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The first leg of my flight from Vienna to Abu Dhabi (for the month December 2021) has been cancelled by Etihad Airways. I called the customer service and they refused to rebook the new flight without additional cost.

According to Etihad Airways I can take the flight from Germany to Abu Dhabi without extra cost but not from Austria anymore. According to them - the flights they have now on their website are from their partners (e.g. Lufthansa) and they cannot rebook me on these flights for free of cost. According to them - I can cancel my whole booking free of cost and then rebook new flights on Etihad-Airlines website via Frankfurt or Munich to my final destination (which cost me way more than I have paid before).

What rights I have now? Is this the last option I have that I take the first leg from Germany (drive 400KM to Munich, or fly to Frankfurt with own cost)?

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat to avoid a flame war.
    – JonathanReez
    Jul 27 at 21:58
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Your rights in a situation like this are spelt out under European Law, in particular, EU261 (official legislation here)

Unfortunately in a situation like yours the legislation is not entirely clear on what the airline has to do.

Officially, for a cancelation like this that occurred more than 14 days in advance, then airline has to offer YOUR choice of :

  • A full refund
  • "re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity"; or
  • "re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to availability of seats."

Whilst this may appear that they need to offer you an equivalent flight at no additional charge (based on the 3rd condition), the phrase "subject to availability of seats" is generally interpreted (by the airlines, at least) as meaning seats available on that same airline. In this case, Etihad has stopped all flights between these two cities for those dates, so from their perspective there are no "available seats" for the dates you're after - leaving the only viable option a full refund.

It would certainly be worth contacting the airline again and specifically mentioning EU261 - and especially the third option above - however it's highly likely they will still not provide you seats on a different carrier at no charge.

As you were given more than 14 days notice of the cancellation, no compensation is due under the EU261 regulations.

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  • Point 3 - If Etihad Airways is not flying from Vienna to Abu-Dhabi, I can understand if they hesitate to rebook my flight. But Ethiad is still offering flights on their website from Vienna to Abu-Dhabi using their partners Lufthansa. Wht you say about this? Is is "subject to availability of seats", yes it is.
    – N Randhawa
    Jul 27 at 19:41
  • Point 2- They can still do it.
    – N Randhawa
    Jul 27 at 19:43
  • Point 2- I also asked the customer service if they are paying me train, bus, taxi or other means of transports from Vienna to Munich. They said - No it is not possibile.
    – N Randhawa
    Jul 27 at 19:53
  • They're offering a full refund. If they offered to pay the train from Vienna to Munich, it would not cost them much and be worth it for the good will. However, that would set a precedent (which is likely why they won't do it) - e.g., what if the flight was from London and London to Munich costs more, for example. Plus what happens if the train which they can't control then runs late and you miss your flight? Would they be responsible to put you on the next flight at no charge? (Can't say though why they won't use the Lufthansa option...) Jul 27 at 22:04

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