Flight delays and cancellations - how to claim compensation

7
Found 30th Jul
How to claim compensation if your flight's delayed or cancelled

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There is lots of information to be found on the rules for claiming compensation if you have had flight delays or cancellations from airports in the UK or Europe. We’ll take a look at what is covered, how to claim compensation and how much you may be entitled to.

Can I claim compensation for delayed or cancelled flights?
This all depends on how long you were delayed for, or the reasons why your flight was cancelled.

2 Hour Delays
If your flight was delayed for 2 HOURS or more, then you are automatically entitled to
compensation of:

  • food and drink
  • access to phone calls
  • if you are delayed overnight, then accommodation must be provided (including transport to and from the hotel).

This is provided by the airline you are flying with and they will likely provide you with vouchers at the airport to cover these costs. If you are not provided with vouchers then remember to keep receipts for everything you purchased, to claim back from them later. These only cover ‘reasonable expenses', so luxury hotels and expensive dinners are off the cards.

3 Hour Delays
If your flight was delayed for 3 HOURS or more then you are entitled to claim compensation for the disruption to your travel ON TOP of the food, drink, phone calls and (possible) accommodation provided by the airline. This only applies if the airline is at fault, for example, you would not be covered if the flight was delayed due to bad weather. If they are at fault, then the amount of compensation depends on the distance of your flight combined with how long you were delayed and whether you were flying within the EU or not. The guide below will show you how much you can claim in compensation.

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5 Hour Delays
If your flight has been delayed for 5 hours or more, then you will receive the food, drink, phone calls and (possible) accommodation provided by the airline. But you are also legally entitled to NOT take the flight, whether or not the airline was at fault. If you choose not to take the flight then you are entitled to a full refund of your flight from the airline and any other flights that won’t be used in the same booking (a return or connecting flight, for example). Also, if you’re part way through a journey and waiting for a connecting flight, then the airline will pay for your journey back to the airport that you originally departed from.

If you DO take the flight then you’re also entitled to €600 in compensation if the delay is deemed to be the airlines fault, such as over-booking the flight, or their own staffing issues.

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Cancelled Flights
For flights that have been cancelled, you legally have two options:

  • a full refund - including other flights from the airline that you won’t use in the same booking such as onward or return flights.
  • a replacement flight to get you to your destination.
If you do get a replacement flight then the airline legally has to help you with things you need while you’re waiting for it. This includes paying for food and drink, access to phone call and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight (plus the cost of journeys to and from the hotel). This compensation will usually be offered in the form of vouchers from your airline at the airport.The amount of compensation offered for cancelled flights will depend on the distance of the flight you were going to take, the destination you were travelling to (EU or worldwide) and how far in advance the flight was cancelled. The departure and arrival times of the rescheduled flight is also a factor.

With cancelled flights you could be eligible to claim between €125 and €600 in compensation. Claim directly from the airline to get compensation or you can use your own travel insurance (if it covers cancellations).

Is it only for Flights within the EU?
For the EU law to apply, then your flight must have been delayed in an airport in one of the EU countries (including the UK) OR Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you were flying from a different country then contact the airline that you were flying with directly, as there may other ways to claim back compensation for delays or cancellations.

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How can I find out if my flight will be delayed or if it’s been cancelled?
If you are already in the airport you will find your flight information on the screens but you can also check on Skyscanner to find out the status of all live departures before you travel. Select your airport from the list and follow the link to the 'live airport departures and arrivals' page here.

I think I’m entitled to compensation, can I get it backdated?
Yes, you can claim compensation for delays or cancellations on flights going back six years (five years in Scotland). Some airlines will claim it is only two years but the law changed in 2014.

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How do I start my claim?
The first thing to do is contact your airline’s customer service department. You will need to provide your booking reference number and the flight details. You will likely need to write a full description of all the details of the problems you faced during your journey. Make sure you keep a record of any correspondence you have had with your airline and also any documents and receipts to support your claim. If your airline is refusing to help you and you still think you have a claim, then you can contact the Civil Aviation Authority and ask them to help, see here.

Contact your airline
Click the links below to start your claim:

British Airways
Easy Jet
Ryanair
TUI
KLM
Flybe
Thomas Cook
Aer Lingus
Virgin Atlantic



If you're travelling in the EU then don't forget to get your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you go. Check out our guide here.

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7 Comments
Tried the Aviation ADR to claim compensation for a 9hr 40min delay from Stansted to Rome (just short of 3500km - so wanted €400 each). This was with Ryanair. They were absolutely useless.
The delay was initially due to the weather in Rome being bad but somehow that didn't stop two further flights that day going there after mine.
The real delay was due to not having pilots and cabin crew to man the flight and therefore had to wait from a flight from Poland to take over.
The ADR came back saying Ryanair are sticking to their guns so they cannot do anything more. As useful as a chocolate teapot.
Can't take Ryanair to court because they are based in Ireland with different laws (that i would not be familiar with).
Word of advice: stay clear of Ryanair. Worst airline ever.
Furthermore, don't bother with the ADR or compensation unless you know it doesn't have anything to do with the weather (because they will blame that if they get the chance).
One of the simplest solution would be go through a service like resolver.co.uk/
You will get all you are entitled to, without all the headaches of having to contact and pressure the companies directly.
Got me £760, cedr.com/ for a delayed flight.
LordShadow1 h, 37 m ago

One of the simplest solution would be go through a service like …One of the simplest solution would be go through a service like https://www.resolver.co.uk/You will get all you are entitled to, without all the headaches of having to contact and pressure the companies directly.


Resolver is also free. Though has this worked with Ryanair do you know? Ryanair passengers have had their flights cancelled recently because of company strikes this month. Ryanair has said that it would reject any compensation claims because the cancellations were caused by “extraordinary circumstances".

However, Europe’s top court ruled in April that airlines have to pay compensation for delays caused by strikes that result from management decisions.

So they may just be saying this just to put people off.
watcher4566 h, 15 m ago

Tried the Aviation ADR to claim compensation for a 9hr 40min delay from …Tried the Aviation ADR to claim compensation for a 9hr 40min delay from Stansted to Rome (just short of 3500km - so wanted €400 each). This was with Ryanair. They were absolutely useless.The delay was initially due to the weather in Rome being bad but somehow that didn't stop two further flights that day going there after mine.The real delay was due to not having pilots and cabin crew to man the flight and therefore had to wait from a flight from Poland to take over.The ADR came back saying Ryanair are sticking to their guns so they cannot do anything more. As useful as a chocolate teapot.Can't take Ryanair to court because they are based in Ireland with different laws (that i would not be familiar with).Word of advice: stay clear of Ryanair. Worst airline ever.Furthermore, don't bother with the ADR or compensation unless you know it doesn't have anything to do with the weather (because they will blame that if they get the chance).


Ryanair is based in Ireland? An EU country. We have another 9 months before we leave the EU, so not been able to prosecute them for compensation doesn't sound that realistic really. Anything to put you off from applying.

I would still try.
watcher4566 h, 34 m ago

Tried the Aviation ADR to claim compensation for a 9hr 40min delay from …Tried the Aviation ADR to claim compensation for a 9hr 40min delay from Stansted to Rome (just short of 3500km - so wanted €400 each). This was with Ryanair. They were absolutely useless.The delay was initially due to the weather in Rome being bad but somehow that didn't stop two further flights that day going there after mine.The real delay was due to not having pilots and cabin crew to man the flight and therefore had to wait from a flight from Poland to take over.The ADR came back saying Ryanair are sticking to their guns so they cannot do anything more. As useful as a chocolate teapot.Can't take Ryanair to court because they are based in Ireland with different laws (that i would not be familiar with).Word of advice: stay clear of Ryanair. Worst airline ever.Furthermore, don't bother with the ADR or compensation unless you know it doesn't have anything to do with the weather (because they will blame that if they get the chance).


You may also want to check the following.

moneysavingexpert.com/tra…ys/
LemonHead15 h, 48 m ago

Ryanair is based in Ireland? An EU country. We have another 9 months …Ryanair is based in Ireland? An EU country. We have another 9 months before we leave the EU, so not been able to prosecute them for compensation doesn't sound that realistic really. Anything to put you off from applying.I would still try.


Thanks for the comment. The question is, would i take Ryanair to the courts for around £600 compensation? No.
Lawyers would probably charge more than that anyway.
The point is, i used this independent body who is supposed to do this for me and they gave up almost straight away, hence why i do not recommend their services (or lack thereof).
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