Flights: What should you do if your plane is delayed? Are you owed compensation?


Flight delays have increased in the last few years, according to new statistics. The number of delays and cancellations for flights departing UK airports has risen by 72 per cent since 2015, affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers, flight delay compensation law firm, Bott and Co found. The year 2018 was the most turbulent, with 33 per cent of flights cancelled or delayed over three hours compared to the previous year, when only 1.31 per cent of flights were affected. Reasons for some of the turbulence last year included cabin crew strikes, reoccurring drone chaos, tightly packed flight schedules and uncertainty over the looming Brexit fiasco, which has continued into 2019.

So what should plane passengers do if they find their airline has delayed their flight?

What many travellers don’t realise is that they often have more rights than they think.

It’s worth taking action to make sure you receive what’s owed you rather than waiting to see what happens.

Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co said: “Many passengers are still not aware that they have more rights than they think if their flight is delayed or cancelled.

“If the disruption is not caused by extraordinary circumstances – for example, technical faults or cabin crew sickness – passengers may be able to claim up to 600 Euros.

“EU Regulation 261/2004 also includes care and assistance rules that airlines must adhere to if passengers are stuck at the airport and have been delayed by 2-4 hours or have had their flight cancelled.

“Food and drink vouchers should be provided as well as means for passengers to communicate, including being entitled to a telephone call and an email.

“Accommodation must be provided if passengers are delayed overnight and transport to and from the accommodation and the airport must also be provided.

Norwegian Air stood out as having the biggest upsurge of delays and cancellations, revealed Bott and Co’s research. 

Norwegian passengers suffered 754 per cent more delays and cancellations in 2018 than in 2015.

Making up the rest of the top five were Vueling Airlines in second, Air France, British Midland Regional Limited and TUI.

Meanwhile, tipping the other end of the scale, Virgin Atlantic recorded a minus three per cent decrease in delays between 2015 and 2018.

Benson said: “Some of Europe’s major airlines are simply not doing all that they can to minimise delays. The proof’s in the data.”

Michael Reay at travel search platform HolidayPirates also shared his advice for flight disruption. 

“If your flight is delayed or cancelled, head over to the airline’s counter and make sure to ask them for a leaflet with all the relevant information,” he said.

“Every airline in Europe is obliged to provide you with all the relevant information regarding cancellations and delays.”


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