7 June 2023

Flight cancellation compensation

Flight cancellation compensation

Air travel has become a popular mode of long-distance transport in recent years, including in Germany. However, with the increase in the number of flights, the number of unexpected situations, such as flight cancellations, has also increased. We understand the frustration associated with such an event and have therefore prepared an article on compensation for a cancelled flight in Germany.

Passenger rights when a flight is cancelled in Germany

If your flight to or from Germany is cancelled, the carrier should offer an alternative flight to the destination. The rights you are entitled to in such a situation depend on whether you accept the offer of an alternative flight.

Acceptance of an alternative flight

If you decide to accept the offer of an alternative flight, you are entitled to free change of booking, and in some cases to compensation for lost time. You are not entitled to a refund of the ticket price in this case.

Travel Resignation

If the proposed alternative flight is not satisfactory to you, you have the right to resign from the journey. In such a case, the carrier should refund you the money for the ticket and depending on the reason for the cancellation of the flight, you may be entitled to compensation.

Criteria for awarding compensation for a cancelled flight in Germany

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 sets out the conditions that must be met for a passenger to receive compensation for a cancelled flight. Above all, the reason for the cancellation of the flight cannot be extraordinary, and the replacement flight should reach the destination with at least a two-hour delay.

Notification of flight cancellation

If the carrier has notified you of the cancellation of the flight at least 14 days before the scheduled departure, you are not entitled to compensation. However, there are special criteria under which passengers may receive compensation if they are informed of the cancellation of the flight less than 14 days before the scheduled departure.

Amount of compensation for a cancelled flight in Germany

The amount of compensation for a cancelled flight is determined based on Regulation EC 261/2004 of the European Parliament and Council of 11 February 2004 and depends on the length of the planned flight:

  1. Short flights below 1500 km: The passenger is entitled to compensation of 250 euros.
  2. Medium flights from 1500 to 3500 km or intra-EU flights over 1500 km: The passenger can receive compensation of 400 euros.
  3. Long-distance flights over 3500 km: In the event of a flight cancellation, the carrier is obliged to pay compensation of 600 euros.

However, if the airline can prove that the cancellation of the flight was due to "extraordinary circumstances" that could not be avoided even if all possible measures were taken, it may not be obliged to pay compensation. Such "extraordinary circumstances" may include extreme weather conditions, strikes, security threats, unforeseen technical problems and other situations that are beyond the control of the airline.

It is worth noting that the compensation is charged per passenger, not per booking. So if two seats are booked on one reservation, the compensation is due for both seats.

How to claim compensation in Germany?

First of all, you should contact the airline. Prepare all documents related to the trip: tickets, confirmations, proof of purchase, etc. Present the details of your situation and expectations regarding compensation to the carrier.

If the carrier refuses to pay compensation, and you believe you are entitled to it, you can lodge a complaint with the appropriate authority supervising air traffic. In Germany, this is the Federal Office for Civil Aviation (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt).

How to get help with compensation for a cancelled flight in Germany?

If you have problems obtaining compensation, you can use the services of a company specializing in assisting in obtaining compensation for cancelled flights, such as ours.


Remember that cancelling a flight does not always mean the right to compensation. It is important to know your rights as a passenger and know what steps to take in the event of a flight cancellation. If in doubt, consult with us, we will try to help.