My SO and I decided to take a trip from Brussels to Nice. We booked and paid two flights with Brussels Airlines: one on August 14th and one on August 20th around 6 AM.

Since then, my SO broke her leg really badly and can't take any flight (according to the doctors), so we thought of that flight as a loss.

But two days ago, the company changed that flight from 6 AM to 1 PM (the flight number is even different from the previous one). The email we got doesn't explicitly say that we can cancel the flight or trip on that basis. They just say: "oh, by the way, we changed your flight".

Technically I was supposed to get back to work right after the flight, but this change would have forced me to take an extra leave day, which I didn't have anymore.

Can we take that flight change as an opportunity to get a refund for the whole or part the trip?

I tried to call them three times already but everytime it was a paying line with like 10 minutes waiting before they hung up (before I even had the chance to speak to a human).


Since the foreseen delay is more than 5 hours, the EU air passenger rights regulation (article 8(1)(a), as referenced by article 6(1)(c)(iii)) entitles you to forgo the trip entirely and instead get a full refund of the price you paid for the tickets.

You do not need to specify a reason for wanting to cancel, other than pointing to the change.

As a practical matter, sending an email to their customer service department is as likely to be effective as it is to keep calling.

If the change had delayed you for less than 5 hours, it would lead you into the fun question of whether it should be considered a "cancellation" or "delay" according to the regulations. I think even then the legal precedent would be in your favor, especially in light of the different flight number. But in this case you don't need to care about that, because either way you'd have an absolute right to a refund.

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