Can I Get Compensation For a Delayed Flight?

Flight delays can occur for a number of reasons, including anything from acts of god to human error, but the results are usually the same; inconvenienced and disrupted plans.

Whether it be a missed business appointment, hotel reservation or unnecessary and unwanted holiday irritation, flight delays are guaranteed to cause added stress to travel.

A huge number of people pass through UK airports and use UK base airlines every year (65 million people passed through Heathrow in 2010 alone). The system for administrating such a huge operation is vast and involves a large number of people. This will obviously and inevitability lead to mistakes and actions that can lead to flight delays. Add to this, the possibility of uncontrollable style events such as extreme weather or other phenomena and the occassional flight delay is even more likely.

In the last decade airports and airlines in the UK have been forced to delay flights because of volcanic ash clouds, unusually sever snow, attempted terrorist attacks, staff strikes and industrial disputes as well as good old fashion human incompetence and unruly passengers.

If you want to have the option of taking legal action to gain compensation in the event that you are not treated properly or fairly if your flight is delayed, you should take these steps upon learning of the flight delay:

  1. Take a photo of the flight listings showing your flight as delayed (this could come in handy if you are involved in a dispute later on)
  2. Ask the airline staff to provide you a written explanation of the reasons for the flight delay
  3. Scrutinise the airlines claimed reason for the delay; they have been known to tell lies from time to time.
  4. Always request that the airline changes its decision, if they do not this gives you the legal right of appeal.

Be aware of the common causes that airlines tend to give for delays

  • Extraordinary Circumstances – something’s that are the cause of the flight delay could obviously not be predicted or controlled by the airline. These are referred to as Extraordinary Circumstances and a passenger will not have the right to claim for compensation if something along the lines of bad weather, political instability or security concerns at the airport is the reason for the flight delay.
  • Passengers Conduct – this reason is given rarely because it usually holds little weight. Only in very special circumstances will the conduct of passengers actively delay a flight
  • Problems with crew – the law sets a limit on the amount of hours that can be worked by pilots and cabin crew so the airlines should have no excuse for letting problems with the crew roster effect flights. Industrial action being undertaken by employees is considered valid reason for flight delays.
  • Technical problems - this is a hard reason to justify for the airlines because they are mandated to carry out regular tests and checks on all their aircraft. There are however, situations which are unforeseeable and therefore come under the banner of Extraordinary Circumstances.