Your rights when a flight is delayed – and keep your receipts for compensation

Brits planning to jet off during the school holidays may be worried about delays and cancellations.

After all, airports have seen hundreds of flights cut, mountains of luggage piling up and security lines out of the doors.

With the chain of delays likely to continue into the summer break, the experts at Airport Parking Reservations have put together their top tips on what to do if your flight is delayed.

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Including the best way to prepare for an unexpected delay and your rights as a consumer to refunds and similar.

Check out their top tips below and follow them for a smoother experience.

Invest in travel insurance

As delays are becoming a common concern across the world, it is more important than ever before to carefully plan your trip to the airport. Make sure to invest in travel insurance that provides cover for travel delays.

Although in countries such as the UK your airline is obligated to look after you after a particular delay period, most travel insurance policies provide additional cover for travel uncertainty.

Additional cover usually becomes applicable if your flight is postponed by more than 12 hours due to a strike, adverse weather, or a mechanical breakdown.

Keep receipts for expenses

Typical travel delay cover takes a fixed benefit form to help you cover the costs of expenses, such as food and drink, while you wait at the airport.

Make sure that you keep any receipts of airport purchases, as you can try to claim the money back from the airline later.

Airlines only pay for ‘reasonable’ expenses though, so you are unlikely to get money back for purchases such as alcohol, expensive meals, or extravagant hotels.

Know your passenger rights

If your flight is delayed you may be entitled to compensation or a refund, so take time to get clued up on your passenger rights so that you are not left out of pocket.

For delayed flights departing from the UK or EU, you are protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation.

If your flight has been delayed by more than an established amount of time (two hours for flights less than 1500km, three hours for flights 1500km – 3500km, and four hours for flights of more than 3500km) your airline has a duty to look after you.

For flight delays outside of the EU your rights will vary and depend on the terms and conditions of the airline, so be sure to check the terms and conditions before arriving at the airport. In the United States, airlines are not required to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or canceled.

You can find out more on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

Contact The Airline’s Customer Service

As soon as you hear of the delay with your flight, contact the airline’s customer service team.

It is important to note that flight delays that are outside of the airline's control may hinder your right to compensation, therefore be sure to check the circumstances before trying to claim or complain.

For example, if there are airport strikes, or the delays are due to stormy weather, then the airline may be able to claim extraordinary circumstances. However if the airline is delaying your flight due to staff shortages on their side, you are entitled to compensation.

The customer service team should also be able to provide you with guidance on the immediate steps you can take to resolve your flight queries.

Don’t panic!

Flight delays are without a doubt a stressful and frustrating situation, however, remaining calm can help to prevent further suffering.

Be kind to those around you, whether that be fellow passengers, or airline employees, as all involved will be feeling distressed by the situation at hand.

Have you been affected by flight delays? Email us at


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