Gatwick emergency causes delays and cancellationsYour rights if your trip's hit by airport closure

16 April 2012

Virgin atlantic

Thousands of passengers have been affected by the closure of Gatwick airport after a Virgin Atlantic plane was forced to make an emergency landing.

Flights were , and after the plane, which was bound for Orlando and was carrying 312 people, was forced to turn back to Gatwick when a fire broke out onboard.

Delays and cancellations

All flights at the airport were suspended as fire-fighters dealt with the emergency. The airport, which was due to handle 600 flights during the day, was closed for nearly two hours. 

At least 26 flights were diverted, nine cancelled and many more delayed. The backlog was expected to last throughout the day. British Airways and EasyJet were among the airlines affected.

Your rights if your flight is disrupted

If your flight was affected you are entitled to certain rights under the Denied Boarding Regulations. If your flight has been delayed the airline should give you free meals and refreshments, free accommodation if you need an overnight stay, and two free phone calls.

If the flight is cancelled you have the same rights as if it was delayed, but you should also be offered either a full refund or re-routing to your final destination as soon as possible, or at a later date convenient to you. 

Diversions and compensation

If the flight is diverted, airlines are expected to bear the cost of transferring you to the airport you were due to fly to.

Airlines also have a legal obligation to provide set amounts of compensation for delays and cancellations, although this is being disputed by airlines in the UK. Airlines also do not have to provide compensation if they can show the delay or cancellation is due to 'extraordinary circumstances'.

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