Under what circumstances am I eligible for Flight Compensation?
With ever-more crowded airport terminals and airways comes an ever-increasing chance that you will suffer some form of flight disruption. This could be a delay in departing, a flight that arrives much later than planned, or even a cancelled flight. Occasionally, seats are overbooked, and in the absence of volunteers, you may be denied the opportunity to board the plane.
Particularly if you are travelling for business or you have a connecting flight, this sort of delay can have serious consequences. Even the most laid-back leisure traveller would not choose to waste time (and probably cash) sitting in the airport when they should be on their way.
When can UK travellers benefit from flight compensation eligibility?
For flights within the European Union, you are covered by EU law, which dictates that you are entitled to financial compensation if your flight is delayed for three or more hours.
For non-EU destinations and airline companies, the circumstances may vary, but many have adapted the terms and conditions recommended by International Air Transport Association. This means you should be covered from any delays over three hours, but check with your airline company and always read the small print on travel documentation.
The flight doesn’t have to have been a recent one; you could still claim compensation for flight disruption dating back up to six years. However, compensation is only payable when the airline is “responsible”.
So where does the responsibility of the airline start and finish?
The sort of circumstances that would trigger a compensation claim include technical problems with the aircraft. If you are delayed from departure due to repairs, or you must wait for a different aircraft to be prepared due to an unscheduled change, then this would be considered the airline’s responsibility.
The same applies if a problem with the aircraft, its equipment or staff during the flight results in a diversion to a different destination or an unscheduled additional stopover. One of the most common technical difficulties airlines face is aircraft coming into contact with birds. This, too, is usually considered their responsibility, as is any staff sickness during flights.
Many airline delays and cancelled flights are connected to the booking systems rather than any mechanical or in-flight staffing issues.
If an airline overbooks the seats, it can lead to delays while they request volunteers to be “bumped up” to later flights. Or, the ground crew may need time to sort the inevitable ruffled feathers at check-in desks and boarding gates.
Some flights get cancelled for the opposite reason, such as too few seats booked making it economically unviable to go ahead.
If either of these booking issues disrupts your travel plans and you have paid for a ticket for a certain flight, then you are entitled to compensation.
What about the weather?
Weather is a grey area in terms of whether you are eligible for flight compensation. If it is an extreme natural occurrence, like a volcanic eruption, then the airline is considered not to be responsible for flight disruption. If delays or cancellations are caused by what could be considered normal seasonal conditions, like rain or snow, then you may well be eligible to claim for compensation.
When the airline is not going to pay out
There are times when the circumstances behind the delays and other disruption are not considered to be the responsibility of the airline. This frees them from any obligation to pay compensation.
The circumstances include problems caused by terrorist acts, extreme weather or strikes by ground staff. You are also ineligible if your own delay in reaching the airport affects your travel plans and you miss the gate time.
How can I double-check this?
For insight and advice on how to check you have a claim and proceed to getting a financial settlement, call us at Flights Compensation UK today by Clicking Here.