Key Points about “Are flight tickets refundable?”
- Explains when flight tickets are not refundable.
- Discusses restrictions on refundable tickets and change fees.
- Offers advice on avoiding non-refundable tickets.
- Discusses passenger rights in cases of airline bankruptcy.
- Provides tips for booking refundable flights.
You had a flight delay or a flight cancellation? Check your rights now and increase your chances of compensation
There can be many reasons why you cannot take a flight. In addition to the annoyance of not being able to fly on your well-deserved holiday, some people also experience other problems. It is not uncommon for air travellers not to be reimbursed for their flight tickets. We will explain in more detail how and why this can happen.
When am I not entitled to a flight ticket refund?
If you are unable to take a flight, a lot of money usually disappears without a trace. But this does not have to be the case. After all, in many cases, you are entitled to a flight ticket refund. But this does not always apply. A refusal to reimburse an airline ticket could hardly be more annoying. But when is a flight not eligible for reimbursement?
1. Exceptional circumstances
A flight ticket is not refundable if the airline cannot be held responsible due to extraordinary circumstances. A classic example are passengers who arrive late. Since the airline cannot be held responsible for the delay of passengers, it cannot be charged for it. Furthermore, an airline ticket is not refundable if force majeure such as a volcanic eruption or severe storm is the cause. Complex legal issues regularly arise here. After all, one always has to ask whether the airline had some influence on what happened or not. If the airline cannot substantiate that the circumstances were exceptional, there is usually a refund for the flight ticket.
It is anything but easy for the airline to conjure up extraordinary circumstances out of thin air. After all, they have the burden of proof in court. This means that they have to prove to the judge that the extraordinary circumstances were the cause of the problem. If this is not successful, one must assume that it could have been avoided. Especially in the case of delays, it is the airline’s task to emphasize that they did everything they could to arrive on time. That sounds easier than it is in practice. This makes it all the more important for passengers to assert their air passenger rights. After all, the claims are becoming more and more promising and the rulings are increasingly consumer-friendly.
2. Reduction in compensation payments
Sometimes the airline is entitled to pay only half of the compensation. This applies in the following special cases:
If the flight is a long-haul flight with a distance of at least 3500 km, the airline has the right to reduce the compensation. This is the case if the delay was longer than three hours but less than four hours.
Even if a flight is canceled, the airline can reduce the compensation payment. If the airline organizes a replacement flight, this naturally leads to delays. The length of the delay and the route of the flight again have an impact on the claim. In the case of a short-haul flight with a distance of up to 1500 km, the delay may not exceed two hours. Otherwise, there is a full claim for compensation against the airline. If, on the other hand, the delay is less than two hours, the airline may halve the claim.
The situation is similar for medium-haul flights with a distance of more than 1500 km and less than 3500 km. In these cases, if the flight arrives at its destination more than three hours late, a full refund is due. On the other hand, a reduction of 50 percent is due if the delay is less than three hours. Consequently, the possible delay increases again for long-haul flights with a distance of more than 3,500 km. Here, the airline may halve the refund if the delay does not exceed four hours.
Are you affected by an overbooking, flight delay, cancellation, or missed connection? Use our compensation calculator to check whether you can receive compensation for your problem flight and instruct Flightright conveniently online to enforce your claim. Check your flight now.
|Short distance up to 1500 km||Medium distance up to 3500 km||Long distance from 3500 km|
|e.g. London – Edinburgh||e.g. London – Athens||e.g. London – Tokyo|
3. Package tour holidaymakers also have a claim
With package holidays, you book entire travel packages. These include not only the accommodation, but also the flight. Consequently, you do not come into contact with the airline when booking. But does this harm compensation claims? Many travellers think that refusal of reimbursement from the airline ticket is the consequence. What is certain is that package travellers can also exercise their air passenger rights. This is stipulated in the Air Passenger Rights Regulation, which applies throughout Europe.
Thus, a compensation claim is already given for a delay of three hours or more. Particularly important in the context of package tours are flights whose departure time was rescheduled to be earlier than the original departure time. In this regard, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a landmark ruling in 2021. According to this ruling, a booking that was rescheduled more than one hour prior to its original departure is equated with the cancellation of the flight. Experience shows that, especially in the area of package tours, earlier departure times occur due to spontaneous changes. This court ruling is all the more important.
The claims of package travellers can be divided into two different categories. On the one hand, those affected can reduce the travel costs vis-à-vis their tour operator. Furthermore, it is also possible to directly claim compensation for the ticket costs incurred against the airline. This is the case if the arrival was delayed by at least three hours, the flight was moved to an earlier departure time by at least one hour, or it was even cancelled altogether.
To ensure that package travellers are not better off than other air travellers when it comes to compensation for the flight ticket, the two claims are offset against each other. If, for example, a flight is cancelled, the affected package travellers can contact both the tour operator and the airline. If a refund payment is then made, the tour operator and airline take over the sum proportionately. Since it is always better to have two debtors, the procedure in the sense of the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation is therefore more attractive than a mere claim for a reduction against the tour operator.
What to do if the air ticket is not refundable?
Of course, the question arises, what happens if the flight ticket is not refundable? One thing is certain: you should have your claim checked by an air passenger rights expert. Flightright’s legal experts will check whether you can get a refund for your flight ticket. If there is a claim for reimbursement, many airlines offer a practical contact form. This is not only quick, but also extremely convenient. This is particularly advisable if you want to file a claim against an airline based abroad, as it can be difficult to reach them by traditional mail.
If you prefer to send a letter, you can of course also use this method to assert your claims. Various forms can be found on the Internet. The letter should contain the most important data, such as the name and address of the passenger and details of the flight. If you decide to send a letter, be sure to send it by registered mail. This can serve as important evidence at a later date when it comes to exercising passenger rights within the time limit.
What rights do I have to get reimbursement of my flight ticket?
If your flight has been delayed or even cancelled, the question arises of how to get reimbursement. Probably the most important regulation of EU-wide scope is the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation No. 261/2004, which provides for compensation in cases where the airline notifies the cancellation of the flight less than 14 days before departure. Should this be the case, air travellers can claim reimbursement of up to 600 euros. The claim applies to all EU flights operated by European airlines. EU flights are all those that take off and/or land in the EU.
If you want to stay on the flight despite the cancellation, you can also enforce this legally. You have the right to ask the airline to provide an alternative. The airline must then provide you with a replacement of the same value. Package travellers, on the other hand, can demand a replacement flight. If the airline does not provide a replacement, you can do so instead. You can then claim the costs incurred by the airline.
If all the stress about cancelled flights makes you lose your desire to travel, you can of course withdraw from the contract. In the course of this, you can demand a full refund of the price of the flight ticket. People who are left stranded halfway through their journey can also claim any additional costs. Indeed, if you have to take several flights in a row, you can ask for a return flight to the airport of departure.
How many days does the airline have to refund a passenger’s ticket?
It is common knowledge that unfortunately many airlines try to sit out a claim for air ticket reimbursement. This is where customer friendliness ends for many airlines. No matter whether it’s annoying hotlines with hours of waiting time or unanswered enquiries by e-mail. Airlines try everything possible to slow you down in asserting your claims. If the airline does respond at some point, they usually refer to extraordinary circumstances. It is therefore not surprising that some people wait years for a refund. You should not put up with this. With Flightright, you get a reliable partner at your side who supports you in enforcing your rights. We will insist that the airline in question meets the seven-day payment deadline stipulated in the EU Passenger Rights Regulation No. 261/2004.
What are the deadlines for flight delay compensation?
The time limit depends on the country in which you want to enforce your claim. While Germany has a time limit of 3 years, France has a time limit of 5 years. Find out more about the flight delay compensation time limit here.
When do airlines have to refund the full airfare?
The most lucrative cases for air travellers are those in which the airfare is fully refunded. But when does the full reimbursement of airline tickets take place? On the subject of reimbursement of airline tickets, Lufthansa has listed cases of full reimbursement on its website. This means that you will receive a refund in the event of a flight ticket cancellation. This means that, with Lufthansa, cancellation without replacement will result in reimbursement of the flight tickets. Furthermore, you are entitled to an air ticket refund if the flight is brought forward by more than one hour or is delayed by at least two hours. You are also entitled to a refund if your arrival is delayed by more than two hours.
How can I get a full refund for my flight ticket?
There are several ways to get your air ticket refund. It is always free of charge if you take care of the reimbursement yourself. However, experience has shown that this involves a lot of stress and time. Alternatively, you can hire experts at Flightright. But what does it cost to get a full refund for my flight ticket? If the airline pays your refund within seven days, our service is free of charge for you. For long-term refunds, you only have to pay for our service if your claim for a refund has been successfully enforced. Here we charge a commission of between 20 and 30 percent.
Can my flight ticket be refunded in the event of a delay?
There can be many reasons for a delayed departure. A classic example is probably passengers who arrive too late. But how is air ticket reimbursement handled in the event of a delay? If the departure is delayed by at least five hours, you have a right to cancel the contract. In these cases, the airline must pay the full amount of the refund in case of cancellation of the flight ticket.
Will I get my flight ticket back in the event of a strike?
Contrary to what many airlines would have their customers believe, a strike is by no means an exceptional circumstance. Quite the contrary. From the point of view of the ECJ (judgement of 23.3.2021, ref.: C-28/20), passengers can also demand air ticket reimbursement in the event of a strike by the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation.
How can Flightright help you?
Have you received a refusal of reimbursement for your ticket? Then you should claim your air passenger rights. We will enforce your refund and compensation! If necessary also before the court. Is your flight overbooked, delayed, or canceled?
According to the EU Passenger Rights Regulation, passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of a delay, cancellation, overbooking, or missed connection. You can claim up to 600 euros of compensation per person (minus commission fee). This compensation is independent of the ticket price. Flightright enforces your right for you. If necessary also in court.
As experts on the subject of air passenger rights, we enforce your right to compensation against the airline! Flightright’s air passenger rights experts are also happy to help you with ticket reimbursements