December is worst month for lengthy flight delays Festive season has most flights delayed by three hours plus

20 December 2015

Flight delay image

Which? analysis of flight data from December last year reveals that 3.5m passenger journeys were delayed by 15 minutes or more.

If you’re jetting off for a festive getaway you may be in for a wait as historically December has the highest proportion of delayed flights by three hours or more, with 96,000 passenger journeys affected.

And this year some four million people from the UK are expected to travel abroad over Christmas, according to the Association of British Travel Agents.

Which? has stepped in to help delayed passengers get their compensation, our free complaints tool has already been used by more than 9,000 passengers since August.

You can use our free advice and tools to claim compensation for flight delays and cancellations.

Can you claim compensation?

As part of the Denied Boarding Regulations, passengers are able to claim compensation for cancelled flights, or for those that have been subject to delays of three hours or more.

Some airlines however, are not providing support or information to passengers on how they can claim and many airlines are yet to officially sign up to the Aviation Ombudsman’s Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme.

The scheme promises to helps passengers in dispute with airlines get a quick and fair solution to their problem.

Since the Which? flight delays compensation tool launched in August we’ve been inundated with stories about some airlines trying to stall and avoid paying compensation.

And, in some cases, they've been delaying the payment for months or offering vouchers instead of a full cash settlement.

Flight delays are infuriating

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said ‘Flight delays are infuriating for all passengers, especially over the festive period.

‘The last thing people want is to be sat in airport departure waiting lounges, but if you’re flying in December this could well become the reality.

He added ‘we now want to see all airlines signing up to the ombudsman’s redress scheme to help passengers claim compensation when flights are delayed.’

Which? research also revealed that the worst UK airports for delays of three hours or more over the Christmas period are Gatwick with 23,862, Bristol Airport with 3,783 and Liverpool John Lennon with 2,425 passenger journeys delayed.

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