Flight delays are the most miserable experience known to man - second only to root canal surgery and Westlife concerts. But now you can claim £200 or more in compensation to help ease the pain.
The departure board flickers into life. You gaze up hopefully, and your heart sinks. The dreaded words ‘DELAYED’ appear next to some flights. Your flight.
Hours pass. You’re stuck in a sterile airport, re-reading the paper for the fifth time, desperately trying to keep the kids from spontaneously combusting out of sheer boredom. There’s only so much you can do to keep them entertained in an airport (“Hey kids! Who wants to go to the toilet AGAIN?”).
But the real fun starts when you try to catch some sleep. You have two options, each equally tempting:
1) Settle down on a marble floor with a luxurious suitcase pillow. No need to set an alarm – you’ll be woken at 4am by someone treading on you.
2) Curl up on a departure lounge seat. Again, no need to set an alarm – you’ll be woken by a stranger snoring on your shoulder, gently dribbling into your shirt pocket.
But now, all the pain will be worth it. Thanks to the European Court of Justice, if your flight to or from Europe is delayed, you could be in the money.
Who can claim flight delay compensation?
The main points to be aware of are:
- If your flight is delayed by three hours or more, you can claim at least £200 in compensation
- To claim compensation, your flight must begin or end in one of the 27 countries that make up the EU. Unless…
- …the airline is itself based in the EU. If so, even delayed flights outside the EU (but which are run by an EU airline) are eligible for compensation
- You will be able to claim compensation of between 250-600 euros (£204-487), depending on the distance flown
- You can claim compensation if you are re-routed on another flight but still arrive three or more hours late
Yes. Compensation will not be due if your flight is delayed due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’. These are events that are judged to be beyond the airline’s control (this includes things like extreme weather, security risks and workers going on strike).
How do you claim compensation?
The first step is to contact the airline directly and let them know you intend to claim compensation. If for any reason they try to palm you off, you can pursue your claim by contacting the Civil Aviation Authority.
So next time you find yourself settling down to a few hours sleep on a departure lounge floor, make sure you get a few hundred quid back for your trouble….