Passengers don't know their rights on flight delays Know your entitlements when flying home this Christmas

05 December 2012

Airport snow

Air passengers who suffer flight delays or cancellations are unclear of their rights, a Which? survey has found. 

This means any passengers affected by the flight delays today in the south east of England could be losing out on the assistance they're entitled to. 

Flights were delayed at Luton and Stansted airports following overnight snow fall with Easyjet and Ryanair passengers left stranded. 

If your flight was delayed for two hours or more, your airline must provide you with food, refreshments and accommodation if an overnight stay is required. 

But the Which? survey found that 90% of people didn't know or were unsure of what they'd be entitled to when it comes to flight delays and cancellations. 

Only 24% of those asked were aware they'd be entitled to a refund if they didn't take the first available flight after their original flight was cancelled. 

Read the Which? flight rights guide to learn what to do in the event of a flight delay or cancellation. 

Assistance for a flight delay or cancellation

If your flight is delayed or cancelled you're entitled to two phone calls, faxes or emails at no extra charge. But in the Which? survey, only 30% of people knew this. 

Of those who had experienced a delay or cancellation over the last two years, just 5% had been offered this. 

In addition, 10% of people thought they'd be entitled to an upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy on the next available flight if their flight was cancelled or delayed, but this is not the case. 

Adverse weather conditions

Airlines don't have to offer passengers compensation if the delay or cancellation is due to 'extraordinary circumstances' - adverse weather conditions fall into this category.

But, airlines are required to offer assistance to their passengers even in extraordinary circumstances so the airline still has a duty of care to its passengers. 

The Denied Boarding Regulation protects you if you're travelling with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport.

For lots more tips and advice, read our guide to your flight rights.

More on this... 

  • Find out what to do if your luggage is delayed or lost
  • If you are travelling, see what legal protection you have
  • See our advice on your consumer rights this Christmas