Airport disruptions can go a long way in ruining your holiday, travel plans or making a long trip home even longer. While some airlines make amends for the inconvenience caused, others seem to let the chips lie where they fall. Interference with your bookings caused by the airline constitutes as a breach of the contract between you and the airline. Therefore, if an airline is responsible for disruptions to your journey they should provide some reparation.
Under the current regime EU regulation EC 261/2004 applies to all passengers travelling on a UK or European airline, either departing from or arriving to the UK, an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. However, it should be noted that while there are guidelines in place, carriers interact with it differently so actual airline policies may vary.
You will be entitled to compensation if your flight has been delayed for 3 hours, or more, and the delay has been caused by the airline, e.g. due to a technical fault or overbooking. The amount of compensation received is determined by the length of the delay and the distance of the affected route. If you are delayed by less than 3 hours then you are not entitled to compensation. Nonetheless, the airline may issue food and drink vouchers and provide airport accommodation if delays continue overnight.
|Article by Kagowa Kuruneri|
If a flight has been delayed for over 5 hours you are not obligated to take a replacement flight. You may instead request a full refund (including refunds for connecting flights that are part of your booking with the airline). If you choose not to take a new flight you are entitled to be provided with an airline voucher for food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, as well as airport accommodation (with transfers) if you are delayed overnight. If you decide to wait for a replacement flight you are further entitled to some compensation if, as above, the delay is caused by the airline.
You also have a right to a full refund if your flight has been cancelled. This includes a refund for any connecting flights from the airline that are part of your booking. If you do not receive a refund you are entitled to a replacement flight to your destination. If the replacement flight delays you by 2 or more hours, you are further entitled to some compensation, vouchers for food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, as well as airport accommodation (with transfers) if delays persist overnight.
So the next time you book your holiday away remember that all will not be lost if your travels are disrupted by delays or cancellations. Contact the airline operating your flight and keep your flight details and booking references safely with you. Always bear in mind that while compensation is available, you will never receive compensation if flights are disrupted due to bad weather or strikes.
If your flight is not protected by EU law you should contact the airline company directly as their own terms and conditions may include cancellation compensation. If you believe that you are entitled to compensation and require assistance with your claim, please feel free to email me or connect with us on LinkedIn.
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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.