Last minute cancellation of holiday flights - know your rights
Having your flight cancelled last-minute is one of the biggest headaches a holidaymaker can face. Arriving at the airport, bags packed, only to see the dreaded notice on the departures board is not exactly a good start to your trip! Bad weather conditions, airline strikes and even volcanic ash (!) are all examples of occurrences out of our control which can force airline companies to make a last-minute cancellation.
Luckily you have plenty of rights in this area to fall back on should the worst happen, predominantly your EU air passenger rights which come into play in the event of last minute cancellation of flights which departs or arrives from an EU country. See the EU consumer rights website for more information.
If your flight is cancelled, provided this was not caused by 'extraordinary circumstances' (eg closure of airspace), the airline must give you a choice between reimbursement or rerouting. You may, depending on the circumstances, be entitled to some compensation. You also have the right to assistance (eg refreshments) while waiting for re-routing. A word of warning though, should you opt for reimbursement of your ticket cost you forfeit any additional rights.
Consumer champion Which.co.uk also offers some great advice on your rights in the case of last minute cancellation of your flights. If you meet certain criteria, you will be entitled to legal protection under the Denied Boarding Regulation. You are entitled to this if you have a confirmed booking, you checked in on time and you are flying to and from an EU airport.
Arriving to the airport and finding your flights has been cancelled is stressful enough without not knowing your rights - so it's worth doing your research before you go on holidays to know where you stand before the airlines start hitting you with excuses!