What are you entitled to if your flight is delayed or cancelled?
- AuthorDavid Rogerson
Holidays abroad are back, but due to staff shortages, airports are struggling, and flights are being routinely cancelled and delayed across the country, including domestic and European routes often last minute. So with the school summer holidays fast approaching and many of us jetting off on holiday for the first time in three years since the pandemic, what happens if your flight is delayed or, worse, cancelled? This article looks at what you might be entitled to if this happens.
British Airways has announced that from April to October, they will be removing 30,000 flights from their schedule, and EasyJet has cancelled 10,000 between July and September. Passengers of other airlines, such as TUI and Wizz Air have also experienced many delays and cancellations.
From London airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick and London City, around a million bookings have already been cancelled, and Heathrow has now requested that airlines stop selling tickets for the summer as it attempts to regain order.
Long-haul flights have so far not been affected by the chaos.
The first place you should check is with your airline, as they will have the most up-to-date information on the status of your flight. However, there are other places you can check, including flight tracker sites such as FlightAware, flightradar24 and FlightStats.
If your flight is cancelled, you have a number of rights under UK law, but airlines will generally not be very forthcoming in making these known to you. However, they should offer you a replacement flight or a refund.
Even if only one leg of your journey is cancelled, you can get your money back for any part of your ticket that you have not used, for example, the onward or return part of a round trip where your outbound flight was cancelled.
You have a right also to a flight back to your original departure airport If you are only part of the way through your journey and do not want a replacement flight.
If you opt for an alternative flight, your airline must offer you sufficient food, drink, and accommodation if the replacement flight does not fly on the same day.
The amount of compensation you get will depend upon the distance of your journey, when your flight was cancelled and the departure and arrival times of your rescheduled flight, but you may be entitled to up to:
- £220 per person for less than 1,500km;
- £350 per person for 1,500km to 3,500km; and
- £520 per person for more than 3,500km.
To receive compensation, you can claim it from the airline. You also may be able to claim from your travel insurance if your policy covers cancellations.
Depending on the exact length of your delay and the distance of your flight, if your flight is delayed, your airline should provide you with sufficient food and drink and accommodation. If you are not offered any of this at the airport, you should keep receipts for any expenses you incurred to claim this back from the airline.
If your flight is delayed for more than three hours and it is the airline's fault (not due to weather conditions or security risks), you are entitled to compensation. Again, this depends on your flight's distance and the delay's duration.
If your flight is delayed by more than five hours, you do not have to take the flight. If you do take the flight, you are still entitled to claim compensation. If you do not take the flight, the airline must, within seven days of the flight, give you:
- A full refund
- A flight back to where you departed from, if you are mid-way through a journey
- A full refund for any other flights from the airline for that journey that you will now not use because they are in the same booking
If you decide not to wait and go on the flight, you should advise the airline as soon as possible.
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