Flight and passport delay compensation: What are you legally entitled to? ‘Keep receipts’

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The last couple of weeks has seen an influx in summer holiday cancellations due to disruption in the travel industry. Easy Jet and British Airways removed up to 40,000 flights from their schedules due to staffing problems, and Heathrow has asked airlines not to sell any more summer flight tickets until September as it struggles to cope with demand. Lufthansa airline recently cancelled over 1,000 flights while ground staff staged a walkout.

Not only is the trouble on airport grounds posing a challenge for Britons, but it’s recently been reported that more than 50,000 passport applications have exceeded the 10-week wait period.

This has caused many to miss out on booked holidays, or pay more for holidays due to rescheduled flight dates.

However, you do have compensation rights under UK law when it comes to flight and passport delays and general cancellations, and travel experts at Money.co.uk have provided some key pointers for making a claim.

Are you entitled?

Passengers are protected under UK law if they are:

  • Flying from a UK airport
  • Arriving at a UK airport on an EU or UK airline
  • Arriving at an EU airport on a UK airline.

Contact your airline

If you’re flying out of the UK, you’re legally entitled to compensation from the airline once your arrival is delayed by three hours or more.

Experts at Money.co.uk said: “How much you get depends on when the airline told you about the delay, how long it is and where you’re flying.

“The minimum you’re entitled to is £110, while the most you can claim is £520.”

Flight delays

If you’re trapped at the airport waiting for a plane, the airline is required to offer a number of supplies to accommodate you.

Money.co.uk experts said: “The airline is required to supply you with a reasonable amount of food and drink, usually vouchers, a means for you to communicate, i.e. refunding your calls, accommodation if you are rerouted the next day, and transport to and from your accommodation or home, if it’s nearby.”

Keep your receipts

In the event that you’re trapped in the airport, make sure you keep all of your receipts on items paid for there.

This means if the airline staff are unable to organise vouchers or any of the other items listed above, you can claim costs back.

Money.co.uk experts explained: “You have the right to organise reasonable equivalents yourself and claim the costs back later – so make sure you keep any receipts.”

Flight cancellations

If your flight is cancelled outright, airlines must offer the choice between a refund for all the parts of the ticket you’ve not used or an alternative flight.

This is applicable regardless of how far in advance they’ve alerted you about the cancellation.

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Package holidays and travel insurance

People who bought their accommodation and activities as part of a package deal have the right to claim compensation if their flight is cancelled.

Money.co.uk experts said: “It gets a little more complicated if you booked them separately.

“If you have travel insurance, they should be able to pay out if your airline is unable to get you to your destination and you miss out on your holiday as a result.”

Passport delay compensation

If your passport is delayed, there are a few other routes and considerations to take to claim compensation.

But it should be noted, passengers have fewer rights if a trip has been booked before travel documents are ready – or if you’ve selected the passport standard service.

Money.co.uk experts stated: “If you’ve opted for the standard service, you’re unfortunately not entitled to any compensation, as there is no guaranteed turnaround time. However, you might get a refund as a goodwill gesture – so it’s worth asking.”When can I apply for passport compensation?

The only way to qualify for a compensation payment is if the Passport Office is seriously at fault, and these cases would be considered on a case-by-case, ‘goodwill’ basis.

Experts from Money.co.uk said: “If the HM Passport Office is responsible for drastically missing the guaranteed premium service deadline, you might be able to be compensated for your service fee.

“If in the rare case that any of your documents are lost or damaged, this might result in bigger payouts, such as out-of-pocket expenses or potentially your entire holiday.”

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