Hundreds of flights cancelled amid snow disruptionYour rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled

21 January 2013


Hundreds of flights have been cancelled over the weekend and passengers face more disruption as snow continues to hit airports around the UK.

Heathow has cancelled about 130 flights on Monday, or about 10% of its capacity, following around 500 cancellations over the weekend. 

Many passengers were forced to spend a night at the airport even though airlines are obliged to provide accommodation for customers who are delayed overnight. 

Passengers also complained about lack of information. Airlines are obliged to give you information about your rights when you are affected by delays or cancellation, whatever the reason for the problem. 

For full details of your rights for delays and cancellations, see our flight rights pages.

Flight delays

If your flight is delayed or cancelled because of snow your airline must offer you assistance under the Denied Boarding Regulation, provided you are travelling with an airline based in the EU, or a non-EU airline flying from an EU airport. Whether you are covered by the regulation depends on the length of the flight and the length of the delay. 

If  you are covered, you are entitled to free meals and refreshments, and free hotel accommodation if you are delayed overnight.

Flight cancellations

For , you should be offered a choice of a refund of the full cost of the flight, or re-routing to your destination as soon as possible, or re-routing at a later date convenient to you. You have the same rights to meals, refreshments and accommodation as you do for delays.

For delays and cancellation caused by snow, you are unlikely to get compensation on top of assistance or a refund, as airlines class severe weather as 'extraordinary circumstances' beyond their control.

Package holidays

If you booked a package holiday and your flight was cancelled, you have the right to cancel your holiday and get a full refund, or re-book for another departure.

You should not have to pay administration charges for re-booking your holiday. If you are re-booked to a cheaper holiday you are entitled to a refund for the price difference. However, if the new holiday would have cost more than the original, you may incur some additional costs.

Insurance for weather cancellations

Your insurance may cover you for extraordinary circumstances such as severe weather. Check who Which? picks as recommended providers for travel insurance.

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