Flight delays and cancellations – your rightsLearn about your rights to flight compensation

09 December 2013

Passengers facing delayed at airports

If yours was one of the hundreds of flights affected by the National Air Traffic service technical problems this weekend, you're unlikely to be able to claim compensation.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulations if you’re flying with an EU based airline, or a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport. But you won't be entitled to compensation if the delay was due to “extraordinary circumstances”.

Go to the Which? Consumer Rights site to find out more about your flight delay and compensation rights.

What am I entitled to?

Even if you can’t make a claim for compensation, the airline should have looked after you while you were at the airport based on the length of your delay and the duration of your flight. You’ll qualify if:

  • Your flight is under 932 miles and is delayed for at least two hours
  • Your flight is within the EU, more than 932 miles and delayed for at least three hours
  • Your flight isn’t within the EU but is between 932 and 2,174 miles and is delayed for at least three hours

If you qualify, the airline should offer you two free phone calls, faxes or emails, free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay. And free hotel accommodation and transfers should be provided if an overnight stay is required. You can also choose to not travel and get a refund or to book onto the next available flight, or to fly at a later date.

If this wasn't provided for you at the airport, and you spent money providing for yourself, you should contact your airline to make a claim with them.

Am I entitled to compensation for the flight delays?

Compensation for delayed and cancelled flights is dependent on the reason for the delay. If the airline can prove the delay was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’, then no compensation is payable. At this stage, it looks like this will apply in the case of last weekend’s delays as they were caused by an Air Traffic Service technical fault.

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