What Are My Rights If My Flight Is Cancelled?
Travellers have been facing delays and cancellations at airports, with the industry struggling to recruit and train new staff quick enough as demand returns following the pandemic.
Airlines including EasyJet and Tui cancelled dozens of flights over the half-term holiday and the disruption looks set to continue into the summer, with Gatwick cutting flights in July and August. So what are your rights if your flight is cancelled?
Can I Claim Compensation?
If you're flying from a UK airport on any airline, arriving at a UK airport on an EU or UK airline, or arriving at an airport in the EU on a UK airline, you have a number of rights under UK law.
What you're entitled to depends on what caused the cancellation and how much notice you were given.
If the disruption wasn't the airline's fault and was caused by "extraordinary circumstances" which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, you won't be eligible for compensation.
This includes issues such as extreme weather or air traffic control strikes.
If your flight is cancelled with less than two weeks' notice, you may be able to claim compensation based on the timings of the alternative flight you're offered. The amount you're entitled to also depends on how far you were travelling.
For flights under 1,500km, such as Glasgow to Amsterdam, you can claim up to £220 per person
- For flights more than 3,500km, such as London to New York, you can claim up to £520 per person
What Can I Do If My Flight Is Cancelled?
Can I Get A Refund?
If your flight is covered under UK law, your airline must let you choose between either getting a refund or choosing an alternative flight, regardless of how far in advance the cancellation was made.
You can get your money back for any part of the ticket you haven't used. So if you booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket refunded.
If you still want to travel, your airline must find you an alternative flight. If another airline is flying to your destination significantly sooner, or there are other suitable modes of transport available, then you have a right to be booked onto that alternative transport instead.
What About Food And Accommodation?
If you're stuck abroad or at the airport because of a flight cancellation, airlines must also provide you with other assistance until you're able to fly to your destination.
A reasonable amount of food and drink (often in the form of vouchers)
A way for you to communicate (often by refunding the cost of calls)
Free accommodation, if you have to stay overnight to fly the next day
Transport to and from the accommodation
If your airline is unable to arrange assistance, you have the right to organise this yourself and claim back the cost later. In this case, the Civil Aviation Authority advises people to keep receipts and not spend more than necessary.
What If My Flight Is Delayed?
You're entitled to the same assistance if your flight is delayed by more than two hours.
You may also be able to claim compensation if your flight arrives at its destination more than three hours late. Again, the amount is based on how far you're flying.
If you're delayed by more than five hours and no longer want to travel, you can get a full refund.
What If I Booked A Package Holiday?
If you booked a package holiday with a company that's an Abta member and your flight is cancelled, you're entitled to a suitable alternative flight or a full refund.
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