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A Delayed or Cancelled Flight? See Here How to Request Compensation

By IntFormalities
Published on March 28, 2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Are you aware of the airline compensation scheme? If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you could be entitled to compensation. The scheme runs to ensure passengers are treated fairly. Read this article to ensure you, as an airline passenger, are informed of your rights.

Airline Compensation Scheme
A delayed or cancelled flight may lose time and money if you dont know about the Airline Compensation Scheme

An Introduction to the Airline Compensation Scheme

Thanks to the European Union’s EC261 regulation from 2004, airline passengers are protected against extreme flight disruptions. Though Brexit took the UK out of the EU, UK passengers are still protected from flight disturbances. Cancellations, missed connections, and long delays cause airline passengers difficulties; luckily compensation is available for the inconvenience.

What Flights Are Covered?

You might be eligible for flight delay compensation if your airline flight was:

  • Taking off from the UK (regardless of the airline)
  • Departing from the European Union (i.e. EU flight), Switzerland, Norway, or Iceland, irrespective of the airline
  • Landing in the UK with a European Union or UK airline
  • Landing in the European Union with a UK-based airline

What Are You Entitled To?

What you are entitled to depend on the delay’s duration, the flight’s length, or if the flight is cancelled. It is important to note the compensation and the entitlements only apply if the responsibility lies with the airline. For example, there is a technical failure with the aircraft or if the flight is short-staffed. They do not apply if there is no fault with the airline. Examples of such scenarios are bad weather or industrial strike action by the airport staff. 

Delays of at Least 2 Hours or More

If there is a delay of at least 2 hours, regulations state you must be given the following:

  • Food/drinks
  • Facilities to send emails and make phone calls
  • Hotel accommodation for overnight delays plus transport between the hotel and the airport

In the following scenarios listed in the table below, the airline will give you vouchers at the airport:

Distance of the FlightLength of Delay
1500 km or lessTwo hours
Less than 3500 km and more than 1550 kmThree hours
Greater than 3500 kmFour hours

If the vouchers are not offered, people can pay for these items and claim back from the airline later.

Delays of More Than 3 Hours

You are entitled to financial compensation for disrupted flights lasting more than 3 hours. The compensation again depends on the delay length and the flight distance as shown in the table below:

Length of DelayDistance of the FlightCompensation 
3 hours or greater Below 1500 km£220
3 hours or greater Less than 3500 km and greater than 1500 km£350
4 hours or greater Greater than 3500 km£520

Delays of More Than 5 Hours

If you board the delayed flight, you are entitled to £520 compensation. If the delay is 5 hours or greater, you don’t have to board the flight. Instead, you are entitled to a refund. The airline will also need to provide refunds for any flights in the journey from the same airline, such as a return flight. 

Flight Cancellations

If your flight is cancelled, you can claim a refund or request a replacement flight. If the replacement flight results in delays, you are eligible for compensation. Where you wish to receive a refund, you are again entitled to compensation in addition to the refund reimbursement. The amount equals the sum you would have received for a delayed replacement flight. Compensation is based on the date of the cancellation. The two important dates are: within 7 days and between 7 and 14 days.

Compensation for Flights Cancelled within 7 Days 

The compensation entitlements are as follows:

Distance of the Flight Departure / Arrival TimesCompensation Amount
1500 km or lessDeparts at least one hour before the booked flight and arrives up to two hours after the booked flight.£110
1500 km or lessArrives a minimum of two hours after the booked flight.£220
Less than 3500 km and greater than 1500 kmDeparts a minimum of one hour before the booked flight and arrives up to three hours after the booked flight.£175
Less than 3500 km and greater than 1500 kmArrives a minimum of three hours after the booked flight.£350
Greater than 3500 kmDeparts a minimum of one hour before the booked flight and arrives up to four hours after the booked flight.£260
Greater than 3500 kmArrives a minimum of four hours after the booked flight.£520

Compensation for Flights Cancelled Between 7 to 14 Days

The compensation entitlements are listed below:

Distance of the Flight Departure / Arrival TimesCompensation 
1500 km or lessDeparts up to two hours before the booked flight and arrives up to two hours after the booked flight.£110
1500 km or lessDeparted two hours+ before the booked flight and arrived two hours+ after the booked flight.£220
1500 km or lessArrives four hours+ after the booked flight.£220
Less than 3500 km and greater than 1500 kmDeparts up to two hours before the booked flight and arrives up to three hours after the booked flight.£175
Less than 3500 km and greater than 1500 kmDeparts two hours+ before the booked flight and arrives three to four hours after the booked flight.£350
Less than 3500 km and greater than 1500 kmArrives four hours+ after the booked flight.£350
Greater than 3500 kmDeparts up to two hours before the booked flight and arrives up to four hours after the booked flight.£260
Greater than 3500 kmArrives a minimum of four hours after the booked flight.£520

Getting Compensated for Your Troubles

The compensation scheme ensures passengers receive honourable treatment from the airlines. It is also there to make sure airlines maintain a high standard of service. If you seek compensation and the airline fails to pay, contact Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for help. If the airline is not part of this scheme, you can get assistance from the Civil Aviation Authority. The Citizens Advice Bureau can also offer support. You can contact them through their website.

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