Delay, cancellation, missed flight, get on board smoothly!

Delayed flight

Your flight is delayed of less than 3 hours at destination: be patient, have some drinks (and always keep the invoices!) and relax. You can send the invoices to the company afterwards. Sometimes, airlines can also give you voucher. Best is to use them first. Ask the crew about it. Do not spend that waiting time making yourself drunk, besides of not getting any refund on your drinks, you might also miss the departure. We will see that further.

Your flight is delayed of more than 3 hours: be patient, do not panic! The company will do everything they can to bring you to final destination no matter what. It can take times, days or even weeks, but they will do it!

If the flight is canceled, the procedure is the same. They will do the best to put you back on the first flight available.

Since the airline has the obligation to bring you back to your final destination as soon as it can, if you choose another way to get there, you might not be entitled to a refund. This can change according to companies so better try and don’t get upset if you don’t get it. Some of them are willing to do a commercial gesture.

In case of long delay, listen to the announcements, they can give you a hint about your entitlement. If you hesitate, just send over your request.

For example, they can say “we cannot land because of the snow” then most likely you won’t be entitled to anything. But if they say “the pilot arrived late” then you might get something back. Thing is, when the delay is because of the weather forecast, it is not the company’s fault and they have not obligation to give you anything back (but the refund of your invoices).

When you want to send your request, always mention that you want the money according to the European law, EU 261/2004. The law divides the compensation according to the distance: 250€, 400€ or 600€. If you travel only within Europe, with no connection flight, most likely you would get 250€.

If you go with an insurance company, they will give you back less than what the law says, that is because they need the money themselves to grow their business.

What kind of invoice shall I send ?

Anything about food, drinks, accommodation during the delay period, travel to and from the airport. You can try also to give your alternative transport in case you decide to travel with another company.

To summary

Flight delayed less than 3 hours

  • Be patient and chill !
  • Request food and drinks vouchers.
  • Keep your invoices if you want grab something to eat and drink and send them over

Flight delayed more than 3 hours

  • Keep your invoices to ask for a refund.
  • Listen to the announcement to get to know the cause of the delay and the handling
  • Keep calm!
  • Send your compensation request with mentioning you want to get the EU261/2004 coverage.

Missed flight

Too bad, but that is rarely, very rarely the fault of the airline company. You have to be at the check in gate on time, and then at the boarding gate. For European flights, check in opens 2 hours in advance and boarding gate opens 30 min before the departure. Security can take time according to the season and the country’s politic. Read the news before living, it can give you a hint on how early you should present yourself at the counter and do not wander too long in the airport’s shops.

Also, if you look ill and have no medical statement that says it is safe for you to travel, if you look drunk/drugged you can be denied boarding. You need to look fit to board. Of course, if you have a disability, it is mentioned when purchasing your ticket with the relevant help. No problem with that.

In this case you cannot have the refund of your flight BUT you can have the refund of the taxes! It can be huge! Once I sold a ticket of around 200€, for which the ticket itself was only 1€, the customer got nearly the entire refund. You can always ask prior to your flight how much are the taxes if you consider to miss it on purpose.

Then, if you really need to get to your destination, don’t be upset at the crew. They do what they can to help you out but if you’re late, that’s only on you. For instance, they can help you to book another ticket (full price of course)

If the reason of your late arrival is genuine, an insurance might be helpful to get the full ticket refunded.


  • Chill, it is certainly not the company’s fault!
  • Request the airport tax refund

Once you know these, your flights are way less stressful, you travel smoothly and peacefully. Take notes and relax on board!

Photo: Flickr/BBSportzpix