In Nigeria, where the intricacies of refund policies and passenger rights become intertwined with the regulations established by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, understanding the nuances of flight cancellations and compensations becomes essential. Not only does this knowledge equip passengers to manage their travel plans better, but it also ensures that their rights are duly protected in unexpected disruptions. Especially given the recent uptick in flight cancellation and delay news, staying informed on these matters has become more crucial than ever.


The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR) serves as the primary legislation overseeing airline passenger rights in Nigeria[i], with Part 19 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation specifying the rights and responsibilities of passengers and the obligations of airlines towards consumers. These regulations are put in place to ensure fair treatment and compensation for passengers experiencing inconveniences during air travel in regard to ticket sales, cancellations, and refunds[ii]

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act  (FCCPA 2018)[iii] serves as a cornerstone for consumer protection in Nigeria, including air travel passengers. It makes provisions for the obligations of service providers and the rights of consumers, ensuring fair treatment, transparency, and recourse in case of grievances. The act mandates that consumers have the right to receive adequate information about the terms and conditions of services, including refund policies. Airline passengers have rights that are rightly protected by the laws and regulations and when it comes to ticket refund policies, these two legislations serve as a guide.


The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR) play a pivotal role in enforcing these regulations. It provides a platform for passengers to lodge complaints and ensures that airlines adhere to the legal standards set forth for passenger treatment and compensation.

  1. Flight Cancellations: According to Section 19.7 of the NCAR, passengers are entitled to a refund if their flight is canceled. The regulation specifies that passengers must be offered assistance, including reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket within seven days if the flight is cancelled. This applies to both domestic and international flights, with some variations in the notice period required for the airline to avoid compensation​​. For domestic flights, passengers must be informed at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure to avoid compensation. For international flights, the notice period is seven days. If the notice is between three and seven days, re-routing options must allow departure no more than two hours before the scheduled time and arrival within four hours of the original time​​.
  1. Flight Delays: Section 19.6 of the NCAR details the rights of passengers in the event of flight delays. If a domestic flight is delayed beyond its scheduled time, passengers are entitled to refreshments after two hours, reimbursement after three hours, and accommodation if the delay extends overnight. For international flights, compensation begins after a two-hour delay, with increasing levels of assistance as the delay lengthens​​.
  1. Denied Boarding and Overbooking: In cases of overbooking where passengers are denied boarding, Section 19.4 of the NCAR mandates that airlines first seek volunteers to relinquish their seats. Involuntarily denied passengers are entitled to compensation and assistance, including refunds and re-routing​​.

Other Factors to note[iv]

  1. Eligibility for refund: Section 19.9.1 of the NCAR addresses the right to reimbursement or re-routing, which includes immediate reimbursement in cash for domestic flights and reimbursement within fourteen days for international flights, by the means provided in section 19.8.3 (mode of payment), of the full cost of the unutilized ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made​​.
  • Time Frame for Refunds: Section 19.9.1 of the NCAR further specifies the time frame for processing refunds, requiring immediate reimbursement in cash for domestic flights and reimbursement within fourteen days for international flights​​.
  • Communication and Assistance: Section 19.16 of the NCAR Obligates airlines to inform passengers of their rights at check-in and provide a written notice in case of denied boarding or flight cancellation, detailing the procedures for compensation and assistance​​ and Section 19.19.2 requires airlines to disclose refund and rebooking policies before the purchase of any ticket​​.


With knowledge of the above rules here is a guide on how to go about obtaining a refund:

  1. Inform the airline of your intention to seek a refund as soon as possible, ideally at the airport or through the airline’s customer service channels.
  • Gather all necessary documents, including your ticket, boarding pass, and any communication with the airline regarding the cancellation or delay.
  • Submit a formal refund request to the airline. This can usually be done online through the airline’s website or via email[vi] [vii] [viii]
  • Keep track of your refund request and follow up if necessary. Airlines are required to process refunds within seven days for cancellations as per NCAR regulations.
  • If the airline does not comply, escalate the matter to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) or seek redress under the FCCPA through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).


Understanding your rights and the procedures for obtaining refunds on airline tickets in Nigeria can save time and stress. The FCCPA 2018 and NCAR Part 19 provide robust frameworks to ensure passengers are treated fairly and can claim their entitlements effectively. Always stay informed and assert your rights to ensure a smooth and just resolution to any issues encountered during air travel.









Written bMaureen Esegi for The Trusted Advisors

Email us: [email protected]

Telephone Number: +234 810 159 9159

Open chat
Hello 👋
Thank you for getting in touch, how can we help you?