Can you get refunded for a canceled European flight?
Photo by Morgan on Unsplash

Most of the questions I’ve been getting from readers lately concern how to get refunded for a canceled flight. As you may know by now some of the U.S. airlines had been until recently playing games with passengers (ahem, United and JetBlue). The Department of Transportation (DOT) received so many complaints that it had to come out with an enforcement notice. You can see that notice here. Here, meanwhile, is my experience calling five different North American airlines trying to get my money back for March, April and May trips. If your canceled flight was operated by a U.S. carrier, the DOT notice applies to you.

In fact, if your flight was supposed to fly to, from or within the U.S., it doesn’t matter where the operating airline is based. If it canceled your flight, it needs to give you a full refund according to the DOT. But what about flights within Europe? Reader Simon L. asked this question on our “A Trick to Get Your Money Back From Airlines That Canceled Your Flight” post:

“What is the situation with dealing with European airlines? We had one-way tickets from Dubrovnik to London Gatwick with EasyJet for early April. The flight has been canceled. I have requested a full refund from EasyJet citing European regulation 261 but on their website, they are saying they are giving credits only. The tickets were purchased more than 60 days ago so disputing the charge with my CC probably won’t work and, at this point, a voucher is not going to do much good if we don’t get back to Europe this year. Any suggestions?”

My answer: Can you get refunded for a canceled European flight?

I have to say that I wasn’t 100% sure of the answer, so I went searching. But I found that the latest on this question—on how to get refunded for a canceled European flight—is encouraging. As written in a recent Reuters story, “Airlines must reimburse customers for flights cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union transport chief said on Wednesday, rejecting calls by carriers to relax EU rules and allow an EU-wide waiver of refund obligations.”

It seems that the airlines are concerned that issuing so many refunds will drain them of money. For now, that isn’t enough to get them out of their obligation to refund, and not issue credits to, passengers on flights that have been canceled due to the COVID-19 situation.

Have you tried to get refunded for a canceled European flight?

Did you receive a refund? Did the airline give you a hard time? Please share your experience in the comments!


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18 Comments On "Can You Get Refunded for a Canceled European Flight?"
  1. M Ryan|

    I purchased a flight on Norwegian Air from CPH to MCO for a date in the near future. I received notice from the Airline that the cancelled by flights. They offered Credit Vouchers with a 10% bonus. Hidden in fine print was aa link to request a refund. I requested the refund, and they sent me an email acknowledgment, stating they will review my claim and if they agree I am due a refund, they will get back to me when the get back to normal, but gave no time frame to review or respond, and then offered merge opportunity again to get a credit voucher, but I had to act fast, as that opportunity would be going away soon. I then thought about the Credit Card Dispute process. Concerned that since I had purchased that ticket months before the COVID19 pandemic, I was concerned about loosing that window of opportunity. I reached out to Am-Ex, and they told me that I should wait until the flight date to file the dispute for “Non Receipt of Services”, if Norwegian hadn’t already responded to me by then. They said with the Cancellation notice, and their acknowledgement of my Refund Request, along with the fact that the flight did not run on the date booked, they would be successful in charging back the ticket purchase, if the airline stays out of Bankruptcy. That now is the $64,000 question. .


    Hi. You’ve covered US flights and European flights, but what about Canadian flights? Air Canada rescheduled our flight. Left us with no connecting flights and then charged us a cancellation fee when we cancelled the flight.

  3. Richard Strauss|

    Since Britain is no longer in the EU does the refund rule apply to British Airways (our flight originated in the US).

  4. Connie Acra|

    Any update on the ability to get a refund from South American Airlines? I am getting airline credit only from Avianca & LATAM.

  5. Marvin Mittlestat|

    Our flights are not canceled they are suspended? What can we do?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good question! Which airline?

  6. Ray N.|

    I had a round-trip SFO to London on British Air, ,booked through American Airlines. The outgoing flight (4//29) was cancelled, but they still listed the return flight (5/14). I tried calling a couple times, until the hold-time was under 10 min. and was promptly promised a full refund, no fuss. As you said in a previous article, Johnny, American seems to be handling this admirably. It was a super bargain fare with generous carry-on allowances and meals included… I’m so disappointed that “you know what” spoiled the trip!

  7. Victoria Weeke|

    My cruise in Europe has been cancelled, but what about my flight on Lufthansa? Why go when my vacation has been cancelled? Any way to get my money back OR get an extended time for flying?

  8. Jay|

    I booked using both Chase UR points and cash (using the Chase portal, did not transfer for airline miles) for a US-Europe RT flight in April with United. United cancelled my flights. I have called both Chase and United and they both give me the run around that a refund is not possible. I’ve quoted the DOT regulations but they still insist. Now I’ve got “travel credit” with United. Apparently if I don’t use it by the end of the year, THEN I will get a refund. Doesn’t quite help me when I got laid off and would rather have that money now for survival. Chase and United are terrible companies.

  9. LisaF|

    Do you know of any recourse with home rentals? won’t give me a refund for a villa in Tuscany for end of May. They are offering a credit but I want a refund

  10. Diane Belok|

    My husband and I have tickets on Icelandair from London to Reykjavik/Reykjavik to Newark, NJ in July. We want to change the dates but the airline has a particularly onerous policy. We are willing to pay change/rebooking fees if necessary, but it is my understanding that the airline does not allow to rebook to different destinations and the window for new travel closes in January. I booked through American Express Travel. I would appreciate if you could clarify their change policy and explain what our other options are, if any.
    Thank you.

  11. David Ashby|

    Johnnyjet, I notice the Credit cards you show are AMEX & VISA. Would Mastercard be operating on the same guidelines? As an example: I paid an airline with my Mastercard in March for a O/W ticket from Orlando to Edmonton, AB. I was scheduled to fly on April 6,2020. Does the 60 day window for return airfare apply through Mastercard?

  12. Pamela|

    I purchased my ticket in Sept 2019, on Expedia or Priceline. I purchased travel flight insurance. My flight was for May 8th, my state (CA) is lockdown until May 15th. The flight to Hawaii hasn’t been cancelled per se as of yet, but Hawaii remains in lockdown. The travel insurance offered me a refund for the cost of travel insurance policy, haha. Travel insurance is trying not to pay people out. Say they don’t pay out, is their compensation through Expedia/Priceline or the airline? Thanks!

  13. Stevie Kaye|

    I putchased

  14. Stevie Kaye|

    I purchased 2 tickets ftom Orbitz for a flight on China Eastern ftom Shanghai to Beijing in August to catch a cruise which has since been cancelled I tried calling Orbitz numerous times and they say on voice mail to call only 72 hours before flight . Flight is 4 months away and ticket cost is 400 dollars for 2 tickets which I need money now . I called China Eastern snd they say call Orbitz not their problem. What should I do

    1. Johnny Jet|

      When did you buy the tickets? If in the last 60 days call your credit card company and do a chargeback. Lesson learned: Don’t book through a third party next time unless it’s a great deal. These OTAs are going to get hammered

  15. sherry Raber|

    In addition to getting airline refunds, how about travel insurance? I am having difficulty in getting my premium refund from Travel Guard. All of my trip was cancelled. They are offering just a one shot voucher use within two years, but no refund.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good question. Some readers are having luck so call back and speak to a different agent or ask for a supervisor

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