Many travellers get confused between the rights they have if their airline cancels their flight and the cancellation cover provided by their travel insurance policy.
We've produced a simple guide to help explain when you should look to your airline for compensation and when you should contact your travel insurance provider, it's actually very simple;
If an AIRLINE cancels your flight, for whatever reason, it is their responsibility to offer you an alternative flight or refund the full cost to you.
If YOU need to cancel your flight the airline is under no obligation to offer you a refund, you should check their terms and conditions. If you are unable to claim your money back from your airline you may be able to make a claim on your travel insurance policy.
Most travel insurance policies will include some level of cancellation cover.
Having cancellation cover means that if you need to cancel your holiday for an insured reason, usually illness of yourself or a close family member, redundancy, being summoned for jury service or your home becoming inhabitable, you would be able to make a claim to recoup the cost of trip. You should read the terms and conditions of your policy for full details.
Remember, when choosing a travel insurance policy you should ensure that the level of cancellation cover included is enough to cover the cost of your holiday, otherwise you could find yourself out of pocket.
You should also be aware that in order to be covered for cancellation in relation to a pre-existing medical condition, that is medical condition that you are already aware of, you must have declared the condition at the time of purchasing the travel insurance.
In order to get the full benefit of the cancellation cover you should buy travel insurance as soon as you've paid for your holiday, this will ensure that the money you've handed over is protected.
When you book a flight or a holiday with an airline or tour operator you enter into a contract with them to get you to a certain destination at a certain time. If they cancel the flight and are therefore unable to fulfil that contract they have a duty to provide you with a full refund or an alternative flight.
Airlines and Flights within the EU
The EU regulations apply to all those departing from EU airports as well as those arriving at an EU airport on an EU airline. If your airline cancels your flight you are entitled to:
Your rights if a non-EU airline cancels your flight will vary according to the terms and conditions of your contract with the airline. The majority of airlines will have a contractual obligation to offer you a full refund or provide an alternative flight it they cancel your original flight.