What To Do When One Leg Of Your Flight Is Cancelled

Having a flight cancelled can be incredibly frustrating and stressful, especially if it’s only one leg of your journey that gets cancelled. As an experienced traveller, I completely understand the headache this causes.

But don’t worry, in this comprehensive guide I’ll walk you through everything you need to know and all the steps to take when one leg of your multi-city flight gets cancelled.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Immediately call the airline to rebook your connecting flight. Be flexible on dates/times if needed. Ask about compensation or reimbursement for costs incurred. Check alternate airports. Book backup flights as needed. Verify luggage will make it.

In this 3000 word guide, I’ll cover the full details on what to do step-by-step when you’re travelling and one leg of your multi-segment flight gets cancelled. I’ll provide tips on rebooking, getting compensation, managing luggage, and finding alternate flights.

I’ll also discuss how to avoid this happening in the first place when booking complex itineraries. Let’s dive in!

Notify the Airline and Rebook Your Flight

When one leg of your flight is canceled, it can be a frustrating and stressful situation. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact and get back on track with your travel plans. The first and most important step is to notify the airline and rebook your flight as soon as possible.

Call the airline immediately

As soon as you receive notification that your flight has been canceled, don’t waste any time. Pick up the phone and call the airline’s customer service. Be prepared for long wait times, especially during peak travel periods, so it’s best to call as soon as you can.

Explain the situation to the representative and ask for options for rebooking your flight.

Be flexible on new flight dates/times

When rebooking your flight, it’s important to be flexible with your travel dates and times. Airlines often have limited availability for alternative flights, especially during busy travel periods. Consider adjusting your travel plans to accommodate the available options.

This may involve departing or arriving at different times or even on different days. Remember, the goal is to get to your destination, so some flexibility may be necessary.

Ask about rebooking on partner airlines

During your call with the airline, inquire about the possibility of rebooking on a partner airline. Many airlines have partnerships with other carriers, allowing them to accommodate passengers in the event of flight cancellations.

Rebooking on a partner airline may provide you with more options and flexibility for your travel plans.

Consider nearby alternate airports

If your original departure or destination airport is experiencing significant disruptions, it may be worth considering nearby alternate airports. These airports may have available flights and can help you reach your destination more quickly.

However, keep in mind that transportation to and from these alternate airports may be an additional cost and may require some logistical adjustments.

Change all connecting flights

If you have connecting flights as part of your itinerary, make sure to inform the airline about the canceled leg of your journey. They will be able to assist you in rebooking all the connecting flights to ensure a smooth travel experience.

It’s important to provide the airline with all the necessary information to make the necessary changes.

Don’t get stuck with a bad option

While it’s essential to rebook your flight as soon as possible, don’t settle for a bad option that doesn’t suit your needs. If the alternative flights offered by the airline are not satisfactory, politely ask if there are any other options available.

Sometimes, airlines may be able to accommodate you on a different flight or even provide compensation for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation.

Remember, flight cancellations are often beyond your control, but how you handle the situation can make a significant difference in minimizing the disruption to your travel plans. By promptly notifying the airline and being proactive in rebooking your flight, you can increase your chances of getting to your destination as smoothly as possible.

Get Compensation from the Airline

You may be entitled to compensation

When one leg of your flight is cancelled, it can be incredibly frustrating and inconvenient. However, it’s important to know that you may be entitled to compensation from the airline. This compensation is regulated by various laws and regulations, such as the EU Regulation 261/2004, which outlines the rights of passengers in case of flight disruptions.

These regulations aim to protect passengers and ensure that they are fairly compensated for any inconvenience caused by flight cancellations.

Compensation depends on the cause

The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the cause of the flight cancellation. If the cancellation is due to circumstances within the airline’s control, such as technical issues or staffing problems, you may be eligible for compensation.

On the other hand, if the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control, such as bad weather or air traffic control strikes, you may not be entitled to compensation. It’s important to understand the specific circumstances surrounding the cancellation to determine if you are eligible for compensation.

Push for meal vouchers or hotel stay

In addition to compensation, you should also push for other forms of assistance from the airline. If you are stranded overnight due to a cancelled flight, you have the right to ask for meal vouchers or a hotel stay.

Airlines are obligated to provide passengers with these basic necessities during extended delays or cancellations. Make sure to communicate your needs to the airline staff and insist on receiving the appropriate assistance.

Ask about reimbursement of costs

When faced with a cancelled flight, it’s important to ask the airline about the reimbursement of any costs you may have incurred as a result. This could include expenses such as transportation to and from the airport, accommodation, meals, and even alternative transportation arrangements.

Keep all receipts and documentation related to these expenses, as they may be required when seeking reimbursement from the airline. Remember to be polite but firm when requesting reimbursement, as airlines have an obligation to compensate passengers for reasonable expenses.

Manage Your Checked Baggage

When one leg of your flight is cancelled, it’s important to take immediate action to ensure the safety and proper handling of your checked baggage. Here are some steps you can take to manage your checked baggage effectively:

Confirm luggage will make it

First and foremost, you should confirm with the airline that your checked baggage will continue on to your final destination despite the cancelled leg of your flight. Airlines have different policies and procedures for handling baggage in these situations, so it’s essential to communicate with them directly.

You can reach out to their customer service department via phone or check their website for information on baggage transfer protocols.

It’s also a good idea to double-check your baggage tag to ensure it is correctly labeled for your final destination. Mistakes can happen, and verifying this information will help prevent any further issues with your luggage.

Ask to pick up at the connection airport

If your cancelled flight was a connecting flight, you can inquire with the airline about picking up your checked baggage at the connection airport instead of having it transferred to your final destination.

This option can save you time and hassle, especially if you have a tight schedule or if there are uncertainties regarding the next available flight to your destination.

However, it’s important to note that not all airlines may allow this, so it’s best to check with them in advance. They may have specific procedures or limitations in place, such as a maximum layover time or restrictions on certain types of baggage.

Have baggage shipped if needed

In some cases, it may be more convenient to have your baggage shipped to your final destination instead of relying on the airline to transfer it. This option can be particularly useful if you have a long layover or if you’re uncertain about the next available flight to your destination.

There are various luggage shipping services available that can handle the process for you. These services typically provide door-to-door delivery and offer tracking options, ensuring the safe and timely arrival of your baggage.

However, it’s worth noting that additional fees may apply, so be sure to consider the cost implications before opting for this service.

Remember, the key is to stay informed and proactive when managing your checked baggage in the event of a cancelled flight leg. By taking the appropriate steps and exploring available options, you can minimize any inconvenience and ensure your belongings reach your final destination without any issues.

Book Backup Flights Yourself if Needed

When one leg of your flight is cancelled, it can be a frustrating and stressful experience. However, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you still reach your destination on time. One of the first things you should do is to book backup flights yourself if needed.

This will give you more control over the situation and increase your chances of finding alternative options.

Search alternate direct flights

If your original flight gets cancelled, one option is to search for alternate direct flights. Check different airlines and their schedules to see if there are any available flights that can take you directly to your destination. This can save you time and eliminate the need for multiple layovers.

Consider nearby airports

Another option is to consider nearby airports. Sometimes, a flight cancellation may only affect one airport while nearby airports still have available flights. Check if there are any alternate airports within a reasonable distance from your original destination.

Keep in mind that this may require additional transportation arrangements, but it can be a viable solution to get you back on track.

Book refundable tickets as backup

In situations like flight cancellations, it is wise to consider booking refundable tickets as backup. This will provide you with flexibility and peace of mind, knowing that you can easily cancel them without any penalties if your original flight is reinstated.

Although refundable tickets may cost a bit more, they can be a valuable investment in uncertain travel circumstances.

Use miles or credits if possible

If you have accumulated airline miles or credits, this could be a good time to put them to use. Check if you can use your miles or credits to book a backup flight. Not only does this save you money, but it also ensures that your miles or credits do not go to waste.

Be sure to check the availability and any restrictions associated with using miles or credits.

Remember, when one leg of your flight is cancelled, it is essential to take proactive steps to secure backup flights. By searching for alternate direct flights, considering nearby airports, booking refundable tickets, or using miles/credits, you can increase your chances of reaching your destination on time and minimize the impact of the cancellation.

Safe travels!

Avoid This Happening When Booking Flights

Having a leg of your flight cancelled can be a frustrating and inconvenient experience. To minimize the chances of this happening, there are several steps you can take when booking your flights.

Book direct flights when possible

One way to reduce the likelihood of a cancelled flight is to book direct flights whenever possible. Direct flights eliminate the need for layovers, reducing the chances of delays or cancellations due to connecting flights.

While direct flights may sometimes be more expensive, they can save you time and stress in the long run.

Allow long layovers between flights

If you do need to book connecting flights, it’s advisable to allow for longer layovers. This gives you a buffer in case of any delays or cancellations on the first leg of your journey. Aim for layovers that are at least a few hours long, especially when traveling during peak seasons or to airports known for frequent disruptions.

Avoid booking separate tickets

Booking separate tickets for each leg of your journey can increase the risk of one leg being cancelled. When you book separate tickets, airlines are not obligated to assist you if there is a cancellation or delay on one of your flights.

It’s best to book your entire journey on a single ticket, as this provides more protection and assistance from the airline in case of any disruptions.

Consider travel insurance

Travel insurance can provide additional peace of mind in case of flight cancellations. While travel insurance won’t prevent cancellations from happening, it can help cover the costs associated with rebooking flights or finding alternative transportation.

When purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the policy details and understand what is covered in case of flight disruptions.

By following these tips, you can minimize the chances of having one leg of your flight cancelled. Remember to stay informed about your flight status, and don’t forget to check with the airline if you encounter any issues during your journey. Safe travels!


Having a flight cancelled, especially just one leg of a multi-city itinerary, can totally derail your travel plans if you aren’t prepared. By following the steps above to rebook promptly, get compensation, manage your luggage, book backups, and avoid booking risky itineraries, you can minimize the headaches caused when part of your trip gets disrupted.

The most important thing is to act quickly to call the airline and get rebooked, remaining flexible as needed. Check your baggage situation. Get compensation where entitled. And don’t get stuck with a bad rebooking option – look for alternate flights yourself if needed.

With proactive planning and preparation, you can still save your trip even when one leg gets cancelled.

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