Airline compensation for delayed or cancelled flights

There has been an abundance of flight cancellations and delays so far this summer in the UK – if you’ve experienced this, here’s how you can get compensation for your troubles.

By Jimmy Johnson
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 1:33 pm

Delays and cancellations at airports have left many budding tourists and holidaymakers confused and disappointed this summer – however, if you are among them, you may be entitled to some form of compensation. With the cost of living crisis rife in the UK, it’s always a good idea to make sure you aren’t losing money when you don’t need to.

Here’s how you can go about that – in addition, we’ll also be taking a look at exactly why so many flights are either being pushed back or outright cancelled this summer.

Why are so many flights being cancelled or delayed?

Are you heading abroad this year?

There are several reasons for the ongoing flight cancellation crisis. Following the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, most people were unable to go on holiday in 2020 and 2021. As a result of this, there is a surplus of holiday-goers this year. This has created a backlog that some flight companies simply haven’t been able to handle.

Moreover, there is a shortage of pilots in the UK at this current moment. A key reason for this is the prohibitive measures put in place that prevent aviation workers from countries in the EU from working in the UK. Several airlines have asked the UK to relax their restrictions, or to issue special visas to European airline workers to help lessen the impact.

COVID-19 also contributed to the lack of available pilots. The pandemic dealt a devastating financial blow to aviation companies, who chose to lay off swathes of their staff to keep their heads above water.

How can I get compensation?

You’ll most likely be able to get compensation if your flight meets a certain set of criteria, which we will explain. For example, if your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before the due date, you may be entitled to a full refund. Alternatively, if you still wish to go on holiday, you may be able to rebook the flight at a later date for no extra cost.

Remember, if your flight is cancelled, then the airline company that you were due to fly with is legally obligated to give you your money back (barring certain circumstances). If the reason for the cancellation isn’t the fault of the company (for example, sudden inclement weather or the pilot being late) then you will not be entitled to any compensation.

As for delays, most flight companies will not issue a refund or compensation unless the delay is significant – generally, the minimum is two hours after the initial take-off time.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t be too intimidated if the airline company in question digs in its heels and pushes you into going to court. Based on legal precedent, you will most likely come out of the case victorious. However, it’s understandable that most people would rather avoid this outcome.

Different airlines tend to have their own policies on refunds and compensation – so it’s worth having a look at them, depending on the airline company that you flew with.