My flight to Ukraine has been cancelled. What is the legal position?

3rd March 2022 by admin

PDF IconOpen the Article

In the scheme of things having a flight to the Ukraine cancelled fades into insignificance compared to the hardships currently being endured by the residents of that country at the hands of President Putin but nevertheless it is an issue that many airlines and passengers will have to resolve.

The starting point is EC Regulation 261/2004 on denied boarding, cancellations and long delays which, despite Brexit, is still part of UK law with only minor amendments.

This provides that in the event of a flight being cancelled within 14 days of departure a passenger is entitled to a standardised amount of compensation on a sliding scale according to the distance to be travelled on the flight. In the case of a flight from day London to Kyiv, a distance of approximately 2,400 kms, this would be £350 for each passenger. No compensation is payable under the Regulation if the cancellation is made more than 14 days before departure.

However no compensation is payable if the airline can establish that the cancellation is due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ – for which war between Russia and Ukraine would certainly qualify.

In these circumstances other provisions of the Regulation would come into play. The passenger is entitled to be re-routed, an option which would no longer be available, or a full reimbursement of the cost of the flight within seven days.

An alternative to claiming under the Regulation would be to argue that the contract for the flight had been ‘frustrated’ i.e. it had become impossible to perform because of the outbreak of war but there is little advantage and some disadvantage to going down this route because under the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 there is a possibility that the airline could make a deduction from the price of the flight for any expenses they have incurred if it ‘just’ to do so. Ultimately this would be at the discretion of a court but it is not really an avenue worth exploring.

Your Flightpath to the Holiday of your Dreams

The purpose of this part of the website is to bring together a wealth of travel providers to make your travel planning as easy as possible. In this comprehensive collection you will find airlines, hotels, car hire, travel insurance, visa information, guidebooks and excursions and much much more. Just click on the links below and start your journey. Happy travelling!

The information on this website is brought to you free of charge. However some links on the site are affiliate links, including the links to Amazon. This means that we may receive a commission if you purchase something via that link. This funding helps pay for the upkeep, design and content of the site. Without it the site would not exist. If you have found the site useful or interesting please consider using the links to make your purchases; it will be much appreciated. For every commission we receive 10% will be donated to charity.

We use cookies, just to track visits to our website, we store no personal details. ACCEPT COOKIES What are cookies?