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More than a million passengers had severe flight delays last year

Which? launches new tool to help those affected claim compensation

Almost 1.2 million passengers suffered severe flight delays last year and many could be entitled to compensation, according to the latest Which? investigation.

As many families across the country get set to jet off for their summer breaks, Which?’s analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data (CAA) also reveals that Easyjet, Ryanair and British Airways have all seen a startling rise in the number of flights delayed by more than three hours.

A comparison of delay statistics from five years ago reveals that all three airlines have seen a significant rise in the number of flights that have suffered lengthy delays to short and medium haul journeys.

More flight delays

Over the last five years Easyjet has seen a 111% increase in the number of flights delayed by three hours or more.

Which?’s analysis found that this could leave the total number of passengers delayed at 191,000, while Ryanair and British Airways have seen their figures almost double over this period to 90,000 and 131,000 passengers, respectively.

CAA statistics also show that Gatwick has seen the amount of flights delayed by three hours or more increase by 60% in five years, with our analysis finding that the total number of passengers affected could now be as many as 264,000.

Heathrow, which operates almost 190,000 more flights, saw three-hour delays increase by 17% to an almost identical total of 263,000.

Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services Alex Neill, said: ‘As people jet off on their summer holidays, we’ve discovered some alarming increases in the number of passengers experiencing severe delays with the country’s most popular airlines.’

Flight delay compensation

The analysis also reveals that many of those passengers delayed in the last year may be entitled to flight delay compensation under existing EU regulations, although the future of compensation for delays and cancellations post-Brexit is currently unclear.

Passengers are entitled to compensation if delayed by more than three hours when flying from the UK or with an EU airline to an EU airport. However, where flights are delayed due to factors such as extreme weather or airport strikes, they’re unlikely to get compensation.

Holidaymakers flying short-haul would potentially be able to claim €250 if they are delayed by more than three hours, while long-haul passengers could claim €300 if their plane landed between three or four hours late, or €600 if their flight was at least four hours behind schedule.

Use our free flight-delay compensation tool

Any passengers hit by flight delays that qualify can use our free tool to claim compensation for a flight to or from a UK airport that was delayed or cancelled.

We just need a few details about you and your flight to tell you what you’re entitled to and how to claim compensation.

Upgrade airline compensation

However, claiming can be a difficult task. We recently launched our ‘Upgrade airline compensation’ campaign, calling on airlines to simplify the process and introduce automatic compensation for eligible passengers.

We’re also calling on the Government to introduce a Transport Ombudsman that all airlines must join to improve the way in which passenger complaints are resolved.

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