In a general flight cancellation, travellers have two basic contractual rights on any airline: a seat on your original airline’s next available flight or a refund of your ticket. Though your odds are really low, you can face some real hassles should your flight gets cancelled. This is what you must know incase things go awry.

Refunds

As a universal policy, regardless of the cause for the airline to cancel your flight, you have a right to a full refund of your ticket. Refunds are done in the same manner as the ticket purchase: in cash or credit to a credit card.

Next available seat

Most airline policies are built on the assumption that you want to get to your final destination as quickly as possible. Therefore, almost all airline contracts promise to get you a seat on the airline’s next available flight to the destination at no extra cost.

Delay assistance

Generally, if an airline cancels your flight because of some event outside the airlines’ control (such as turbulent weather conditions), your only rights are either a refund or the next available flight to your destination. But when the cancellation is due to a problem within an airline’s control (such as plane change or crew shortage) most lines typically offer: meal vouchers for delays of four hours or more and hotel accommodation for extended delays of eight hours or more within the period of 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Look for alternatives

When an airline cancels a flight well before the scheduled departure time, it either notifies you by e-mail or a text or automatically rebooks you for another flight. If the airline’s solution is reasonable, take it; arranging for something else last minute is a major hassle. If not, suggest an alternative. And if you used a travel agent for the tickets, contact the agency and have them arrange a substitute.

Keep your cool

Know that things are not always under control. The staff assisting you at a busy airport didn’t cause the cancellation and can’t offer seats that aren’t available. Be patient with them and give them some time to work it out for you.