Flight delays and cancellation: passenger rights and airline obligations.
A long delay or, moreover, the cancellation of a flight is always really bad news, but it doesn’t mean that you should panic – just remember about your rights and you will always feel safe.
Air travel rules vary from country to country, there are also international treaties, such as the Montreal Convention (for example, if some of the Russian airline provides international flight and there is a contradiction between the norms of Russian law and international law, then international standards will be in priority). But in general there is a list of basic principles that is relevant almost everywhere.
If the flight was canceled or postponed a few days before your departure, the airline is obliged to offer you another flight without overpayment, or refund you money. In Europe, Russia and some Asian countries, passengers can have compensation for delaying or canceling a flight (in the USA only for overbooking), but in the situation when the airline is responsible for the cancellation of the flight. Force majeure (superior force) circumstances such as: natural disasters, military actions, the restriction of flights initiated by the state are not reasons for compensation. Ideally, you can compensate, for example, concert tickets or money for a taxi that you were lost because the airport of your flight was changed by the airline and you had to get there – the main thing is to keep all payment documents.
If you were notified about the cancellation or delay of the flight only at the airport, then first of all you should ask about the causes of the incident, in Russia you also need to collect a special stamp about the flight cancellation or delay on your itinerary receipt (in Europe this stamp is not required). The airline may offer you a replacement flight, or you will still have to wait for departure. According to Russian laws, if the flight is delayed for more than 2 hours, you have rights to gain service at the airport: free drinks and 2 phone calls, if there is a delay of more than 4 hours – free hot meals and after that they should fed you every 6 hours during the day and 8 hours at night. If the flight was delayed by more than 8 hours during the day and 6 hours at night, then you can ask for a free hotel accommodation and transfer there and for return to the airport. In addition, in case of a long flight delay you can ask for a forced return, even if initially you had bought a non-refundable ticket. If you have a flight with connecting through tickets or round-trip tickets, then you will have full refund, if you buy the tickets separately, then you will receive a refund only for the canceled part.
Fill in all documents for the compensation or return, and wait for the airline answer. If they don’t respond to your appeal after 30 days, you have the right to sue.