HOW TO CLAIM COMPENSATION WHEN A FLIGHT IS DELAYED| AIRHELP
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Flight delays and cancellations affect thousands of people every year. Some delays are unavoidable or unpredictable, like the Icelandic volcano ash cloud that grounded flights a few years ago, or most recently, the BA computer crash that left many people stranded for days. However, the good news is that there are laws protecting your rights if the fault is with the airline â€“ and if the delays are significant. This could mean youâ€™re entitled to compensation. Even if youâ€™re not automatically entitled to a full or partial refund, you still have the right to make a complaint if youâ€™re unhappy.
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All flights either to an EU country (on an EU operated airline) or from countries in the EU (also including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), are covered by EU regulation known as 261/2004. This governs your right to care at the airport and compensation/refunds should you experience significant delays.
You can claim for air compensation once the flight is delayed for more than three hours, as long as the delay wasnâ€™t under â€˜extraordinary circumstancesâ€™ such as weather and other circumstances completely out of the airlineâ€™s control.
How to calculate how much you could be owned
Flight delay compensation can be between 250 to 600 euros depending on the flight distance and delay length.
The length of your flight delay is counted from when the doors are opened on the plane and not when it lands (as some airlines may claim).
Up to 1,500km
3 hours +
Any flight within the EU over 1,500km or
any other flight between 1,500km and 3,500km
More than 3,500km
3 to 4 hours
More than 3,500km
4 hours +
The five-hour refund rule
Once your short-haul flight (less than 932 miles) has been delayed for more than five hours, you are entitled to a refund if you no longer wish to travel.
You will also receive a refund for any unused parts of your booking (for instance, the return flight), and a flight back to your departure airport if youâ€™ve already completed part of your journey.
Can I claim if a delayed flight has made me miss a connection?
If you’ve bought the tickets as part of the same booking, yes!
As long as you are either departing from or flying to an EU territory (on an EU operated airline if flying to the EU) with a stopover in a non-EU territory, you can get compensation for any delays that might occur â€“ even if they happen on part of the journey that’s outside the EU!
If an airline cancels your flight, they must either:
Refund your cancelled flight fee
Provide an alternative flight to get you to your destination
You can get your money back for any parts of the booking you havenâ€™t used. For instance, if you have booked a return flight and the outward leg of the ticket is cancelled, you can get the total cost of the return ticket back from your airline (even though only the outbound one was cancelled).
2- Alternative flight
If you still want to travel despite the cancellation, your airline must find you an alternative flight. Itâ€™s up to you when to fly – either as soon as possible, or at a later date that suits you. Airlines often refer to an alternative flight as a â€˜reroutedâ€™ flight.
Generally, airlines will book you onto another of their flights to the same destination, however if a different airline is flying there significantly sooner (and youâ€™ve opted to go ASAP) then you may have the right to be booked onto that flight instead. This can be discussed with your airline, should the situation arise.
Can I book my own replacement flight if my flight is cancelled?
Generally speaking, airlines should try and organise a replacement flight for you within two days (the Civil Aviation Authority has previously spoken out against airlines who have taken longer than this.
If they take longer, it’s perfectly fine to book your own replacement flight â€“ as long as it’s “equivalent” to the cancelled one. No upgrading to First Class!
Should my travel insurance or the airline pay for a cancelled flight?
Generally speaking, the airline should pay out for a cancelled flight.
They’re the first party you should contact â€“ but that’s not to say your travel insurance provider doesn’t also have a responsibility here.
If you’ve made an effort to get in touch with your airline and they’re still not coughing up, you should contact your travel insurance. They should pay out if the airline are being unfair â€“ and shouldn’t try to call the airline’s bluff by also refusing to pay out.