So your flight is cancelled..

He are some words of wisdom,  originally written as I waited for a later flight to Dublin casued by my first flights aircraft going unserviceable as a result of the cargo door handle falling off !

Delay and cancellations are part of air travel, but due to some EU legislation (EU Regulation 261/2004) you should be able to make your journey more bearable..

Now the airlines will not go out of their way to make some of this information available to you,  but hey this is the Internet..

Firstly :

Is you flight between EU States or is it operated my an airline based in the EU?

In my case, London to Dublin this is clearly the case, but a flight from London to San Francisco on British Airways or Virgin Atlantic would also count..

Secondly :

Now what has caused the delay or cancellation, the legislation covers all delays which are within the control of the airline, obvious ones are overbooking or technical issues with the aircraft/crew. There is now case law supporting this second point, as initially airlines tried to claim that an aircraft becoming unserviceable sometimes was unavoidable… well no argued the courts that’s why you do regular maintenance.

In my case the handle falling of the cargo door making the aircraft unserviceable is covered by the legislation.

Assuming your flight is covered then the amount and type of help/compensation varies depending upon the distance of the flight and the type of delay.

For flights up to 1500 Km (e.g. London to most destinations within Europe)
Delay more than 2 hours, Meal vouchers if the delay is more than 3 hours vouchers plus €250 compensation

For flights up to 3.500 km (e.g London to Athens)
Delay more than 3 hours meal vouchers and  €400 compensation

For flights more than 3,500km (e.g London to New York)
Delay more than 3 hours  €300 compensation, more than 4 hours meal vouchers and €600 compensation

And if the delay is more than 5 hours you are legally entitled to a full refund of your fare.

In addition if your flight is delayed or cancelled requiring an overnight stay accommodation must be provided for you.

So in my case a delay of just over two hours resulted in some meal vouchers!

Previously a cancelled flight back from Athens cost British Airways a nights hotel accommodation, meals and €400.

To claim you need to chase the staff at the gate for vouchers and then after the event fill in details on the airlines website to claim your compensation. Again for some reason the airlines do no make these obvious so here is a useful list..

Written and submitted from home (51.425N, 0.331W)

 

3 comments

  1. Ian Painter

    One thing you didn’t add Ed is that when you do put in a claim for compensation be prepared to wait over 6 months to get paid. I’m still waiting for Virgin to refund me for a 5 day delay from DC -> Heathrow caused by the bad weather last December. We chased them today and their response was that they are still working on the ash cloud delays let alone the December’s snow delays.

  2. Sinead

    I am too Ian, waiting since December 18th 2010 for my refund on a cancelled Virgin flight with connection from Dublin via Hathrow to San Francisco. I am seeking legal advice on where I stand. There has to be consumer rights legislation on how long you are expected to wait for a refund on a cancelled flight. I will NEVER use Aerlingus or Virgin again after this experience. Times are hard enough not to have to wait this long to be refunded almost €1000 after re-buying flights at the time with an other airline so I could get to California for the holidays. It is unacceptable and wrong.

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