Flight disruptions can be frightening and stressful, causing your holiday to either start or end on a bad note. Although usually a rare occurrence, its important to know what you are entitled to and how to deal with the situation.
Sainsbury’s Bank have created a fantastic guide, approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, to help solve this issue- here at Tots we think this information would be really useful for our parents (just in case!) so we’ve summarised everything you need to know about dealing with flight disruption if the situation should ever arise…
Know Your Rights
If you’re arriving at or leaving from an EU airport then you are entitled to some help if your flight is disrupted, under the EU Regulation 261/2004. You may even be entitled to financial compensation if this disruption is the fault of the airline. Read on for more information…
If your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours…
You can claim financial support:
If you’re delayed by more than 5 hours and you decide not to travel then you are entitled to a full refund, or if you decide to continue with your journey then you will be entitled to hotel accommodation, and transport to and from this. Its worth remembering however, you will not be entitled to any extra financial compensation if your flight is delayed due to extraordinary circumstances such as weather, airport closures or political unrest.
If your flight is cancelled then your airline is obligated to help you out! You can decide if you would rather have a full refund (within 7 days) or if you decide that you would still like to travel, you are entitled to substitute transport to, or near to, your destination. You may also be able to receive some compensation.
However, if your airline has offered you an alternative flight with a similar schedule then the compensation may be reduced by 50%. Lots of travel insurance policies also provide cancellation cover, so do check this when considering insurance providers.
To learn more about cancelled flights, click HERE.
You are NOT eligible for compensation if your flight is cancelled due to extraordinary situations such as weather or airport closures, but you will still be eligible to receive alternative travel arrangements, assistance such as meals and refreshments, or a full refund.
If your flight is cancelled as a fault of the airline, then you may be entitled to the compensation below:
If the delay was caused by an extraordinary circumstance , you won’t be able to receive compensation. This includes :
– Natural disasters
– Airport strikes
– Bird strikes
– Extreme weather
– Unexpected flight safety shortcomings
– Air traffic management decisions
BUT you are still eligible to receive alternative travel arrangements, refreshments and meals or a full refund
On some rare occasions, flights are overbooked. If this happens, the airline will ask for volunteers who are prepared to give up their seats.
If you volunteer to give up your seat:
1. You can receive compensation in airline vouchers or a cash refund if you cancel or postpone your journey
2. If you wish to go ahead with your journey, you can have another flight booked for you by the airline to the same airport/region with ongoing transport provided
3. You can have a full ticket refund
If nobody volunteers then the airline will deny boarding to some passengers who will be given financial compensation (see the flight cancellation table) and will also be entitled to the same assistance as volunteers.
If you miss your flight but the delay wasn’t your fault, then don’t panic- you may still be protected by your insurance provider.
Circumstances where you may be able to claim some financial help include bad weather, public transport strikes, accidents, mechanical failure in public transport, or issues with your own car. You may be entitled to a cash refund to help cover the cost of a replacement flight or another form of transport to help you get to your destination.
It is unlikely that your insurance provider will cover you if you miss your flight for reasons such as:
– You didn’t allow enough time for your journey on public transport to reach your destination in time
– Your car was not properly serviced or maintained before you set out
– You are not flying to a destination outside of the UK
If you are entitled to compensation then you may need to pay for a replacement flight immediately, and then claim the cost back later, so before you set off it may be worth having a bit of money set aside, just in case!
If you miss your connecting flight but have more than one flight on a single ticket:
– Your airline is responsible for organising a replacement connecting flight if the issue is caused by airline disruption
– If you have ‘codeshare’ tickets (where you have a single ticket but are using different airlines for different legs of your journey) this applies too
If you miss your connecting flight and have purchased separate tickets:
– You are not eligible for compensation or replacement flights if you miss your connection
– Some travel insurance companies offer protection against missing a connecting flight in some circumstances
You can learn more about missed flights HERE.
If you have booked an ATOL it means you are protected if your travel provider goes out of business before your trip.
You are covered when you book the following with an ATOL protected travel company:
– Flight-inclusive packages with a tour operator, either directly or through a travel agent
– Flights and accommodation/ car hire booked at the same time or on the next day with a travel company.
– Flights booked with a travel company and you don’t get a valid airline ticket immediately
Check with your flight provider to see if your trip is ATOL protected, and if so make sure that you receive an ATOL certificate, which you should take on your trip. Airlines aren’t included in the ATOL scheme so if you book directly with the airline you will not be covered. However, if you booked your ticket with the airline using a credit card, you may be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Tots to Travel do not offer ATOL protection, as we are an accommodation agent only, but it is worth asking your flight provider for more information.