Flight cancellations and closed airspace – what the war in Ukraine means for air passengers

The war in Ukraine is a terrible event. And even though it could not sound more banal in view of the situation, there are nevertheless questions in this context that air travellers must now ask themselves. What if a flight is cancelled due to war? Can I claim a ticket refund? The answers can be found in the following blog article. 

My flight was cancelled

Can I get my money back if my flight is cancelled due to war? 

It is not only a flight to Russia or Ukraine that can be affected by cancellations due to the current situation. War is considered an extraordinary circumstance, which means that it is not the airline’s fault if your flight does not take place. You cannot claim compensation in this situation, but you can claim a ticket refund from the airline.

Flight cancelled due to Ukraine conflict – These are your rights

You have a right to:

I have not heard from the airline about the status of my flight

If your flight has been cancelled and you have not heard from the airline, you should proactively ask here. However, keep in mind that currently no one can know when the situation in Ukraine will improve. Therefore, the airlines cannot yet give you any precise information about your flights with regard to some journeys.

Since the airspace over Europe is closed for Russian airlines, you must expect a cancellation for planned flights with one of these airlines.

However, with these Ukrainian and Russian airlines, it is very likely that your flight will be affected:

But it is not only Ukrainian and Russian airlines that may experience flight cancellations due to the war. Currently, there are no flights to Belarus, Ukraine or Moldova. Of course, these restrictions also affect airlines such as Lufthansa, Wizzair or Ryanair.

My flight is delayed

Since, among other things, the airspace over Ukraine and Russia is closed, flights between Europe and Asia in particular may be delayed. If your flight is delayed due to the war in Ukraine, you are not entitled to compensation. An armed conflict is considered an extraordinary circumstance and is therefore beyond the control of the airlines.

Travel – Guidelines

If you are planning to travel to Russia or Ukraine within the next few months, be sure to visit the State Department’s website. There you will find travel advice for all countries affected by the conflict.

How can we help?

Need help with your ticket? Our air passenger rights experts are here to help. You can check your ticket refund claims free of charge here.

The story of how we almost seized a plane

The air passenger rights portal at Flightright helps passengers claim the compensation they are legally entitled to in the event of flight delays and/or cancellations. If need be, the company is also prepared to go to court to enforce your rights. But what happens if the airline maintains its firm stance and doesn’t want to pay? With a healthy dose of perseverance and patience, we can even end up going as far as seizing an actual plane. That’s exactly what happened with Thomas Cook.

plane on the ground from bird perspective

Leaving on holidays 22 hours late

Back in 2012, a plane was set to leave the gloomy weather in Vienna and head to the Cuban resort of Varadero, but sadly the passengers had to wait 22 hours before they finally set off for the sun. After her holidays, passenger Ursula M. (editorial note: name changed) enquired as to what her rights were for such a lengthy delay. Shortly after she decided to send Condor Airlines a compensation claim for her entitled amount of EUR 600*. Unfortunately, the airline made excuses and refused to pay the compensation. Under EU law, passengers are entitled to a compensation amount if their flight is delayed for 3 hours or more. The Flightright compensation calculator offers an easy and convenient way of checking whether you are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much.

Flightright takes over

Ursula M. refused to accept the airline’s denial of her claim. She contacted Flightright and handed her case over to them, and the air passenger rights portal helped her successfully enforce her claim. Although Ursula M. had the law on her side, the airline continued to refuse to pay even after several payment requests. So what happened then? Flightright fought for her to the very end, and they took a stance and requested that a plane be seized to cover the EUR 600 in compensation. The bailiff was instructed to seize one of the Condor’s planes at Salzburg airport. When the bailiff contacted the airport, the airport staff responsible feared that the incident might cause operational delays and contacted the airline right away. The involvement of the bailiff finally prompted the airline to transfer the outstanding payment. A spokesperson for Condor only issued an apology after the story went public: “There is no doubt that the customer was entitled to compensation. We made the payment as soon as we found this out. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

Have you also been affected by a delayed or cancelled flight?

Not every claim for compensation has such a spectacular ending, such as a plane being seized. But this story shows that Flightright puts its customers on an equal footing with the airlines and is prepared to go to extreme lengths to enforce their rights. The air passenger rights portal enforces successful compensation claims for up to EUR 600 for passengers affected by a flight delay or cancellation. Under EU law, the claims can be asserted up to 3 years after the fact. Have you been affected by a flight cancellation or a delay? It only takes 2 minutes to quickly check what you’re entitled to.

*The flight was booked with Condor, which is part of the Thomas Cook Group, but was ultimately operated by Thomas Cook Airlines. This is why the customer initially submitted her claim to Condor.

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