If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to compensation, a refund or a voucher. The amount of compensation you receive depends on the length of the flight (short-haul, medium-haul or long-haul). If your flight is cancelled or delayed, you may receive compensation from the airline for the inconvenience and losses you have suffered. Other airlines offer vouchers for different flights, in which case, please follow all the terms and conditions of the voucher and make sure you travel within the validity period of the voucher. In this article, we explain everything about refunds and flight vouchers.
Voucher vs. refund
Flight voucher or refund: For all those who do not want a voucher, the following applies: You have a right to a full refund of the flight price. There is no obligation to accept travel vouchers instead of cash. If a flight is cancelled, consumers have the choice to either get the ticket price back or to get a replacement transport from the airline. However, airlines may offer their customers a voucher instead of a refund in such cases.
In some situations, a travel voucher may seem more attractive to air travellers than a refund (repayment), as they can use the voucher on future trips with the same airline or other partner airlines to save on ticket costs. However, some airlines offer limited options for flight voucher redemption, so passengers should check whether it is better to use discounts through their vouchers or to prefer direct refund claims. Therefore, it is important to understand what the policies of a particular airline are before deciding on the offer.
The airline has offered me a voucher: Do I have to accept it?
No, there is no need to accept the voucher. Passengers are entitled to a refund of the cost of the flight ticket (ticket price) in accordance with the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation. Unlike flight vouchers, a financial refund offers more flexibility for planning future trips, as it is not dependent on a specific airline or its partners.
In addition, passengers can use Flightright’s free compensation calculator to check whether they are also entitled to compensation of between EUR 250 and EUR 600 from their airline. Therefore, overall, it makes more sense to accept financial reimbursement for flight cancellations instead of vouchers.
Why do airlines offer vouchers?
Airlines offer flight vouchers as an alternative to financial refunds because they are looking for a way to minimize the cost of unsuccessful flights in times of crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic (Corona Pandemic) and possible bankruptcies. Although it offers savings to airlines compared to direct reimbursement, passengers do not enjoy similar benefits. Under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation, passengers are entitled to a full financial refund of the purchase price of their ticket (ticket price) for cancelled flights.
Flight vouchers – What is the advantage for airlines?
As already mentioned, airlines offer flight vouchers instead of a financial refund in order to minimize costs in times of crisis, especially due to the COVID-19 crisis (Corona pandemic) and possible insolvencies. The advantages for airlines compared to full reimbursement come in the form of significantly lower financial compensation.
In addition, they can hope for unused vouchers if travellers do not take their flights or rebook. Charges for collecting refund costs can also be avoided with the use of vouchers. Airlines are thus able to secure revenue and profitability despite a difficult time.
What can I do if I do not want a voucher?
Air travellers who do not want to accept flight vouchers can tell the airline not to accept the voucher and ask for a refund in money. The Air Passenger Rights Regulation requires airlines to provide a financial refund of ticket costs by cash, bank transfer, cheque or, with written consent, by voucher.
Travellers can also use Flightright’s free compensation calculator to enforce their refund claims against airlines for flight cancellations or delayed/cancelled flights. Alternatively, you can also contact the airline directly to get a refund for the ticket costs. However, this takes a lot of time and most airlines ignore such requests. That’s why we recommend the Flightright compensation calculator.
How can I claim my refund?
#1 Try it yourself: Difficulty reaching the airline
Why is it so difficult to claim compensation or reimbursement directly from airlines?
It can be very difficult and time-consuming for passengers to claim their refunds directly from the airline. In most cases, a paper war has to be conducted with the airline in which numerous documents have to be submitted and processed. This requires a lot of time and expense from the passenger to claim the refund.
Airlines are also not always eager to abide by refund claims. They often try to delay them or continue to offer vouchers as a substitute, which is not acceptable to many travellers. Moreover, all requests are usually received via email or phone, which makes the process even more complicated.
#2 Why Flightright? David versus Goliath!
It is simple, quick and easy for air travellers to claim their refunds against the airline with Flightright. Flightright uses the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation to claim financial refunds from airlines. No flight vouchers (coupons) need to be used to claim refunds.
With our free compensation calculator, passengers can claim back their ticket costs and check their refund claim within 2 minutes without any cost risk. If you need help, our service team is always available.
When did the airline inform you about the cancellation?
|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|
When can I claim my refund?
In Germany, air travellers (passengers) are entitled to a refund for up to 3 years from the end of the year in which the flight problem occurred. The time limits depend on the country where the claim is made (flight delay compensation deadline). With Flightright, you can have your compensation claims checked quickly and easily using the free compensation calculator. Find out more about flight delay compensation deadlines in other EU countries.
How long does it take to get my refund?
The time it takes to get a refund depends largely on the airline and the particular refund claim. With Flightright, passengers can check their compensation claims quickly and easily using the free compensation calculator. It usually takes between 4 and 8 weeks for the refund request to be processed by the airline and for the refund to be paid out if the decision is positive.
Flightright requests a refund of your ticket price from the airline with a 2-week deadline. If the airline does not reimburse you in response to our request for payment, a promising claim will be taken to court. If we take your case to court, it can take several months to obtain a judgement.
Can I still submit a denied claim for reimbursement to Flightright?
Yes, air travellers can also submit a rejected claim for reimbursement from the airline via the passenger portal flightright.co.uk. Flightright offers assistance in enforcing their claims under the EU Passenger Rights Regulation, focusing on compensation claims, financial payment refunds and flight vouchers. Flightright’s free compensation calculator makes checking refund claims convenient and straightforward.
Voucher vs. compensation
In the event of flight cancellations or delays, air travellers are not only entitled to flight vouchers but often also have the right (air passenger rights) to monetary compensation. This is regulated in the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation and the amount can be up to 600 euros, depending on how far the flight distance is. A compensation payment is also independent of the price of the booked ticket – thus, the compensation can be higher than the cost of the flight ticket itself.
However, as many airlines try to hide this right from their passengers, they usually offer vouchers instead – but it is worth not accepting this offer right away. Often, the compensation amount is larger than the amount included in the travel voucher and, in addition, compensation offers another advantage: no booking fees and no restrictions on destination or travel date. Thus, you retain more flexibility both in budget and regarding your travel date – a clear advantage over vouchers!
Why you should not accept a voucher from the airline as compensation
When you buy an airline ticket, you usually expect the journey to go smoothly and to arrive at your home at the end of your holiday without any problems. However, if there are delays or even flight cancellations, some airlines will try to fob off their passengers with a voucher instead of compensation claims – but why shouldn’t you accept a voucher from the airline as compensation?
Caution: Here’s how you could lose your right to compensation
Travellers should be careful about accepting vouchers from airlines as compensation. Reimbursement in the form of a travel voucher is only possible if air travellers agree to it in writing. This is because if they accept them, they lose their statutory right to compensation. Meal vouchers in the event of a delay, however, can be accepted calmly, as the right to compensation does not change in this case.
However, it is crucial to note that you will only be granted compensation if the reason for the delay or flight cancellation also falls within the airline’s responsibility. Among other things, this applies in the case of technical defects or staff absences.
Flight cancelled: What are my rights and how much money am I entitled to?
The EU Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 clearly states that passengers affected by a flight delay (over 3 hours), cancellation or overbooking will receive compensation of up to €600. However, this only applies in cases where the airline is responsible for the cancellation or delay.
However, if the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances, such as bad weather or natural disasters, the airline is usually not to blame if it has then taken all measures to transport the passengers quickly. In such cases, however, passengers have the right (air passenger rights) to a financial refund of their ticket costs.
If a flight is cancelled more than 14 days in advance, the airline is not obliged to pay compensation. In this case, however, passengers have the right to a refund of their ticket costs or to a voucher.
In addition to compensation or reimbursement, the airline also must provide care services to support passengers during flight cancellations. This can be in the form of meals, accommodation and transport to and from the airport. It is important to find out exactly what assistance is available in the event of a flight cancellation and to take advantage of it if it is offered.
The most important things in a nutshell: Compensation, refund or voucher.
If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to compensation. Passengers have a right (air passenger rights) to compensation, reimbursement or even flight vouchers. In many cases, the amount of compensation depends on the specific route and distance of the flight. Although different airlines have different policies, it is possible under the EU Passenger Rights Regulation to receive compensation of up to €600.
If you had to cancel your booking due to an extraordinary circumstance, you are entitled to a refund of the entire ticket price. However, even in such cases, most airlines offer customers the possibility of receiving vouchers instead of cash, which can be used for later travel.
Caution: You could lose your right to compensation this way.
Travellers should be careful when it comes to airline vouchers as compensation. If they accept them, they will lose their legal right to compensation.
How can Flightright help you?
You are stuck at the airport because of a flight delay? Your flight has been canceled, or you have been removed from the passenger list? In each of the situations described, you have a right to compensation as an air passenger.
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