Are you missing out on claiming for a flight delay?
It’s holiday season, which means many of you will be catching a flight to somewhere sunnier than here. But what happens if you get delayed? Latest Which!!! figures suggest that thousands of delayed people are missing out on claiming expenses and cold hard cash…
Which!!! analysed data for 1.7m flights from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, and found that 9,000 flights were delayed by more than three hours in the last year, potentially entitling passengers on those flights to claim compensation. However, Which!!! reckon that only four in 10 people who were delayed claimed compensation, which adds up to millions of pounds.
They also calculated the worst offenders- with the worst UK airport for delays of three hours or more being Gatwick, with 2,134 flights affected over the 12 months to May 2015.
Passengers are most likely to experience delays of more than three hours on short-haul flights with Vueling, Monarch and Thomas Cook, which together accounted for more than 700 delays in the last year – which works out at 68,000 passenger journeys. For long-haul passengers, those flying with Pakistan International Airlines, Air India or American Airlines were most likely to be delayed, accounting for more than 400 flights - 40,500 passenger journeys.
According to Which!!!, the three largest airlines operating in the UK - Easyjet, BA and Ryanair, which operated nearly half of all flights for the period analysed - accounted for four in 10 delays of more than three hours.
But how can I claim?
If you are delayed and think you might have a claim, what can you claim for and under which circumstance? Well, under the EU Denied Boarding Regulation, what you're entitled to depends on the length of your delay and the length of your flight. Find out how far your flight is using this useful checking tool (as an example, Gatwick to Rome is 918 miles). This is an EU ruling and governs all EU airlines and flights with non-EU airlines that leave from the EU. There’s even an app relating to the regulations that you can download to the smartphone of your choice.
The Regulation applies where you have a confirmed booking, and you checked in on time (or if no check-in time was given, then at least 45 minutes before your flight was scheduled to depart).
If your flight is delayed, you're firstly entitled to some incidentals- two free phone calls, faxes or emails; free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay and free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required. You can also choose not to travel, and get a refund of the cost of your ticket if the delay lasts for five hours or more (but the flight is not cancelled)
However, the provisions only kick in after the following periods of delay:
a flight under 932 miles (for example, London to Venice) is delayed for at least two hours
a flight within the EU that is more than 932 miles (for example, London to Athens) is delayed by at least three hours
a flight that isn't within the EU but is between 932 and 2,174 miles is delayed for at least three hours
any other flight delayed for at least three hours
However, if you are delayed by more than three hours, you may also be able to claim monetary compensation from the airline, although this is dependent on the reason for the delay, with certain circumstances (that are deemed ‘extraordinary’) exempting the airline from compensation payments. Airlines are very keen for circumstances to be considered exceptional, but binding EU court rulings in 2009 and 2012 have made it very clear that mechanical and technical faults are not, in fact, extraordinary and that courts should decide accordingly- in January 2013, Stoke-on-Trent county court ruled that Thomas Cook must pay compensation to passengers who, in 2009, had experienced a 22-hour delay caused by a mechanical fault, and in 2014, faulty wiring on a Jet2 plane was similarly unremarkable. Strikes, however, are normally included in ‘exceptional circumstances’, along with severe weather. Note that you can still claim for incidentals under exceptional delays, its just the cool hard cash you miss out on.
But assuming there are no such circumstances, you can claim a nice wedge to salve your ruffled feathers:
|Up to 1,500km (932 miles)||More than 3 hours||€250|
|Any flight within the EU over 1,500km (932 miles) or any other flight between 1,500km-3,500 km (2,175 miles)||More than 3 hours||€400|
|More than 3,500km (2,175 miles)||Between 3-4 hours||€300|
|More than 3,500km (2,175 miles)||More than 4 hours||€600|
Which!!! have even produced this handy tool to generate a claim letter using the relevant sections of the regulation. Which is nice of them.