Although a cancelled flight can happen for any given reason, who really is responsible for compensating passengers should this happen? Regardless of if you’re a frequent flyer travelling for business, or you’ve booked a family holiday abroad, no one wants to experience a flight cancellation, especially on short notice. Not only does this cause immediate disruption, it can also cause a lot of stress for the party involved after all the planning that has taken place.

Holiday makers and business travellers may be unsure about what rights they actually have when an airline cancels their flight, in addition to what cover is actually provided through a travel insurance policy. Remember, not all cover is the same, and it’s definitely worth comparing travel insurance from a number of leading providers through online comparison site, Utility Saving Expert. Here you’ll be able to see what benefits and features each insurer includes as part of their policy, as well as filtering by price to find the most cost-effective deal to suit your requirements.

In this guide, we will help you work out who you need to get in touch with first if your flight has been cancelled. Should you pursue the airline for a full refund or contact your insurer to make a claim? We hope to provide some much-needed clarification on the matter, as this topic affects tens of thousands of flyers every year.

Before you pick up the telephone, you need to understand who is actually cancelling the flight. If the airline has cancelled the flight for any reason, it will be their responsibility to provide you with an alternative flight, or offer you a full refund. If you have cancelled the flight, the airline will not be required to offer you a refund, in part or full. However, under these circumstances, you may be able to pursue a claim on your travel insurance policy. It’s worth checking the terms and conditions before buying this policy to see what is included and excluded, as not all reasons will be accepted, even if you believe your reason is genuine.

What does travel insurance cover if I cancel my flight?

Although this will vary depending on what type of policy you have purchased. You will have some level of cover if you have to cancel your flight or holiday. Typically, valid reasons include suffering from an illness, being made redundant, or your home has become uninhabitable.

Look out for comprehensive travel insurance policies, as these will also include cancellation cover, in addition to lost luggage and health insurance. One other thing that is worth considering when you are comparing policies, is to think about the total cost of your holiday. Meaning, if you’re spending a lot of money on flights and accommodation, it’s worth having a comprehensive policy in place. Alternatively, if you are just taking a short weekend break in Europe, a standard policy may suffice, as your total cost will be far less.

Travel insurance is designed to protect you should the unexpected happen, this is why you should buy cover as soon as you’ve booked your vacation. This will ensure your money is protected, as you can’t buy and claim after something has happened, as it will be too late at this point.

How do pre-existing medical conditions factor into this?

It is important to provide accurate information when buying travel insurance, this includes any pre-existing medical conditions you or anyone travelling with you suffers from. If you do not provide this information beforehand, any claims you make for this reason may not be accepted.

What rights do I have if the airline cancels my flight?

When you are booking a flight, whether it be online, over the phone or in person at a travel agency, you’re entering into a contractual obligation with an airline for them to transport you to a selected destination at a specified time. If the airline is not able to meet this obligation, they legally have to offer you a full refund or provide an alternative flight that is suitable. Currently, consumer rights remain unchanged, however this may be reviewed and updated in the future as the UK has now left the European Union.

When choosing an alternative flight, this should cause minimal disruption and be instated as soon as practicably possible, or on another date which suits you. Transport to the original airport, or a nearby destination must be included.

For any flights that take off outside the EU or on a non-EU airline, terms and conditions may differ slightly. Although most airlines should still offer you an alternative flight or full refund in the event of a cancellation. This is why it’s important to only use reputable companies when travelling, to give you additional protection and peace of mind.

Hopefully this guide has given you a good understanding regarding what rights you have should your travel plans be cancelled.