Fingers crossed for a smooth journey if you’re visiting friends or family over the Easter holiday. But what if something does go wrong? How do you claim compensation for a delayed train journey or flight? Who do you report potholes or faulty Catseyes to? Here are our top five essential tips for travelling this Easter.
1. If your train is delayed or cancelled
Wherever you’re travelling this Easter, there are minimum levels of compensation train companies have to offer if your train is delayed or cancelled.
If you are delayed by more than one hour, you’re entitled to minimum compensation of 50% of your single ticket or 25% of a return ticket. If you were delayed both to and from your destination using a return ticket, you can claim 50% compensation of the ticket value.
Be aware, however, that a train company may not be obliged to pay compensation if the cause of the delay was entirely outside of the rail industry’s control – for example, if the delay was due to severe weather.
Compensation must be provided as cash or National Rail vouchers. If you don’t want rail vouchers, you must explicitly request a cash refund.
Most train operators are also signed up to the Delay Repay scheme, which gives you further compensation rights. This includes 50% of your journey cost if you’re delayed by half an hour, regardless of the reason for the delay. And if you’re delayed by an hour or more, you’ll be refunded the full cost of the journey.
2. If a flight delay cuts your holiday short
If you’re taking a flight this Easter, make sure you know what you’re entitled to if your flight is delayed.
If you’re flying with an airline based in the EU, or with a non-EU-based airline flying from an EU airport, then you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation.
This states that, depending on the length of your delay, you could be entitled to meals, refreshments, phone calls and emails, as well as free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required.
If your flight delay is longer than five hours, then you’re entitled to choose between being rerouted or reimbursed. This is also the case if your flight is cancelled.
Additionally, you could be entitled to claim up to €600 in compensation, depending on the distance of your flight, and the length of and reason for your delay.
As the Denied Boarding Regulation only applies to EU airport flights, remember that if you’re taking any flights not covered by the regulation, these protections and entitlements won’t apply.
3. If a pothole causes damage to your vehicle
If you feel the car thud underneath you while driving this Easter holiday, it’s quite likely that a pesky pothole is to blame.
If the pothole caused damage to your vehicle, make sure you keep all receipts relating to any repair work needed to fix the damage. You’ll need these later to support your claim.
Your chance of claiming compensation often depends on whether a pothole has already been reported. If the local authority knew about the pothole but hasn’t repaired it, or hasn’t followed road maintenance guidelines, you may be able to claim compensation.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate when you claim the cost for repairs, and remember that you can use the small claims court as a last resort.
4. If faulty Catseyes make you feel unsafe while driving at night
If you’re planning a night-time drive to reach the airport (or the other end of the country), you’ll notice Catseyes on the road.
In a recent Which? member survey, three quarters of drivers who noticed the reflective road studs not working on the road at night said it affected their driving. It’s important that you report broken Catseyes if you found likewise.
Who to report faulty Catseyes to depends on whether the fault was on a major road or local road. The management of UK roads is shared between local authorities, the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Highways England.
When reporting an issue with faulty or broken Catseyes to the relevant highways or local authority, you should include as much information as possible.
5. If a car accident abroad leaves you stranded
It’s not nice if you face an accident abroad – speaking a foreign language can be challenging at the best of times.
In case anything should happen when you’re on your travels this Easter break, make sure you have your essential driving documents with you at all times.
If you’re involved in an accident, your first step is to contact the local police. You should also contact your insurer immediately if the accident has immobilised your vehicle.
Making a claim within the EU used to be a complicated process. But you can take some comfort from the fact that the process for claiming will not differ from the UK if you’re travelling in the EU this year, thanks to the EU Motor Insurance Directives.
Claiming in this way will continue to apply as long as the UK is a member of the European Union. It is not certain yet whether this will change or, if it does, what will replace it for UK citizens travelling in the EU once the UK has left.