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It can be a nightmare when you have experienced a delayed flight. Disrupted travel plans, missing connections or perhaps missing an event or meeting. So if your flight has been delayed, what can you do about it? Can you claim compensation or should you be offered something for your lost time? It can be hard to know where to start. If you have suffered problems with a tour operator you may be able to claim tui flight delay compensation for example. Or if you have booked a flight direct what can you do? Can you claim from the airline or is it a travel insurance claim? Here are a few tips on what you can do and claim when you experience a delayed flight.
What are you entitled to?
When at the airport and experiencing a delay there are certain things you should expect from your airline.
- First of all your airline should keep you informed. This can be by email, telephone or even social media. But you should know what is going on without having to wait unnecessarily for information.
- Your airline should provide food and drink or vouchers to use for this purpose. This is if you are delayed more than two hours for a short-haul flight, or four hours for a long haul.
- If you are delayed overnight you might be entitled to accommodation. This should be provided but if not you should book at a good price and keep receipts.
- You may be entitled to compensation depending on the length of your delay. Keep a note of the communication from the airline, receipts and screenshots of any social media posts.
- Also if your flight is cancelled then you are entitled to a new flight or a refund. In addition to this, you may be entitled to further compensation.
When can you make a claim?
There are only certain situations which means you can make a claim for a delayed flight. Here are some of the rules that you must check before thinking about making a claim.
It is only for EU-regulated flights
In order to make a complaint under EU circumstances, you must be on an EU-regulated flight. This means you must either be departing from an EU airport or where you are travelling with an EU airline due to land at an EU airport. This means if you are travelling from the EU no matter what the airline you can make a claim. But if you are flying from elsewhere you must be flying with an EU based airline such as British Airways or Air France.
Delays must be over 3 hours
You can only claim if your flight has been delayed for over three hours. This time is calculated in relation to the time you land not the time you take off. For example, if your flight is due to land at 2.00pm but you arrive at 5.05 pm this is over three hours. But if you arrive at 4.55pm, even if you have been waiting to board for longer than three hours you can not claim.
It must be the fault of the airline to claim
So there are some clauses to whether you can claim or not, even if you have been delayed for over three hours. Some of these things might be obvious such as late staff, or other staffing issues or the under booking of a flight. Although some may be subject to a grey area, such as a problem with an aircraft, this will depend on what the problem is. Some guidelines have been provided by the European Commission in order to make the issues a little more clear. However, it is safe to say natural disasters and political problems do not fall into the airline’s fault.
You can claim back to 2012
If you didn’t know you were due compensation and you were not offered anything from the airline at the time you may be able to claim back to 2012. Taken flights that you took which were delayed during this time? There is still time to claim. You must have a reason as to why you haven’t already made a claim and also have the relevant proof. You must also check that you haven’t already agreed to some sort of compensation at the time in any other format.
What if you were not on an EU flight?
Many international airlines have their own policies when it comes to flight delays, but most base them on the terms recommended by the International Air Transport Association. This, in broad terms, means they will offer passengers a later flight, another form of transportation or a refund. This is not as comprehensive as the cover you have under the European Union regulations.
What about travel insurance?
Most travel insurance policies will include cover for travel delay, in addition to or instead of any compensation from the airlines. Of course, each policy will provide a different type of cover. You will need to check the fine details of the policy to understand the full cover. But as above, with most travel insurance policies, there are certain circumstances that won’t be covered. Unforeseen, unchangeable circumstances such as political unrest are one of these occasions.
Any other tips?
If you have been delayed under circumstances beyond the airlines’ control, that is one thing. Another is how you are informed of what is going on and how you are treated during that delay. If you feel the service you have received is below par then you can make a complaint in the same way. Just fill in the form or write the usual letter explaining what has happened and why you think this is unacceptable. Most airlines will want to keep their customers happy and will do what they can to avoid further problems.
Don’t Let a Delayed Flight Bring You Down!
Have you experienced a flight delay? How did it feel and what did you do about it? It is a frustrating time and most people will agree, the lack of communication is the worst. If you don’t know what is going on, how can you prepare to deal with the situation? If you have an experience you would like to share please leave a comment below. Remember if you take the right steps and you will be able to claim the compensation you deserve.