Coronavirus: Flight Cancellations and Right to Compensation


Frequently Asked Questions


General questions regarding coronavirus affecting flights and causing delays and cancellations:

Q: How is coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting flight companies with increased cancellations? Why are airlines cancelling flights?
A: Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, there have been significant changes to the air travel. The spread of COVID-19 and the reasonable precautionary measures that have been undertaken by countries globally have lead to a severe travel ban disrupting thousands of flights and millions of passengers around the globe.

Flight companies have two possible moves: they could rather cancel flights because they won't be profitable (since numerous passengers are cancelling themselves, which means a drop in demand) or they could fly anyway to secure their landing slots but experience tremendous losses. This means that most of the airlines are forced to suspend all flights on the affected routes.

Q: What passengers should do if they're worried about an airline going under if they've already booked a flight?
A: They could try to contact the airline to gather some additional information. However, reaching them in light of the recent events would be extremely difficult and we’re positive most of the airline companies are now flooded with requests.

Alternatively, passengers could hire a lawyer to check the airline's status and potentially file a claim. Often, passengers who have booked a flight by themselves and not through a travel agency, will not usually get their money back if the airline goes bankrupt. However, if you've bought through a travel agency or other third-party, you may be covered.

Q: Am I protected by the EU261 regulation and entitled to a flight cancellation compensation if my flight is cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak?
A: If there is no explicit decision by the authorities, government or other official institutions like airports to suspend all flights due to coronavirus, passengers should be compensated by the airline (due to EU261 regulation) if the airline chooses to cancel flights themselves.
However, if there is an official travel ban and airports are being closed, airlines are not obligated to pay compensation to their passengers for the cancellation of their flights.

As with any flight cancellation rights, the airline must refund your ticket or offer you a replacement flight.

Q: When am I entitled to compensation for my cancelled flight?
A: The coronavirus outbreak falls under the “extraordinary circumstances”, according to the EU 261/2004, which is an event beyond the airline’s control. In this case, you are not eligible for compensation, so you won’t get any money from the airline. Passengers still can be entitled to compensations if:

– If there is no official travel warning
– Airlines cancel flights due to their financial difficulties

Q: What’s the best way to get through to airlines when a flight is cancelled?
A: When a flight is cancelled the best way to get through to the airline is to visit the airline's website where you can then find the relevant contact information and find out what to do next. You’ll need to work your way around it to find their flight compensation form if this is readily available or at least an email to contact them. If you succeed to file your claim, you’ll then need to sit and wait for the airline to reply, which can take a long time. It's in the best interest of the airline to make it difficult for customers to get through to them in the case of a cancellation or delay. Airline companies are well aware that most people lack the persistence and motivation to keep on trying to reach them. So it means that they only need to prolong the claim process to save thousands of money.

Q: The airline cancelled the flight and they have already refunded the plane ticket. Am I still eligible for compensation?
A: If the airline cancelled the flight for a reason other than force majeure conditions, but because of economic reasons, for example, you’re eligible not only for a full or partial refund of your ticket, but also for a flight cancellation compensation. Regardless of the refund, you are owed compensation under EU261 because of the inconvenience or lost profits caused to you by the airline.

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions regarding the use of Colibra in light of the coronavirus outbreak:

Q: Will Colibra pay out compensation if the airline has cancelled the flight?
A: Colibra is temporarily removing the payout feature for flight cancellations meaning that it won’t be possible to secure a compensation via our app until the coronavirus crisis clears out.

For all registered flights in our app from the 17.03.2020 onwards, we will pay normally for 1h+ delays and will offer our users legal support to claim compensations when eligible.

Q: My flight has been delayed – can I get compensation from Colibra?
A: Our flight delay compensation service operates as usual with every European flight. You can still get a guaranteed payout for every flight delayed by 1 hour or more if you download the app and register your flight no later than 20 min. prior to take-off. Use our default and guaranteed 60 min. payout feature or move time slider to increase the value of your compensation.

Q: Can I change the amount of my compensation – the flight delayed more/less than I’ve selected?
A: The compensation you will get is the amount you have selected prior to accepting the General Terms and Conditions (available to read from the app), and it will not be updated automatically if the flight delays more or less. If the flight delays less than the time you have selected – you will not get a compensation. If the flight delays more than the time you’ve selected – you will receive the amount you have agreed to by adding your personal data and accepting the T&C.

Q: Can I get compensation for past flights?
A: Colibra’s app compensates you only for your future flights, that have been registered in the app prior to take-off.

However, if you have a delayed flight that has been cancelled or has delayed by 3+ hours we can provide legal help with the claim for a success fee.

Q: Can I remove/delete my flight? / Can I cancel my bet? I should be able to opt-out?
A: In general, it's possible to disable our flight delay compensation service up to two weeks before its scheduled date & time of departure and only in case if it's not yet announced cancelled or delayed.