Close this search box.

Compensation for Cancelled Flights (Domestic & International).

Compensation for Cancelled Flights (Domestic & International).

Compensation for Cancelled Flights (Domestic & International). Daily Law Tips (Tip 763) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)


Contrary to popular opinion, commercial airlines (domestic and international) are mandated by law to compensate passengers for cancelled flights and to also refund unused air tickets. Airlines are supposed to write and inform their passengers about cancelled flights, stating the reasons for the cancellation, available options and the passenger’s rights with regards to cancelled flight.

Most passengers of cancelled flights abandoned their flight fares after few demands for refund. Unfortunately, airlines in Nigeria are perceived as gods with very few Nigerians having the patience to pursue their claims (often less than N100,000 for domestic flights) against airlines. This notwithstanding, there are federal regulations that have made compensation for cancelled flights (domestic and international) very predictable and easy to access.

Sabi Law On BeatFm

Monetary Compensation for Cancelled Flight: 

According to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015, where there is a cancelled flight, there must be a refund of flight fares (air ticket) or re-routing of flight (depending on the choice of a passenger). This should not be mistaken for a compensation. Refund is the full cost of unutilized (unused) ticket at the price at which it was bought. Compensation is a reward for the hardship suffered to or that may be suffered by a passenger, whose flight was cancelled, untimely. So, refund/re-routing of flight comes naturally with every cancellation of flight, while compensation for cancelled flight comes only where a passenger suffers or may suffer hardship and under certain circumstances. Earlier work on the circumstances (conditions) for compensation to be paid for cancelled flight can be accessed via; <> .

Call for Legal Awareness Articles in English or Pidgin Languages.

Where there is to be a compensation to a passenger for cancelled flight (whether domestic or international flight), the monetary compensation will be;

  1. 25% of the passenger’s ticket price for all domestic flights
  2. 30% of the passenger’s ticket price for all international flights
  3. If a passenger is offered a re-routing to his final destination in an alternative flight, the compensation provided above will reduce by 50%. For domestic flights, the compensation will be 12.5% and the arrival time of the alternative flight must not be 1 hour above the  arrival time of the cancelled flight. And, for international flights, the compensation will be 15% and the arrival time of the alternative flight must not be 3 hours above the arrival time of the cancelled flights.

5th Sabi Law Video Challenge

Compensation (including reimbursement/refund) to a passenger is to be made in cash or by electronic bank transfer or bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers or other services. If a voucher, the voucher must be redeemable at all sales outlets of the airline.

Refusal to Compensate and the Punishment for Airlines: 

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015 is a federal regulation and binds all commercial airlines in Nigeria, both local and international operators. The Regulation has several classes of sanctions for offending airlines, their staff and other persons. Generally, the maximum punishment for an airline is N5, 000,000.00, the moderate is N2,000,000.00 and the minimum is N500,000.00. The maximum punishment for staff of an airline is N200,000.00, the moderate is N100,000.00 and the minimum is N50,000.00.

Sabi Law On BeatFm

The punishment for any airline that fails to obey the directives of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), or to investigate any case of passenger on compensation, is moderate penalty of N2,000,000.00 or suspension of license. Where there is a cancellation of flight, the sanction for failure to render assistance is moderate to maximum civil penalty. And failure to process ticket refund within time is also punishable with refund of the ticket and an additional 5% of the ticket value.


Cancelled flights do not mean cancelled cost of flight ticket (air fares). Whenever there is a cancelled flight there MUST be a refund of cost of the air ticket at the cost it was purchased or a re-routing of flight (alternative flight options), subject to the choice of passenger. As such an airline cannot force a refund or re-routing on a passenger of a cancelled flight, rather the passenger has the powers and right to choose either a refund or a re-route. Victims of cancelled flights should engage the services of their lawyers and recover their the cost of their unused air tickets for cancelled flights as well as damages.

My authorities, are:

  1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
  2. Sections 1, 2, 27, 30, 31, 54, 61, 63, 71, 78 and 79 of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006.
  3. Sections,,, 19.1, 19.2, 19.7, 19.8, 19.9, 19.10, 19.13, 19.14, 19.16 and 19.20 (Parts 1 and 19) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2015. Accessible for free via
  4. Table 1- Table of Civil Penalties of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2015.
  5. Sanctions VII, Para 5, 10 and 11 of Table 2- Recommended (Part 1) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2015.
  6. Onyekachi Umah, “Unlawful Refund Policy and Practice of “Aero Contractor” Airline” (, 15 March 2021) <> accessed 21 March 2021.
  7. Onyekachi Umah, “Deadline for Refunds for Cancelled Flights” (, 11 March 2021) <> accessed 21 March 2021.
  8. ”Onyekachi Umah, “Why You Can’t Get Compensation for Cancelled Flights” (, 3 March 2021) <> accessed 21 March 2021.
  9. Onyekachi Umah, “The Two (2) Rights Of Any Person Whose Local Or International Flight Is Cancelled In Nigeria” (, 27 November 2018) <> accessed 21 March 2021.
  10. Onyekachi Umah, “Dangerous Flying” Is An Offence In Nigeria” (, 21 September 2018) <> accessed 21 March 2021

Sabi Law Projects:










Speak with the writer, ask questions or make inquiries on this topic or any other via, or +2348037665878 (whatsapp).

To receive free Daily Law Tips, join our free WhatsApp group via or Telegram group, via the below link:

To keep up to date on all our free legal awareness projects of Sabi Law Foundation, follow us via

Facebook Page:@LearnNigerianLaws, Instagram: @LearnNigerianLaws, Twitter: @LearnNigeriaLaw and YouTube: Learn Nigerian Laws

Please share this publication for free till it gets to those that need it most. Save a Nigerian today! NOTE: Sharing, modifying or publishing this publication without giving credit to the author or Sabi Law Foundation is a criminal breach of copyright and will be prosecuted. This publication is the writer’s view not a legal advice and does not create any form of relationship. You may reach the writer for more information.

This publication is powered by {A Free Law Awareness Program of Sabi Law Foundation, supported by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International (BCI).} Sabi Law Foundation is a Not-For-Profit and Non-Governmental Legal Awareness Organization based in Nigeria.

For sponsorship and partnership, contact:, or +234 903 913 1200.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Contact Support


Welcome! Log into your account