Heathrow strikes: How to claim compensation from your airline if your flight is cancelled or delayed
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Sometimes getting to a holiday destination might not be as stress-free as we’d like. While airlines do their best to get passengers safely from A to B, delays, cancellations and other disruption will inevitably occur at some point.
With this summer set to be “one of the busiest in recent history” paired with fresh strikes annouced at Heathrow, it’s never been more important to be aware of your rights when it comes to delayed or cancelled flights. If you are ever in a situation where your transport has been delayed or cancelled, you may be able to claim for compensation.
With this in mind, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has shared everything you need to know if you run into problems at the airport. Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “This summer is set to be one of the busiest in recent history, so it’s incredibly concerning to see more strikes have been announced at Heathrow, stretching into the school holidays.
“It’s essential that airlines and airports work together to keep travellers updated during this period of industrial action, and fulfil their legal obligations to passengers in the event of cancellations or delays.
“Travellers should also ensure they have travel insurance from the date they book their trip and always check the policy carefully, to ensure it covers all the eventualities you would expect – in particular, not all policies will cover travellers in the event of strikes by airline or airport staff, for example.”
What are my rights if my flight is delayed or cancelled?
Under UK law, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) states that airlines must provide you with care and assistance if your flight is delayed or cancelled. This means they should provide people with accommodation if flights are re-routed to the next day, transport to and from the accommodation, a reasonable amount of food and drink (usually in the form ofvouchers) and a means for you to communicate (often by refunding the cost of your calls).
The authority adds: “The airline must provide you with these items until it is able to fly you to your destination, no matter how long the delay lasts or what has caused it.” However, if there is major disruption airlines are not always able to arrange care and assistance for all passengers.
In those situations, the CAA recommends organising your own accommodation and transport and claiming the cost back later. They add: “If you end up paying for things yourself, keep every receipt and do not spend more than is reasonable.
“Airlines are unlikely to refund you for things like luxury hotels or alcohol. Some will provide guidance on reasonable costs.” Additionally, your airline must offer you the option to receive a refund for all parts of your ticket that you have not used or choose an alternative flight for.
If you have been delayed for more than five hours and no longer wish to travel then you are entitled to a refund.
How to claim compensation for a delayed or a cancelled flight
As the CAA states, if you think you “have the right to claim compensation or reimbursement”, you should contact your airline or airport directly. This is because compensation is not automatic, meaning you will need to contact your airline directly to make a claim.
Most airlines and airports already have claim procedures you can follow which can normally be found on their websites. If you are unsure how to write a claim, you can find an example on the CAA’s website.