines refund policies are better in the aviation industry is that not only does it initiate refunds (if claimed), it also adds in a $100 worth travel voucher for the inconvenience caused due to the changes. Recently, the airlines have updated their voucher clause stating the flyer can redeem upto $250 if the flight is canceled along with their full flight ticket refund. 

4. Alaska Airlines Flight Cancellation Compensation

If the flight ticket is booked 24 hours prior to departure time, and the flight gets canceled, the passenger is entitled to claim its refund/credit benefits. However, if the flight gets canceled, the Alaska airline tries to pitch their flyer with the next available Alaska airlines flight. If the traveler does not wish to accept the offer, they can also propose the flight they want to board; if the seats are available, they may proceed with the same. Additionally, in case a flyer does not wish to opt for either of the two alternatives, they can claim the refund amount for the same. 

Tip – Bringing your kids on a flight? Check the airline’s rules on, do kids need ID to fly. and fly hassle-free.

5. Spirit Airline Flight Cancellation Compensation

Regardless of whether the ticket is a refundable type or a non-refundable type, if the airline or the airport authority announces a flight cancellation or significant delay, the flyer holds the right to claim the canceled flight compensation a spirit airlines flight ticket. However, if they really need to reach the destination, they can also opt for the next scheduled flight booking that the airlines shall offer. Yes, the airlines provide an alternate flight boarding option with another Spirit airline at the same price. 

6.  United Airlines Flight Cancellation Compensation

United Airlines will provide a complete refund if the flight has been cancelled or delayed by a significant amount of time in all valid situations. The rescheduling of the flyer’s expected departure is also open for them to choose from, but it is not a mandatory option. Being one of the leading airlines in the aviation industry, United Airlines takes its policies and customer satisfaction very particularly. Hence, if requested, the airlines will initiate the ticket refund for a canceled flight at the earliest possible time. 

Tip – Wondering what flight Itinerary means? It’s a detailed plan of your upcoming journey. It includes important information like your flight numbers, departure and arrival times etc.

7. Swiss Air Cancelled Flight Cancellation

For a situation where the aviation authorities cancel the flight, the flyer is lawfully entitled to claim a complete refund of the unused ticket. However, if the passenger voluntarily makes the cancellation, is due to an individual’s health and travel restrictions, or is a partially used ticket portion, the refund terms and conditions are subject to change according to the situation. 

8. Air Canada Cancelled Flight Compensation

Whether the flight is delayed by 3 hours (or more) or canceled due to unforeseen conditions, the flyer can claim their complete refund for the flight ticket. However, the refund claim can be requested upto a maximum of one year from the day of cancelation. 

9. Cancelled International Flight Compensation

The international flight cancellation compensation is no different than any domestic flight refund policy. That means, if the aviation authorities cancel even an international flight, they are subjected to process a complete refund to the traveler if requested. However, the value of compensation for a canceled international flight shall vary only if the ticket is partially used or is falling short on the global flight cancellation compensation terms. 


Q. Why are flights being cancelled?

A. A flight is subject to delay or gets canceled under innumerous circumstances. However, a few of the most common reasons for it are inclement weather, mechanical maintenance issues, and staffing problems. 

Q. Why is Spirit Airlines canceling flights so frequently?

A. Bad weather and staffing issues due to pandemic times have resulted in occasional disruptions recently. Even though these situations are not under the airlines’ control, if it occurs, all the passengers are eligible to claim a complete refund for the same. 

Q. Can I cancel a flight and get a refund?

A. You can only get a complete refund if the airline has canceled the flight or delayed it for a significant amount of time difference. However, if you’ve booked a refundable ticket type, you can get a refund for the cancellation of the booked ticket 

Q. What is the procedure to cancel a flight?

A. The flyer can act in accordance with the following three easy steps:

1. Go to the website and submit all your PNR details, including PNR/Booking reference number and Email ID/Lastname.

2. Select the ‘Cancel Booking’ option on the screen.

3. Wait for it to be confirmed and done. Your flight ticket is now canceled.

Q. Can I get compensation for a canceled flight due to weather?

A. Yes, even if the flight is canceled due to any unforeseen circumstances like bad weather, the flyer is lawfully eligible to claim their flight ticket for a complete refund.

Q. Can I claim compensation for a canceled flight due to a strike?

A. If the flight is canceled due to the airport staff strike, the passenger can claim flight reschedule or even a flight ticket refund for the unused flight ticket services. 

Q. Can I cancel a flight within 24 hours?

A. If you cancel the flight within 24 hours for a refundable flight ticket, the airline is bound to refund under the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Wasn’t that an update to your knowledge for the rights of compensation for each airline? Well, to stay updated on all the air travel-related quirky hacks and latest rules and regulations, make sure you regularly read through our other blogs pieces and informative write-ups. 

In fact, if any of the readers still have queries regarding the same or need assistance for booking your next India to USA  flights, the travel experts at MyTicketsToIndia are just a call away to resolve all your queries or assist you to lock the best offer and solutions to book cheap flights to India.

About Ankita | View Posts

Ankita Awasthi has been a content writer for over half a decade now. She seeks to satiate her writing urge by charting creative blogs with up-to-the-minute information. In true wordsmith spirit, she believes that a creative head never sleeps! Her blogs constantly aspire to inspire readers to live their travel dream. Her writing genre covers Indian tourism destinations, offbeat locales and travel guides with focus on its rich art history, culture, heritage, nature trails and travelling attributes.

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