How to Cancel an Appointment Via Email

In the event of an emergency or any unforeseen circumstance, the need to cancel an appointment may arise. While it’s important to honour engagements you’ve agreed to, it is unrealistic to assume you’ll show up for all of them. When cancelling an appointment via email, there are things you need to take note of. We’ve covered the dos and don’ts of cancelling an appointment via email in this article, and also included several samples to make your cancellations easier. Without further ado:

What is an Appointment Cancellation Email?

An email cancelling an appointment is a formal and polite way of notifying the person(s) you have an appointment with. The content of an email cancelling an appointment is the reason for the cancellation, the time to reschedule (if there are plans to). 

The reasons for cancelling an appointment are limitless and they’re unique to each individual. As best you can, an email cancelling an appointment should convey this reason in as much detail as you’d like. If it’s a high stakes meeting, you should explain in detail the reason for the cancellation and work towards rescheduling the meeting in the cancellation email.  

Excuses to Cancel an Appointment

Life is unpredictable to a large extent. While you may want to honour an appointment, sometimes things happen and you can’t predict them. Some of these things are:

  1. Your child is sick: If your child is sick and you have no one to babysit them, it would make sense if you cancelled the appointment or rescheduled. In your email cancelling the appointment, you can simply include: 
 “I just got a call from my child’s school that she’s unwell and has been throwing up all day. I’m sorry I have to cancel as I can’t get a babysitter on such short notice…”

 This is a template you can include in your email as you continue to discuss rescheduling opportunities. 

  1. Delayed flight: If you have to travel a lot for work, you can cancel an appointment at your destination if your flight is delayed and you wouldn’t be able to honour the appointment. You can include this in your email cancelling the appointment: 
 “I’m at the airport right now and my flight that was scheduled for 9 am has been moved to noon. Hence, I will not be able to make it to our 12:30 pm meeting…”
  1. You’re sick: If you’re feeling under the weather and will not be able to honour the appointment, you should email other participants. In your email cancelling an appointment, you could include this:
 “I’ll have to cancel our appointment scheduled for tomorrow as I have come down with something and have been directed by my doctor to be on bedrest till I feel better…”

There are a lot more excuses to cancel an appointment. Each is unique and specific to different individuals. 

If you don’t feel like attending a meeting, you should reschedule or cancel. Because it is better to reschedule a meeting than to have a bad meeting. 

Writing an Email to Cancel an Appointment.

When writing an email to cancel an appointment, your focus should be on the recipient of the email. The other participant may have moved things around to accommodate the appointment and cancelling this appointment may stir up some unwanted feelings. So, when writing an email to cancel an appointment, always place yourself in the shoes of the recipient.

When writing an email to cancel an appointment, there are things you need to be mindful of. Some of these include:

  1. Your email should be personalized: If you’re cancelling a meeting with one person, you should start the email with their name. If not, it’s okay to simply address it to everyone.  
  2. Your subject line should tell the full story: It is standard practice when writing an email to express as much as you can about the content of the email in the subject line. This is because most people scan their email subject lines before deciding whether or not to read them. So, if you’re sending an email to cancel an appointment, your subject line should read as such. Your recipients should know the content of the email from taking a glance. 
  3. Cancel appointments well beforehand: Unless the reason for cancellation comes up unannounced (even if does, your email should express this), you should cancel an appointment well before the due date. 
    Cancelling an appointment well before the due date can give the participant time to rearrange their schedule ad fix other appointments they may have cancelled to accommodate yours. 
  4. Sincerely apologize: As said earlier, cancelling an appointment may cause great inconvenience to the other party. This why you must begin your email by apologizing for any inconvenience you may have caused by cancelling the appointment. 
  5. State the reason for cancellation: After apologizing, the next thing to do is state the reason for cancelling the appointment. If it’s a family emergency, a health emergency or anything beyond your control, be sure to mention this briefly and apologize again in your email.

 The best apology for a cancelled appointment is to immediately work towards rescheduling it. 

  1. Suggest a new date and time for rescheduling: If you hand to cancel the appointment for reasons beyond your control and would like to continue with some other time, you should make this known in your email. Automatically working towards rescheduling the appointment is the best way to show you’re sincerely sorry about cancelling and are still interested in the appointment. Ask them when they’d like to reschedule and be willing to adjust your schedule to accommodate theirs. 
  1. Send the email immediately: People usually sit on emails for a day before sending them (depending on the urgency). But when writing an email cancelling an appointment, you should completely disregard that practice. Your appointment cancellation email should be sent immediately you find out you’re not going to make the meeting and would be cancelling. 
  1. Call them if they don’t acknowledge your email: Your recipient might have a really busy schedule and may not check their emails frequently. If they don’t respond to your email, chances are they missed it and still think the appointment is still on. To eliminate this possibility, call them to make sure they acknowledge the appointment has been cancelled.  

How to Cancel an Appointment Sample

Dear Abel,

I'm sending this email regarding our appointment scheduled for the 25th of August at 10 AM.

Regrettably, I will not be able to make it to the meeting due to a family emergency. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 

I would like to call to schedule this appointment. 

Looking forward to your response.

Best Regards,
Steven Rogers

How to Cancel an Appointment with a Doctor Sample Template

Dear Dr Jones,

I'm writing this email with regards to my dental appointment which is scheduled for Saturday, June 28th at 2 PM.

I'll like to cancel this appointment because of a family emergency. I'll like to reschedule sometime in the future, I will call to set a new date.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


Natasha Rogers


When canceling an appointment via email, some email etiquette should be followed. This article covers excuses for canceling an appointment, etiquette for writing a cancellation email, and samples.

Scroll to Top