Travel chaos: What help are you entitled to if you get stuck abroad?

·3-min read
Travel chaos: What help are you entitled to if you get stuck abroad?

Travel chaos across Europe has left Brits stranded abroad, as airlines are cancelling flights home to the UK.

Flights to and from Gatwick and Heathrow have been impacted especially, as airlines including British Airways and EasyJet have cancelled flights to and from the London airports.

With thousands of people stuck abroad, it’s important to know what help you’re entitled to if you find yourself in a similar position.

Find out below what you can do if your flight home is delayed or cancelled.

What are you entitled to if your flight’s delayed?

If your flight to the UK (with a UK or EU airline) is delayed for long enough, you are entitled to food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, accommodation if you’re delayed overnight, as well as travel between the airport and the hotel.

How long the flight has to be delayed for passengers to be able to claim compensation depends on the flight’s distance.

Flights of up to 1,500km have to be delayed for at least two hours, flights between 1,500km and 3,500km have to be delayed for at least three hours, and flights of more than 3,500km have to be delayed for four hours.

UK: Travel Chaos (April 2022)

How can you claim compensation if your flight’s delayed?

Airline staff might give delayed passengers vouchers at the airport—you can ask airline staff for help if you’re not immediately offered it.

Alternatively, passengers may have to pay for their food, drink, accommodation, and transport themselves, and then try to claim the expenses from the airline using receipts.

Be aware that the airline will only cover reasonable expenses, so passengers generally can’t claim for expensive hotels or alcohol, for example.

What can you do if your flight home is cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled, you can claim a full refund or a replacement flight to get you home.

You can ask for either of these options at the airport. Alternatively, you can try to claim at a later date. If the cancellation delays you for two hours or more, you can get help with costs.

If you have to wait for a certain length of time for your replacement flight, you are entitled to food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, accommodation if you’re delayed overnight, plus travel between the airport and the hotel.

Flights of up to 1,500km have to be delayed for at least two hours, flights between 1,500km and 3,500km have to be delayed for at least three hours, and flights of more than 3,500km have to be delayed for four hours.

How much compensation can you get if your flight is cancelled?

You’re entitled to compensation if the cancellation is the airline’s responsibility, the replacement flight delays your arrival by two hours or more, and if the flight was cancelled less than 14 days before it was scheduled to take off.

The amount you can claim depends on a number of factors, including when the flight was cancelled, the flight’s distance, and the departure and arrival times of the rescheduled flight.

The compensation amounts range from £110 to £520.

How to claim compensation if your flight is cancelled

Collect all your flight details, including booking reference numbers, and copies of any relevant tickets and receipts.

Contact the airline operating the flight and speak to the customer service department.

You can also write your claim in a letter stating what you want from the airline, and keep a record of any conversations you have with them.

If you’re struggling to claim compensation you can complain to an approved alternative dispute resolution body, or to the Civil Aviation Authority.

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