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Bon-voyage- Or maybe not?

It’s that time of year when we are in the mindset of seeking some spring sunshine or planning ahead for a summer break. However, most of us have had the unfortunate experience of our flight either being delayed, cancelled or boarding being denied. Would you know what compensation might be available to you if the worst were to happen? You may be able to claim under the EU’s regulation (EU Regulation 241/2004) for compensation, or even under UK law following Brexit. Read on to discover if you may be entitled to claim compensation.

 

When does UK law apply, instead of EU Regulation 241/2004?

In order to make a compensation claim under UK law due to a delay, cancellation or denied boarding, the requirements are that the flight must have either:

  • Departed from the UK; or
  • You arrived in the UK with either a UK or EU airline; or
  • Arrived in the EU with a UK airline.

You may be able to make a claim under the EU regulation if the flight:

  • Departed from the EU and arrived in the UK; or
  • Departed from the UK and arrived in the EU, with an EU airline.

Some general requirements which may mean that you are entitled to make a claim under the EU regulation are, but not limited to:

  1. The flight was delayed for more than three hours;
  2. The delay/cancellation was not caused by an ‘extraordinary event’; and
  3. The claim is made within the correct time period.

 

Be aware that certain countries have varying time periods for making a compensation claim for a delayed or cancelled flight, so check this before claiming (if you are claiming under EU Regulation).

For a claim under UK law, requirements 1) and 2) need to be met.

 

‘An Extraordinary Event’

To have a successful claim, the delay or cancellation must be ‘within the airlines control’. If the delay or cancellation was caused by an ‘extraordinary event’, then your claim for compensation may be unsuccessful. Extraordinary events can be, but are not limited, to poor weather conditions, airport strikes, or a medical emergency.

 

Summary of compensation for a delayed flight

The million-dollar question is how much can you claim if the flight was delayed? Remember, a compensation award is for each passenger, so if two people were flying and had the right to claim compensation, it would be an award for each of them. Also, the delay needs to have been more than three hours.

 

  • EU Regulation
  • For all flights up to 1,500 km – €250;
  • For all in EU flights over 1,500 km – €400;
  • For all non-EU flights between 1,500 km – 3,500 km – €400; and
  • For all non-EU flights more than 3,500km – this may be up to €600.

 

  • UK Law
  • For flights no more than 1,500 km – £220;
  • For flights between 1,500 km- 3,500km – £350;
  • For flights + 3,500km – 3,500 km – £560; and
  • For flights + 3,500km, but have less than a four-hour delay – £260.

 

Summary of compensation for cancelled flights

Where the flight has been cancelled, the airline should offer the option of either reimbursement or rerouting. Not only this, but compensation may be available, again this is compensation for each passenger.

 

  • EU regulation

Compensation for cancelled flights is as below:

  • For all flights up to 1,500km – €250;
  • For all in EU flights over 1,500km – €400;
  • For all non- EU flights between 1,500km and 3,500km – €400; and
  • For all other flights – €600.

Please note that airlines can reduce the above rates by up to 50% where they are able to offer you an alternate flight that’s scheduled arrival is not more than the original arrival time by:

  • Two hours for flights of up to 1,500km;
  • Three hours for flights within the EU of more than 1,500km;
  • Three hours for non-EU flights between 1,500km- 3,500km; and
  • Four hours for all other flights.
  • UK Law

 

For flights that are cancelled between 7-14 days before take-off, the following compensations may apply. To note, if your new flight takes off no more than 2 hours before your original flight time and the new flights arrives less than 4 hours after the original scheduled time, you are unlikely to be entitled to compensation.

  • For flights less than 1,500km that were 2 hours or more of a delay- £220;
  • For flights less than 1,500km that were 2 hours or less of a delay- £110;
  • For flights 1,500km-3,500km that took off 2 hours or more before original flight time, or arrives 3 hours or more at destination- £350;
  • For flights 1,500km-3500km that took off 2 hours or less before original flight time, and arrives less than 3 hours at final destination- £175;
  • For flights +3,500km that arrive 4 hours late at destination- £520; and
  • For flights +3,500km that take off less than 1 hour before original flight time and arrives less than 4 hours at final destination- £260.

For flights cancelled less than 7 days before departure and your new flight takes off no more than one hour before the original time and the new flight arrives less than 2 hours after the scheduled time, you are unlikely to be entitled to compensation.

  • For flights less than 1,500km arriving more than 2 hours later at destination- £220;
  • For flight between 1,500km-3,500km arriving more than 2 hours later at destination- £350;
  • For flights more than 3,500km arriving more than 4 hours later at destination- £520; and
  • For flights more than 3,500km arriving less than 4 hours later at destination- £260.

 

Denied boarding

Where boarding has been denied, the airline should provide either: compensation, reimbursement or rerouting, or care and assistance. Airlines can, however, deny compensation where the passenger has been denied boarding for: health reasons, safety and security concerns, or have invalid travel documentation.

 

Should you have cause to claim compensation, you should consider taking independent legal advice or review the airlines website to make a claim for compensation yourself. Lyons Davidson has vast experience in dealing with delayed or cancellation compensation claims, and should you wish to consider our services, please email [email protected]

 

It’s not all doom and gloom, so ‘Happy flying’ from us at Lyons Davidson!

 

Article written by Rachel Millard, Paralegal in the Contract Resolutions Department.