You’ve packed your bags, headed to the airport and arrived with plenty of time to spare, only to find that your flight is not going to be leaving on time. Being delayed on flight to our holiday is one of the biggest frustrations we face when it comes to heading off on our long-awaited break in the sun.
With visions of our early evening cocktail by the pool, fading away before our very eyes, it can be useful to remember that every cloud has a silver lining. And when it comes to the dark, thundery flight delay type of clouds, the silver lining is that you may be able to claim compensation.
EU regulations: compensation for being delayed on flight
If your flight was departing from Europe, you may be able to claim compensation under EU law, if your flight is delayed. This means that your flight will need to be departing from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Iceland.
Alternatively, if you were travelling with a European airline and your flight was delayed, you may also be able to claim compensation under these rules.
My flight has been delayed for less than 2 hours
Unfortunately, if you are delayed for less than 2 hours, you may not be able to claim compensation under these regulations.
I have been delayed for 2 hours or more
If you are delayed on flight to your holiday for 2 or more hours, the airline that you are due to fly with should give you:
- a phone call and email access and
- food and drink.
If your flight is delayed overnight, you should be given accommodation. The airline should also provide you with journeys between where you are spending the night and the airport.
I have been delayed for 3 hours or more
As well as the things listed above, you may be able to claim compensation from your airline, if you are delayed on flight to your holiday for 3 or more hours. You could be entitled to receive some compensation if the delay was the airline’s fault
One example of this is if there was some kind of technical fault on the aeroplane you were due to travel on, which caused your delay.
You don’t usually have a right to compensation if it wasn’t the airline’s fault, such as bad weather or political unrest, that caused your flight to be delayed.
My flight has been delayed for 5 or more hours
If you are delayed on flight to your holiday for 5 hours or more, you do not have to board the flight.
If you no longer wish to fly, you could be entitled to, amongst other things, a full refund.
Compensation could also be possible in this instance if the delay was the airline’s fault.
How much compensation could I get?
The amount of compensation you may be due depends on factors such as how far you were flying and whether you were flying to an EU country.
The length of the delay that you experienced may also have a bearing on how much you could be entitled to claim.
For example, if the distance you were flying was less than 1,500km and your delay was 3 hours or more, you may be able to get €250.
However, if your delay was 3 or more hours and you were flying more than 1,500km within the EU, you could be entitled to €400.
If you decide not to fly after being delayed for 5 hours or more, you could be entitled to up to €600 in compensation. Again, this is the case only if the delay is the airline’s fault.
How do I claim my compensation?
Your first port of call should be the airline you experienced your delay with.
Template letters are available through websites, such as MoneySavingExpert.
If you feel that you are getting nowhere with the airline in question, then you can take your case further. Who you need to contact depends on who you flew with and where you were flying to. Take a look at this website for a full list of bodies and contact details.
It’s worth noting that how long you have been delayed for, is worked out by looking at when you arrive at your destination and the plane opens its doors, not when you leave the airport.