Tips for Claiming UK and EU Flight Delay / Cancellation Compensation

Last Updated on 20 July 2022 by Dan

Hello everyone! Today’s post on flight delay compensation is unfortunately inspired by having some difficult experiences myself recently.

Airlines have been struggling with getting this right, and the major airlines here in the UK like British Airways, Ryanair and Easyjet haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory in respect of getting the customer service right.

I see this as an important topic to cover because if you’ve been affected by an airline there’s plenty of cases where you are owed compensation, but the airline will try and fob you off and you have to fight for your rights in this area (although the Civil Aviation Authority are looking into this).

I think it’s morally wrong that you do have to fight a battle with airlines for rightful compensation, and so I wanted to highlight some tips on getting the best outcome possible.

(Note: This post is not intended to be legal advice in any way and we can’t guarantee success – but it’s based on our experiences. All information on this page is correct to our knowledge at time of writing, but rules are always subject to change).

A delayed BA flight, eligible for a delay compensation claim.

Am I owed flight compensation?

There are a few tests that we need to apply in order to identify if you can claim compensation?

Is your journey covered by legislation?

There are three circumstances regarding your flight which may determine you have a right to compensation

  • leaving from the UK – the airline doesn’t matter.
  • arriving in the UK and was with a UK or EU airline.
  • arriving in the EU and was with a UK airline.

Was your flight cancelled within 14 days?

If your flight is cancelled within 14 days of travel, the airline has an obligation to provide you with a refund or an alternative fight.

At this stage, if it’s happened for a reason beyond the airline’s control (more on this below) you may be owed compensation as well as the alternative flight.

Note this only applies if the timing of the alternative flight is significantly different to your original – more than 1 hour earlier, or more than 2 hours later (and can be up to 4 hours for longer distance flights).

The amount of compensation due will depend on the distance in km of your flight.

Was your flight delayed on the day?

One important distinction of flight delay compensation is that it’s judged on the time you land, rather than the time you take off – so if time is made up in the air, you’re not owed compensation.

How long does a flight have to be delayed before compensation applies?

A delay of 3 hours is the magic number here to where you may be owed compensation if the delay has happened for a reason beyond the airline’s control (more below).

You are also owed a reasonably duty of care on the day – your airline must provide reasonable accommodation and transport as well as food (so keep any receipts).

The amount of compensation due will depend on the distance in km of your flight.

Tips on Claiming Flight Delay Compensation

Ok, so you think you’re eligible for flight delay compensation. The problem is getting it – and as we mentioned above the reason for this is that even if you’re owed for it some of the airlines have been very bad about not paying out compensation when it’s owed.

So these tips are designed to try and assist you getting through the process as easily as possible.

Find out the reasoning for the delay

This is probably the most key thing, because the reason for the delay has to be reasonably outside the airline’s control. What’s causing issues in this process is the fact that what is considered as within the airlines control is not well defined, and so the airlines themselves choose to interpret the rule as being as narrow as possible.

So to fight this, you need information. If there’s bad weather in the area, or industrial action, unfortunately you’re unlikely to be able to claim.

Many of the delays at the moment are from factors like staff shortages or IT issues. Whilst airlines are fighting these points, there’s a strong argument so far backed up by case law suggesting these are within the airlines control.

If you believe you can reasonably say that you have been delayed for these reasons then they’re commonly in the press. If your airline tries to claim anything else, stand your ground and state your reasoning clearly as to why you disagree with this and ask them to disprove your reasoning.

If there’s press articles, reference them and ask them to confirm in writing why this doesn’t apply to your flight.

Find out the process for claiming for each airline – and follow it to the letter.

Each airline will have it’s own process for submitting a flight delay or cancellation compensation claim – make sure you’re following that process as rigidly as possible, giving them everything they ask for.

Don’t try and cut a corner or two such as passing over a mandatory requirement for detail – unfortunately they will use this as an excuse to deny your claim.

BA’s compensation claim process can be found here

Ryanair’s compensation claim process can be found here

Easyjet’s compensation claim process can be found here

Be clear on why you qualify

Try and provide simple black-and-white clarity on why you are eligible for compensation in your complaint. For example:

” My flight on 1st June 2022, flight number BA567 to ROme was delayed from it’s original flight time of 10.55 due in at 12.55, instead landing at 5pm. As this was 4 hour overdue, I believe that under UK law I am owed UK261 compensation for the inconvinence this delay has caused.”

Make sure you have references and cite the key details like flight numbers and timings – even if they’re not disputing your claim they’ll need these to process it.

Write to the CEO

If your claim gets stuck, some people have had success in writing to the CEO of the airlines office.

If you’re doing this you should briefly lay out the nature of your complaint, why you are disappointed and state your case reference number.

This is an underrated tactic when complaining – it’s often a wake up call to the business that they’re in danger of losing a customer but you’re a motivated customer who’s upset about the situation and may potentially speak to press.

It’s not a sure thing, but there’s been reported successes where the CEO’s office has come back noting they have asked the team to follow up, and this has a tendency to “unstick things”.

Note the Civil Aviation Authority Investigations

The CAA have been investigating the airlines for breaching their regulatory obligations – so if you hit a point of deadlock, reference that you may look to refer the case to the CAA and ask them to acknowledge you have reached a place of deadlock on it.

You can complain at the Civil Aviation Authority’s website.

Waiting to claim compensation after a cancelled flight

What if my airline refuses to pay a valid flight delay compensation claim?

You can refer your case for flight delay compensation to dispute resolution

If you hit a point of deadlock where you and the airline do not agree and cannot resolve it yourselves, you can take your case onwards to a dispute resolution service to intermediate.

In this process, you lay out the details of your claim, and why you think you have a reasonable case that the airline owes you a settlement. The airline is given time to respond (and potentially make you an offer).

If you cannot reach agreement, a decision is made on if the claim has validity by an independent assessor.

How do I seek dispute resolution on my flight delay compensation claim?

You need to go with the resolution dispute provider that your airline has signed up with.

Luckily there’s a helpful guide on the CAA’s website that points you in the right direction for each airline.

Can I still claim flight delay compensation after Brexit?

Yes you can – whilst the original flight delay compensation rules were written into EU law, this was one matter where the UK wrote the same rules into UK law after Brexit. You’ll also get paid in pounds rather than Euro’s for any compensation claim.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about claiming compensation for your delayed or cancelled flight please do let us know in the comments and where we can help we’ll do our best to. The behaviour of airlines here has been really poor make sure you do fight it.

And if you’re taking a future holiday do check out our guide to how I book a great value holiday!

And that’s it!

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