Snow keeps travellers at home for ChristmasWhich? provides details on your passenger rights

22 December 2010

Snowy airport and plane

Snow has grounded flights in recent years

Severe weather conditions have left travellers sleeping in airports as one of the worst UK winters since the 1960s takes its toll. Flights are subject to delays and cancellations.

Airports are currently working to clear the backlog of passengers. If you have not been able to carry out your travel plans Which? has up-to-date advice on your rights.

Denied boarding

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, your airline is obliged to offer assistance, providing you have a confirmed booking, under the Denied Boarding Regulation.

Which? advises travellers to check their airline website before travelling. You may not be supported at the airport if you have been advised against travelling.

Your flight entitlements

If the cancellation or long delays mean you no longer want to travel, ask your airline for a full refund of your flight costs.

If you still wish to travel, you're entitled to:

  • a replacement flight at no extra cost on the next available flight
  • meals and refreshments while you are waiting, appropriate to the delay
  • the facility to make two phone calls or send two emails.

You should also be offered accommodation if you are forced to wait overnight for your flight. However, given the number of passengers affected, it won't be possible for everyone to be provided with accommodation.

Package holidays

If you booked a package holiday and your flight was cancelled, you can either cancel your holiday and get a full refund, or re-book for another departure. This usually has to be within 28-30 days.

You shouldn't incur administration charges for re-booking your holiday. However, if the new holiday would have cost more money than the original, you may incur some additional costs.

Eurostar compensation

Trains have also been subject to long delays and cancellations. Hundreds of passengers queued for up to six hours between the 19-21 December for the Eurostar at St Pancras International. Many hundreds more were turned away with no hope of getting on a train. All Eurostar services are fully booked until Christmas.

For those who should have travelled between 19 – 21 December, Eurostar is currently offering:

  • refunds on tickets
  • tickets to travel from 26 December if rebooked within 60 days after the original date of travel for travel up and used within 90 days after the original date of travel.

Insurance claims

Check your insurance documentation to see whether you are covered for extraordinary circumstances such as severe weather.

Some insurance policies will only cover you if you go to the airport, while others may not cover you if you turn up when advised not to.

Further help

Support with flight delays

Support with flight cancellations

Consumer advice from our lawyers at Which? Legal Service