Last week I tried to fly to Amsterdam. Unfortunately the weather conditions were really bad and my morning flight got cancelled. I waited in a line for 5 hours to get booked on an afternoon flight. Unfortunately this flight was also cancelled, since the weather didn't improved. Again I had to wait in the line for hours and then I was offered to take the journey with an overnight train. But again the train was also cancelled because the storm was too strong. So I had to go back to the airport and wait there in the line for the third time. Then I was booked for a flight the next morning and I got offered a night in the airport hotel. The next morning I made it finally to Amsterdam.

So my question is: What are my rights as a passenger if my flight is cancelled? Do I have to accept a later flight? If yes, how often? And can I just refuse to take another flight and get my money back? Who has to pay my hotel in Amsterdam if I can't arrive in time?

The flight was with Swiss from Zurich, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

  • I guess from the tags and the description that this was all within europe, and with european airlines? Only the rights you have do depend on all of the origin country, destination country and nationality of the airline... – Gagravarr Jan 11 '12 at 16:42
  • The origin country is Switzerland, the destination country is Netherlands and the airline's nationality is Swiss. – RoflcoptrException Jan 11 '12 at 17:10
  • You have the right to remain silent.. – mindcorrosive Jan 25 '12 at 10:37

You should be able to find the conditions on the airline website. Most of the conditions might be different from an airline to an other but you also have rights which are not airline-dependant. The one you might be interested in is EU261.

Terms and conditions for RyanAir, for instance :

9.2.2 If your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least two hours, ask at the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance. (click here for the text setting out these rights)

See also Easyjet regulations pertaining to flight delays and cancellations.

  • Thanks that sounds interesting. I know it depends on the airline, that's why I added the swiss tag. – RoflcoptrException Jan 11 '12 at 13:26
  • I guess the airlines always interpret the conditions according to "the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided by any reasonable measure", even when they have technical issues with the plane, etc. – Grzenio Jan 11 '12 at 14:10
  • You can see why equipment issues might be treated differently. You don't want some guy in an office asking himself, "Do I want to cost the company $30,000 and lose my annual bonus or do I want to risk the lives of 200 people who I don't know?" – Malvolio Jan 11 '12 at 16:27
  • 1
    "Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one." -- Tyler Durden – mindcorrosive Jan 12 '12 at 12:05

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