How to cancel your flight during the corona crisis

First Class and More


With a few exceptions, rebooking and cancellations are only possible by telephone with the respective airline. However, the hotlines are also extremely overloaded for this reason. Here are some tips on how you can still change your trip.

Tip 1 - Keep calm

If your journey does not start within the next few days, there is no hurry yet. Call volumes will most likely decrease in the next days and weeks. Therefore, please wait a little before contacting the airline.

Tip 2 - Use forms

Various airlines and major online travel agencies like Expedia offer cancellation forms. You can use these to submit your flight for cancellation without any complications. This is especially helpful if the trip is scheduled for some time in the future.

Expedia cancellation form

Flugladen cancellation form

Emirates cancellation form

Tip 3 - Use priority phone number thanks to frequent flyer status

While the normal hotlines are often overloaded, many airlines offer special numbers for their status customers. Senator customers, for example, have access to the Lufthansa Senator hotline. The waiting time there is currently about 10 to 45 minutes (compared to several hours on the normal hotline). You will find the Senator hotline number on the back of your status card or in your online profile on the Miles & More website under “Contact”.

Tip 4 - Visit the ticket office at the airport or the sales office in the city

Almost all major airlines have ticket offices at the airport or sales offices in the cities they serve. If you live nearby, you can have your flight rebooked there in persona. At the airports in Frankfurt and Munich, there are currently only relatively short waiting times at the Lufthansa ticket counter.

Tip 5 - Wait as long as possible before you cancel

If the airline has not yet cancelled your flight, you are not entitled to a refund. These are only goodwill arrangements of some airlines. Therefore, it is best to wait as long as possible before cancelling your flight to see if the flight is cancelled after all. The airlines will also delay the cancellations in order to obtain “voluntary” cancellations from customers before the flight is officially cancelled.

If the flight is cancelled by the airline, you can request a cash refund and are entitled to it under EU passenger law. In this case, the refund can also be made after the actual departure.

Tip 6 - Force reimbursement claim for low-cost airlines via third-party providers

Especially the low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet are difficult to reach in the current situation with regard to re-bookings and cancellations. Primarily to delay or even prevent any refunds. As taxes and fees make up the majority of the ticket price for low-cost airlines, you can use services of third-party providers such as RightNow.de to assert your claim in such a case. Simply submit your flight there and your claim will be reviewed and an offer will be made to you without obligation. This way you should be able to get at least a part of the ticket price back in most cases, even if the airline itself is not available.

However, you should always wait to see if your flight is not cancelled by the airline first, and then you are entitled to a full refund of the ticket price.

Tip 7 - Know the legal situation

The European Commission has published a clarification on the issue of EU compensation with regard to the current travel situation due to the coronavirus. In short, in the current situation, airlines can invoke exceptional circumstances in almost all cases of cancellation/rebooking/postponement and thus do not have to pay compensation. Cash reimbursement or substitute transportation, as well as hotel accommodation, must, however, still be paid.

Many airlines try to avoid a cash refund and offer only a travel voucher instead. Once you accept this, you forfeit your right to a monetary refund. 

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