Can passengers claim compensation if coronavirus cancels their flight?

AS CORONAVIRUS sweeps the globe airlines including BA, Ryanair and easyJet have made the decision to cancel flights due to a drop in demand. Are passengers owed compensation?

PUBLISHED: 09:45, Tue, Mar 3, 2020 | UPDATED: 10:01, Tue, Mar 3, 2020

Coronavirus has swept the globe, spreading from the epicentre of Wuhan, China, to 76 countries and territories worldwide. Fears over the spread of the disease has impacted many industries, with the travel sector being one of the hardest hit. Multiple airlines worldwide have now made the decision to cancel or reduce flights to impacted regions due to a lack of demand from travellers.

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Initially cancelling just flights to and from mainland China, British Airways has since called 216 flights between March 16 and March 28 from London to destinations including New York, , France, Belgium, Germany and Ireland.

Ryanair announced it would reduce flights in and out of heavily impacted between March 17 and April 8.

Lufthansa Group has said it will be cutting short-haul operations in the coming weeks due to the accelerated spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, easyJet has reduced flights to northern throughout March after the infection rate rose beyond 2,000.

With thousands of passengers now facing disrupted travel plans, many may be concerned about losing out on money as well as their holiday.

So, what are your rights if your airline decided to cancel your journey due to coronavirus concerns?

READ MORE: easyJet flights cancelled as coronavirus spreads 

coronavirus flightsFlights: What are passenger rights if coronavirus disrupts travel plans? (Image: Getty Images)

passenger travel disruptionFlights: Passengers could face major disruptions (Image: Getty Images)

Am I owed compensation if my flight is cancelled?

Passengers who are flying into or out of the EU, or are travelling with an EU airline, are protected under EC Regulation No. 261/2004.

Though passengers will be afforded certain rights under this regulation, monetary compensation is not one of them.

For those who find themselves with a cancelled journey, the airline must offer the option to book onto a free replacement flight to the final destination, even if it is with a different airline.

Alternatively, passengers should be allowed to switch travel dates or receive a full refund.

If a long delay is experienced as part of the decision to reroute, passengers are entitled to two free phone calls, faxes or emails; free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay and free hotel accommodation and transfers if an unplanned overnight stay is required.

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