Tips and Inspiration Tips What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

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What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

Whether your flight is canceled due to bad weather or you miss a connection because of a delayed flight, you should know your rights. Here’s some information to help you out and some tips for coping with flight delays or cancellations and getting home quickly:

*Important update: Dubai Airport will close its southern runway from April 16 – May 30, 2019, for repairs and resurfacing. It will have a significant effect on flights, especially on Emirates flights. The airline says it will cancel, reschedule and redirect around a quarter of its flights during this time. If you’re booked to fly, it’s essential you check the status of your flight with the airline before you fly.

Waiting room at an airport

Do I get compensation for a canceled flight?

It depends on three main factors:

  • The reason for the cancellation
  • The airline you’re flying with
  • The route of your flight

There is strict legislation in place in Europe and the US but in the rest of the world – including the Middle East – it can very much differ from airline to airline.
If you’re flying on a European carrier, and/or flying to or from an EU airport, you’re entitled to compensation if you’re delayed by three hours or more, as well as if your plane was canceled. This applies to all passengers regardless of their nationality. This rule also applies to transit flights.

The amount you’ll be compensated can vary though and won’t necessarily be the full ticket price. You’re also entitled to some form of welfare if you’re flying to or from the EU (drinks, food and accommodation). But always check directly with the airline to know your specific rights.

What if my flight from Dubai is canceled?

Once again it will depend on the airline and the destination. If you’re flying to the UK or another European airport on a European carrier (such as British Airways or KLM), you’re entitled to compensation and a welfare package of food and accommodation. You can also click through to a template compensation letter here. But if you’re flying with Emirates or Etihad, the legislation won’t apply and you’ll have to contact the airline directly.

If you’re experiencing a wait, check out this useful article: Best things to do at Dubai Airport while you wait for your flight

Flight cancellations due to bad weather

Chances are you or someone you know has been affected by a canceled flight due to bad weather in the UAE. The usual culprit is fog. If it happens to you you’ll need to take advice from the airline about what to do. If you’re traveling out of the same city you live in, it might be a case of returning home and showing up at the airport the next day. But always get their OK before you leave the airport!
If you’re in transit, speak to the airline about any accommodation provisions it might be able to organize. However, it can be a bit of a grey area because a canceled flight due to bad weather is usually deemed an extraordinary circumstance and not within the airline’s control – so don’t rely on being compensated.

If your flight is canceled due to bad weather, speak to the airline

How can I claim compensation if my flight is delayed or canceled?

If you’re having difficulty submitting the compensation claim with the airline yourself, there are new startups such as AirHelp that can make the task a lot easier and are worth exploring.

Submit your claim for compensation for a delayed or canceled flight with the airline

Who pays for food and accommodation if my flight is canceled?

You might get this as part of a welfare package if you’re flying with an EU carrier or you’re leaving from an EU airport. Non-EU airlines should also give you a refund or find you an alternative flight, but they are unlikely to give you drinks and snacks. And it’s key to point out, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach either. If you live in Dubai and your flight from Dubai to Switzerland is canceled, you’re unlikely to be able to convince the airline you need accommodation.

If I miss a connecting flight, can I get a refund?

If you’ve booked a route all the way through with the same airline and it was the airline’s fault you’ve missed the connection, you should be entitled to compensation. However, if you’ve booked the two legs with different airlines and you miss the second because of delays to the first, you won’t be entitled to compensation.

Tip: flying parts of your route with different airline carriers is a great way to save on your total flight price, but make sure you’re never cutting it too fine! You’ll have to pass through customs, collect your luggage and check back in for your new flight. Make sure you’re leaving yourself enough time.

How can I check whether flights are canceled today?

You can find live arrival and departure flight information direct from Skyscanner for Dubai and Abu Dhabi: for Dubai Airport Arrivals/Departures and Abu Dhabi Airport Arrivals/Departures.

If you miss a connecting flight you might be entitled to compensation

Looking for more more advice and travel tips? Check these out:

Guide to hand luggage sizes and restrictions 

Top tips for surviving a long-haul flight

Find the best cheap flights from your local UAE airport

Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car rental.

*Updated in February 2019. Information and prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.